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Healthy Hostess Cupcakes

Healthy Hostess Cupcakes!

healthy hostess cupcake

Hostess cupcakes iced with Hot Chocolate Butter.

vegan hostess cupcake

Along with yesterday’s Healthy Cookie Dough Dip, I brought these cupcakes to Sunday’s pirate party.

For a while now, I’d been looking for an excuse to try making a healthier version of the popular creme-filled cupcakes. So when I discovered I could stretch the “yo ho/ ho ho” pun and pass these off as pirate-themed, I knew they had to be made. Unlike Hostess’ cupcakes, mine are whole-grain, low in fat and calories, and free of high fructose corn syrup and trans fats.

But seriously, people will eat them up!!

homemade hostess cupcakes

Healthy Hostess Cupcakes

Inspired by My Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 cup spelt, white, or Bob’s gf flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar or xylitol
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt of choice, such as SoDelicious
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • marshmallow fluff – I use my Vegan Marshmallow Fluff

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients, then add wet – excluding marshmallow fluff. Don’t overmix. Pour into cupcake tins, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool, then cut or poke holes in the tops and scoop in the cream. Re-cover the tops. (Recipe continues below.)

healthy hostess cupcake

Frost cupcakes with warmed Hot Chocolate Butter or with melted chocolate chips. Then put the cakes in the fridge for the frosting to harden. Once hard, you can use an icing writer for the tiny squiggles if you wish. Yes, I know the icing isn’t healthy. But it’s only like a 1/8 tsp, so I still feel justified in calling these cupcakes healthy.

vegan hostess cupcake    homemade hostess cupcakes

An alternative to the creme:

Try stuffing them with Healthy Cookie Dough Dip.

Or, you could imitate some of the people at the party and dunk these cupcakes into the cookie dough dip. Sugar on top of sugar. So much for this being a healthy dessert blog!

Published on September 20, 2011

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Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
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ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

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  1. caroline says

    these are so creative! i love it, i will have to try and make them! i have never poked holes in my cupcakes, but i guess i have to try it now! 🙂

  2. Anonymous says

    Wow! You certainly are the “hostess” with the mostest! (cheesy, I know) But these look absolutely delicious! Do you think you could put your coconut whipped cream in them?

      • Nina says

        I’m so glad I checked the comments before asking my question. I’m in Australia and have never seen marshmallow creme. I was going to ask about an alternative. So thank you ‘Anon’ and Katie! I can happily make and use whipped coconut cream. 🙂
        Oh, and this recipe looks devine. I love that you manage to create healthier versions of even the most wicked of treats.
        Thank you Katie!

  3. Jenny says

    You can bet I cringed initially at the recipe title. 😛 “Cream?! NOOO!” And then I realized it was marshmallow cream… and all was right in the world again, haha.

    Once again, the “visuals” here are stunning! Not only are the photos amazing, but you are getting better and better at food styling and decorating with each passing day…

    I’ve never had a Hostess cupcake, but the squiggle on top is so cute. 🙂

  4. Alyssa says

    Avast and set sail for the land of Texas, mateys! We be going’ fer the treasure! Nay, not gold, but cream-filled cupcakes. A prize above rubies, me hearties!
    What say you? Aye, it be true. Texas be too far and too hot fer the likes of us. (Plus we be too scurrilous and scoundrel-like for the fair Katie!) Change course! Set course fer Kroger, me lads! We’ll be creatin’ our own treasure, aaaaarrgh!

      • Ali @ Peaches and Football says

        I do not eat soy. I didn’t even know there was a coconut yogurt that didn’t have dairy or soy?

        We unfortunately do not have a wide variety of items in the local shop so it’s challenging to find acceptable substitutes. Was wondering if you added the yogurt for the moistness factor or as a thickening agent or for flavor, etc etc…

        • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

          The SoDelicious ones don’t have any soy :).

          But if you can’t find them… I’m really not sure. More applesauce might be an option, but I can’t say I’ve tried it so I can’t guarantee it would work. I *think* it would work, though. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

        • CouchCricket says

          I have some alternatives for you:
          1) Substiture with vegan sourcream (not sure if it is tofu-free).
          2) Add vinegar to equal amount of milk (as yogurt), let it curdle for sometime and then use in the recipe.
          3) This is a far-fetched alternative, but anyway: You could order Yogurt Cultures from Amazon and make your own yogurt in your choice of milk 🙂

          I would not advise using more applesauce, for it would leave an after-taste not many prefer.

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      They might not hold together as well… but really, I don’t know. I based this recipe off of my “go-to” chocolate cupcake recipe, and as I say in that post, those are based off of a vanilla recipe from a cookbook. The cookbook author (genius Isa Chandra Moskowitz) called for cornstarch, so I trusted her ;).

  5. katie @KatieDid says

    awww these are so cute! You should make healthy twinkies! And zebra cakes. I used to loveee zebra cakes. Do you usually make one sweet version, and one non-sweet version for you to try? Or do you just try the sweet version?

