Better than Hostess Cupcakes

DSC_0020A vending machine/gas station classic. The Hostess/Fauxstess/No-stess cupcake is #5 on my list of remixed kiddy classics. For this recipe I simply threw together 3 of my go-to recipes: one-bowl chocolate cupcakes, classic chocolate ganache and vegan vanilla bean frosting. You don’t have to make vegan frosting, just sub the earth balance for butter and you’re on your way to dairy town.

My question of the day: how many squiggles are on the original hostess cupcake? The answer: 7, always. And I found a really cool 4 minute clip of how Hostess makes these cupcakes on, you can watch it here.

These are a whole lot of fun to make, and adorable as well. I made these for a birthday treat, so instead of the squiggles I piped “Happy Birthday” on two of the cakes. You could easily do this for any holiday or event to make the treats more festive.

Also, feel free to get creative with the frosting/filling flavors! Hostess even tried other flavors in the beginning, like orange and malted milk. Those sound pretty good to me, so do chocolate and raspberry or peppermint filling over the holidays. Whatever flavor you choose, I’m sure anything that comes out of your cozy little kitchen will taste better than what comes out of the giant ovens of a cupcake factory, sorry Hostess.

Better than Hostess Cupcakes

Makes 12-14 cupcakes


  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup light oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Vegan vanilla frosting: 

  • 1/2 cup earth balance, combination of earth balance and shortening, or butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk, or dairy free milk

For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 12-14 cupcake tins. Combine the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking flour and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.

Then combine the egg, water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Mix wet and dry together and fill cupcake tins about 2/3 of the way. Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

For the frosting, beat the butter or butter substitute with about half the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Slowly, alternate adding more powdered sugar and milk until you reach your desired consistency. Put about 1/3 of the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a very small tip (to make squiggles later) and put the rest in a piping bag with a larger tip for filling.

When the cupcakes are cool, push the larger tip into the center of each cake and fill with about a tablespoon of frosting. Don’t fill too much, or your cupcake may explode out the sides.

DSC_0007For the ganache, scald the milk (just heat until you see bubbles around the edges of the pan), and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Allow it to sit there for a minute or two before stirring it into a smooth sauce.

Dip the top of each cupcake into the ganache and refrigerate until they are mostly set up, about 30 minutes.

Then take your smaller piping bag filled with frosting and pipe squiggles, words or designs on the top of the cake, have fun!

DSC_0013Enjoy with a giant glass of milk after school/work.

Or while reading your favorite pamphlet about vermi-composting in your favorite book shelf hang-out. Whatever floats your boat.






2 thoughts on “Better than Hostess Cupcakes

  1. Pingback: “Flaky Layers” Biscuits |

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