These gluten free Hostess cupcakes are so much like what we remember, but ten times better with the best chocolate cupcake ever!!
OOOOOO.MMMMM.GGGGGG!! If you ever had a Hostess cupcake in your BC (before Celiac) days, you MUST make these cupcakes! They’re just like the original if the original were on steroids!!!!
I’ve been having recent cravings for nostalgic treats. Little Debbie’s Swiss Cake Rolls, Twinkies, Tastycake Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes, and Hostess Cupcakes. As I’ve said before, it’s not that we eat this kinda stuff every day. But every once in a while it’s nice to treat ourselves to something yummy, right?
And as much as I’d love the convenience of being able to just buy things from the store like that, it’s so nice to make something that’s spot on to the real thing but with real ingredients. Am I right?
When I was younger and would get a Hostess cupcake, the first thing I would do is peel off the fudge icing and eat it separately. Then I may have taken a bite or two of the cake part, but probably threw the rest away. Haha! If I remember right, the cupcakes were pretty dry so the only part I really liked about the whole thing was that fudge icing.
I think that’s why, for the longest time, I never really cared for chocolate cake. It was always so DRY. Of course in my adult life, I got over that adversity, mainly because I made my own chocolate cakes and they were never dry.
Gluten Free Hostess Cupcakes Ingredients
I’ve used this cake recipe in two of my posts on the blog. You’ll find it in my chocolate caramel cake and triple chocolate cupcakes. If you haven’t made this cake yet, you’ve really been missing out because it is INCREDIBLE!!!! I could seriously eat these cupcakes with no frosting or anything else on them! Here’s the list of ingredients you’ll need:
- Kim’s gluten free flour blend — or any gf blend of your choice containing xanthan gum.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder — I buy my cocoa powder from Lidl because I just love their store brand. It’s dark and rich and makes the BEST cakes! But any cocoa powder will work.
- Baking powder and baking soda — these are for leavening.
- Salt — boosts flavor.
- Eggs — for structure and stability.
- Milk — you can substitute almond, soy, or any other non-dairy milk. Coconut milk would be lovely here.
- Canola or vegetable oil — in lieu of butter, which makes for a wonderfully moist cake that stays fresh longer. I’ve also tried this cake with melted coconut oil and it worked fantastically!
- Vanilla extract — flavor booster.
- Granulated sugar — for sweetness.
- Hot coffee — for the ultimate chocolaty cake, this really brings out the chocolate flavor. You won’t taste the coffee, but the chocolate will be intense. Piping hot water can be substituted.
This filling always eluded me because I wanted something that was light and fluffy, but didn’t want to use weird ingredients to get it. I’m a butter fanatic at heart, but for this filling I’m actually against butter. I know, I know. You’ll probably NEVER hear me say that again, but for now we’re gonna ax the butter.
Dare I say it, but this filling works much better with vegetable shortening. Yep, the stuff I usually hate (I rarely buy it) just does it for this filling. It’s very shelf stable and that’s what we want in the middle of these cupcakes.
Now, if you’re not about all that crap that’s in regular Crisco shortening, try Spectrum Organics Shortening, which is made from palm oil and has no hydrogenated or trans fats. BUT, if you still can’t bring yourself to use shortening, feel free to use butter. It won’t have the same texture because the butter hardens when cool and melts when warm, but it will still be tasty.
To the shortening, add powdered sugar, marshmallow cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Whip the ingredients in a stand mixer (or with a handheld) until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Filling the Cupcakes
Who wants a wimpy little bit of filling in your cupcake? Not me, that’s for sure! If I’m going through making these, I may as well load ’em up. I have this nifty little gadget (I’m not usually into gadgets, but this one works well). It’s a cupcake corer/plunger and it makes a hole in the cupcake for all that filling.
You can also use a melon baller, apple corer, or even a small knife. I like to take my fingers after using the cupcake corer and go around the inside and dig out a little more cake to make a really big well for all that filling. Then fill a pastry bag (or a ziptop baggie) with the fluffy filling and gently squeeze into each cupcake, replacing the “plug” of cake when you’re done.
The Fudge Icing and Signature Swirl
So many of the Hostess cupcake copycat recipes out there use a ganache for the icing. I haven’t met a ganache I didn’t like, but I really don’t think ganache is the answer to this cupcake. I remember the icing being more like a fudge, something that could be peeled off (if you didn’t want to eat the cake like me 😜).
This fudge icing consists of sugar (granulated, not powdered), unsweetened cocoa, milk, butter, and vanilla. Bring the sugar, cocoa powder, and milk to a full rolling boil and boil it for one minute. Then take it off the heat and add the butter and vanilla. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool down slightly and thicken up. Then spoon it over the cupcakes.
You can leave off that signature swirl of white, but I love it and it really completes the cupcake. As you can see, I made them a little more Valentine’s Day friendly by spelling out “love” with the royal icing. See my cutout sugar cookies for more on making and using royal icing. I used a Wilton tip #4 for piping on these cupcakes.
I promise when you make these gluten free Hostess style cupcakes, you’ll forget about the store bought ones you can no longer have because these are so much better!
Gluten Free Hostess Style Cupcakes
- 1 recipe gluten free chocolate cake
- 1 cup shortening, softened
- 1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar
- 1⅓ cups marshmallow cream
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
CHOCOLATE FUDGE ICING
- 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
- 3 heaping tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- ½ cup (1 stick or 113 g) salted butter, cut into cubes
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 recipe royal icing
FOR THE CUPCAKES
- Follow the instructions according to the recipe and allow the cupcakes to cool completely. Core the cupcakes using a cupcake corer, apple corer, melon baller, or small knife. Take out a little extra cake with your fingers. Keep the small top of the cupcake ("plug") to seal the cupcake back up after filling.
FOR THE FILLING
- Whip all the ingredients for the filling in the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes on high. Fill a pastry bag or ziptop bag with the filling and pipe into the cored cupcakes. Replace the "plug" of cupcake on top of the filling.
FOR THE CHOCOLATE FUDGE ICING
- In a small saucepan, mix sugar, cocoa powder, and milk together over medium heat. Whisk often until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a full hard (rolling) boil, whisking constantly. Boil for one minute. Remove from the heat and add the cubed butter and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.
- Allow the icing to cool down until it thickens up enough to spoon over the top of each cupcake. It should be the consistency of a thick sauce, such as a hollandaise or a hot fudge.
FOR THE SQUIGGLY WRITING ON TOP
- Fill a pastry bag (or ziptop bag) with a Wilton #4 tip and white royal icing and pipe either continuous loops or any words you'd like to say on the cupcakes. Allow to dry completely before serving.