If you love those cream-filled chocolate cupcakes from the grocery store, save yourself a trip and make them at home! These homemade Hostess cupcakes are the REAL DEAL — so decadent, so indulgent, so delicious. A deeply chocolaty cupcake is filled with a cloud of marshmallow cream, then topped with a silky-smooth ganache and a curlicue of vanilla icing for the tastiest sweet snack of all time.

cupcake on a cooling rack

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes Recipe

Welcome to Week 4, aka the final week, of The Snack Series! Today, we’re closing out our monthlong celebration of all things snack-y with what is perhaps my favorite one of the bunch: Homemade Hostess Cupcakes. You guys, I love these treats. They blow the store-bought version out the water in terms of flavor and texture, and they’re fancy enough to serve at a party but also perfectly appropriate to make just because and keep stashed in the fridge for cupcake emergencies (a very real thing). Here’s what you can expect from this recipe:

  • A rich, ultra-chocolaty, moist cupcake
  • A creamy, cloud-like marshmallow cream filling
  • A silky-smooth, rich chocolate ganache topping
  • A sweet lil’ curlicue of vanilla buttercream icing on top
  • A fun baking project for a snow day, a rainy day, or any day that ends in Y
cupcakes on a cooling rack

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here is what you’ll need to make the homemade cupcakes of your dreamiest dreams:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Dutch-process cocoa powder (see Recipe Notes below on why this ingredient is particularly important!)
  • Baking powder, for leavening
  • Salt, to bring out the flavor
  • Granulated sugar, for sweetness
  • Milk (whole or 2% works best for baking recipes!)
  • Vegetable oil, to give the cupcakes moistness and lightness
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs, for binding
  • Butter, for creaminess
  • Powdered sugar
  • Marshmallow creme (my favorite brand is Kraft Jet-Puffed)
  • Chocolate chips, for the ganache
  • Heavy cream, for an indulgent ganache and rich buttercream icing

How to Make This Recipe

Real talk: This recipe isn’t for the person who wants a cupcake immediately, or for someone who’s looking for a straightforward cupcake recipe. Instead, you’ll want to bake these cupcakes when you’ve got some time and interest in having a fun baking day, because there are quite a few components to these cupcakes. That said, each step is very simple and very achievable, even for the novice baker! Here’s the very basic rundown (remember to scroll all the way to the bottom of this post for the FULL recipe + instructions):

  • Step One: Make the cupcakes. Whisk together the dry ingredients, then beat in the wet ingredients. Divide the batter among 16 paper baking cups, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.
  • Step Two: Make the marshmallow cream. Beat together butter, powdered sugar and marshmallow creme to form a pillowy, cloudlike filling. Cut out the centers of each cupcake, then fill with the cream. Top the cupcakes with the cutout centers.
  • Step Three: Make the ganache topping. In a small bowl, microwave heavy cream until hot. Pour over chocolate chips in a bowl, then let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes to allow the chocolate to melt slowly. Stir the mixture until smooth, then spoon over the top of each cupcake, spreading to the edges.
  • Step Four: Make the vanilla buttercream icing. Beat the icing ingredients together to form a frosting, then pipe the frosting in loops on top of each cupcake. Done! Be sure to try these Classic Vanilla Cupcakes too!
cupcake on a cooling rack

Can I Make Anything Ahead of Time?

Yes! You can make every component except the ganache ahead of time (cupcakes, marshmallow filling, and icing). The cupcakes can be stored tightly covered at room temperature for up to a day ahead; the filling and the icing can be stored tightly covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. You’ll want both of those ingredients to sit out at room temperature for a bit, though, before using, so they can soften.

Can I Freeze Homemade Hostess Cupcakes?

Yes! I recommend you freeze the filled cupcakes, unfrosted. Place the cupcakes in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before topping and serving.

cupcake on a plate

More Cupcake Recipes!

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cupcake on a cooling rack

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 16 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


Deeply chocolaty and decadent cupcakes are filled with marshmallow cream and topped with smooth, rich ganache and a curlicue of vanilla buttercream icing. SO GOOD.


Units Scale

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

For the marshmallow cream filling:

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 oz) marshmallow creme

For the ganache topping:

  • 2/3 cup (4 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream

For the vanilla buttercream icing:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream


  1. First, make the cupcakes: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 16 standard muffin cups with paper baking cups.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until well-combined. Add granulated sugar, 3/4 cup milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs; whisk until just combined into a smooth, silky batter.
  3. Fill baking cups evenly with batter (a little more than halfway full). Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cupcake comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from oven; cool 2 minutes in baking pans, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, make the marshmallow cream filling: In a medium bowl using an electric hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture is smooth and combined. Beat in marshmallow creme until just combined.
  5. Next, fill the cupcakes: Using a cupcake corer, paring knife or spoon, cut and scoop out the center of each fully cooled cupcake; save the centers. Use a piping bag or a spoon to pipe or spoon just enough marshmallow cream filling into each cupcake to reach the top of the cupcake. Return the center of the cupcake over the top of the filling (you will likely have to cut some of the bottom of the center to get it to fit nicely over the top of the cupcake again).
  6. Next, make the ganache topping: Add the chocolate chips to a medium bowl. Add the 6 tablespoons heavy cream to a glass measuring cup or other small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave heavy cream on High for 30 to 40 seconds or just until heavy cream begins to boil and is hot. Pour hot heavy cream over chocolate chips. Allow mixture to sit for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir until smooth.
  7. Use a spoon to spread ganache over the top of each cupcake. You can tilt and turn the cupcakes to get the ganache to cover the entire top. Set aside to set slightly.
  8. Finally, make the vanilla buttercream icing: In a medium bowl using an electric hand mixer, beat all vanilla buttercream icing ingredients together until a smooth frosting forms. Using a piping bag or resealable plastic food-storage bag with a small tip snipped off, pipe icing over the top of each cupcake in a curlicue design.
  9. Serve cupcakes immediately, or store in the refrigerator covered in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


  • *It’s important to use Dutch-process cocoa powder in the cupcakes. Dutch-process cocoa powder is cocoa powder processed with alkali, a potassium solution that neutralizes its acidity (it also renders a richer, deeper chocolate flavor). Therefore, you need to use baking powder to function as the acid component in the recipe to leaven the cupcakes. Do not use regular/natural cocoa powder, please! Here is my favorite Dutch-process cocoa powder.
  • Filling and topping recipes adapted from Life, Love and Sugar.