  6. Kerryne says

    Oh man… I immediately got out my notebook to add this to my post competition recipes to try, and I surprised myself with how ferociously I wrote it. My handwriting has never been so big and intense. Need chocolate much? Yes, I think I do! 🙂

  7. Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola says

    Oh my gosh- these look amazing!! I’ve actually never had a real Hostess cupcake but these look like something I def want to try! And let’s get serious… I ALWAYS want a cupcake! I used to be cupcake obsessed and my friends even bought me a Juicy Couture cupcake necklace for my bday one year!

  8. Hannah says

    Stunning photography and such a creatively adapted recipe! I’ll bake these as a surprise for my mum, Hostess cupcakes were her childhood favourite.
    Do you think that your ‘healthy whipped cream’ recipe would work in place of the Ricemallow as we don’t get it over here?

  9. J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) says

    They look perfectly “cloned”!! Love the little swirl design on top. Great job! Yummy 😀

  10. Grishma says

    How to talk to pirets..hmm..good question!! Never thought about it but may be sign language will be the best way to talk 🙂 BTW I will not mind grabbing one of these amazing cupcakes 🙂

  11. Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free says

    They are so adorable!!!!! Katie, the pictures are fabulous! Great job 😀

    I remember eating a hoho once when I was little…they made me sick even back then! Blech! So sweet and processed…

  12. Maya says

    Yum! These look amazing. What do you use to poke the holes in them? I always make such a mess doing that! But that means more scraps to taste, so it’s not the end of the world 🙂

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      You have options :). You can cut holes out with a knife from the top (and then replace the tops after filling), or you can poke a hole with your finger or the bottom of a knife. Or you can even shove a filled pastry bag up the bottom. I know that sounds bad lol!

      • Melissa says

        I use a frosting gun/tip and put it through the top of the cupcake. The the hole is covered by the frosting top. (And I realize I’m commenting nearly a year later but if it still helps…) 🙂

    • CCK says

      Gah! Gorgeous!!! But then again, I shouldn’t be surprised. You’re the same person who made INCREDIBLE raw girl scout cookies. (I still point people to that page all the time!)

  13. Anonymous says

    Hi Katie. For some weird reason this is saying that i’m logged in as Katie or something. Huh? Anyway i follow a baking blog that i really love. I stumbled on a post that made me laugh out loud! HILARIOUS! It certainly brightened my day, and i think you would like. Here is the link- hope you enjoy. Please understand i’m not trying to spam you or anything, sorry if it looks that way. Also be assured, i am not related to this person and don’t know her personally. I just wanted to brighten your day 🙂

  14. bitt of raw says

    mmmm fauxtess! that’s what the vegan bakery around here calls them. i’ve had one or two. sadly one did NOT have filling. no skimping on filling, ok bakers?

    • CCK says

      Yes!! That’s the most important part! (Maybe they ate it all as they stuffed, and that’s why not enough ended up in the cupcakes? I had that problem with a cake I was trying to make today… I kept eating the filling. Oops.)

  15. Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) says

    So PRETTY!! I want to eat my screen mmm 🙂 Your photography is so so amazing!!! And since your offering, I definitely take the cupcake!! But I might have to save it for later because I may or may not have just had four slices of your cake… 😛

  16. Abhijit says

    Hi Katie, these look delicious! Thanks for posting.

    Which brand of icing writer have you used? Or if you made your own, can you share the recipe. I have a hard time finding vegan icing writer. Thanks.

    • CCK says

      I actually used Betty Crocker! As I said, it’s not exactly healthy, but it’s just a small amount. And it is vegan :).

      Ingredients: corn syrup, sugar, water, cornstarch, salt, carrageenan, titanium dioxide, sodium benzoate, citric acid

  17. Holly @ The Runny Egg says

    I love the authentic Ho-Ho swirls on top 🙂 But shouldn’t there be frosting in the middle of the cupcake too?

  18. Anna @ The Guiltless Life says

    You must be everyone’s favourite party guest! I might try these with brown rice syrup or agave nectar. Thanks!

  19. Krysta says

    Is the ricemellow. Soy, dairy and egg free. If so where do u get it? My sons alergic to so manythings and imalways trying to find stuf for him.

  20. Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFIles says

    They’re so cute!! Gosh I need to get into baking again. I bet I could get one of my roommates to taste test. Or I could bring my leftovers to the boyfriend’s apartment!

  21. Moni'sMeals says

    I love this idea here Katie. We all love Hostess Cupcakes, But certainly not the ingredients.

    I think we all secretly love these cupcakes because of the pretty white swirls and the magic in the middle. 🙂 I love that you have captured that. RFD in LA makes a great vegan one too.

    I hope to give these a try soon!

  22. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga says

    Katie these look sooo good! And they are perfect! The swirls on top look like you are giving Hostess a run for their money! I admit that cake decorating is not something I excel at…it all just turns into a messy art project 🙂

    I love that you filled them with creme/fluff…totally authentic.

    I am sure I’ll be seeing these pics on the foodie sites later today 🙂

  23. Katie @Nutrition In A Peanut Shell says

    I used to eat these things all the time after gymnastics. Definitely bookmarking this for this weekend. Like the Yo Ho Ho thing you did there. Very punny 🙂

  24. Alexis says

    Hi Katie,

    I just wanted to tell you (although you get this all the time) that I love your blog! I just stumbled across it via foodgawker the other day and I’m definitely going to be a reader now. I love your genuine excitement about life, and of course, your delicious looking recipes. Thanks for being such an open and honest blog personality!


    • Chocolate-Katie says

      Thank you SO much, Alexis! I am so glad you found me.
      Sending you chocolate hugs… let me know if you don’t get them. (I will yell at the mailman ;).)

  25. Amanda says

    YUM! I think I’ve finally found something I can make my nephew that he’ll love! The problem with him is that he likes run-of-the-mill desserts/sweets whereas I like mixing it up (he just likes chocolate, I like it when chocolate dates things like PB and banana and raspberries, heck even AVOCADO! haha).

    I can’t find ricemellow in the shops where I live, do I have your permission to try this recipe with your vanilla “pudding” instead (you know, the agar agar one!) ?? 😉 haha

  26. Lule Dielli says

    Dear Katie,
    I live in Albania and am gluten free. My mother in CA told me about your website. I have tried some of your recipes, and I really like them. I can’t get a lot of GF flours here, only (Corn, and rice, I also can get almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and peanuts, which I grind in my blender) Can you try to do some more GF recipes but that use only these types of flours instead of Bob’s red mill? Thanks! 🙂

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Hi Lule,
      I don’t have much experience with gf baking. I bet you are much more experienced with it and knowledgeable about it! So, if you want, you can be my taste-tester and adapt my recipes to use the flours you can eat. Then I’d be happy to change the recipe posts to include those options!

  27. SheilaBmarie says

    I made a few changes: Bobs GF flour with part GF pancake mix, banana instead of oil, part stevia/part sugar, and So Delicious frozen Chocolate Velvet non-dairy ice cream. I also added some milled flax seeds and a little extra vanilla. Believe it or not, I actually got the “approval” from my non-vegan father who has a hard time with anything that doesn’t contain butter!
    I have still yet to win him over with the whole bean browine concept or spinach ice cream but at least these cupcakes are a good start 😀
    Thanks Katie!

  28. Kimberly says

    Ahh these were my favorite as a kid!! I cannot wait to try them!

    I am such a chocolate fanatic, I am sooo happy I found your site!

  29. Kathy says

    I made these today, but only 1/4 of the recipe (in fear that I’d eat the whole batch in an hour. That can so happen!). My baby half sister, who is 19 or 20 months, loved these! She ate a whole cupcake which is rare for her since she doesn’t like to eat a lot.

  30. Ruby says

    Oh my goodness I have to try these! Once in a while I find myself craving a hostess cupcake from my non-vegan days…. but it looks like these would definitely satisfy that craving. I’m absolutely loving your blog, by the way. I’m a relatively new follower and it’s great to find another vegan chocoholic like myself 🙂

  31. Nancy D says

    I just put these in the oven– my daughter has a dairy and a soy recipe. The batter was delicious. I used So Delicious Vanilla Yougart and So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk. I can’t wait to try them. I don’t have the ingredients on hand to make the frosting, so I may try to make a ganache instead or my thrownback quick buttercream frosting. Thanks for sharing!! I can’t wait for my daughter to see and then try these beauties.

  32. Hannah says

    Just made these for my non-vegan family filled with your coconut ‘whipped cream’. Everyone thought they were delicious and addictive! Keep up your recipes Katie, they’re fabulous!

  33. Sarah says

    Hi! It’s not quite your professed arena without the chocolate, but I happen to like the orange ones (which is a bit odd in itself as I don’t often like orange flavored things. I guess it’s kind of this way: there are other chocolate cakes, but I don’t think I’ve come across an equal orange one.) So, a few questions:
    1. Would you have any ideas how to make these orange flavored instead of chocolate? (I’m still thinking on the frosting substitute)
    2. As I am not vegan, would dairy yogurt work? (probably?) I’m unlikely to have non-dairy yogurt, but I do drink almond milk sometimes, so non-dairy milk could probably happen.
    3. Not related to these cupcakes, but, despite not being vegan, I’m curious about something I read (in another of your cupcake recipes, I think) on a chia or flax egg substitute? Care to point me towards further information on that?

    I’m not vegan (omnivorous, actually), but I encountered your blog sometime ago through channels that are lost to my memory because of time passing, and remembered it fondly enough that I was able to look it up today! I’m currently trying the oatmeal trick for breakfast this coming morning, and many of your other recipes sound good.

    • Sarah says

      (And now I feel silly for pointing out that I’m not vegan thrice in such a small space. I was not trying to emphasize the fact, but I suppose that is what comes of writing quite late at night.)

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Hey Sarah!

      I have actually never even seen an orange cupcake, let alone tasted one… maybe try a vanilla cupcake recipe with orange extract?
      And yes, I think any yogurt would be fine.
      As for chia eggs, I’ve never actually used them but if you google “chia eggs” or “flax eggs” there are lots of easy tutorials on how to do it. I probably should try it one of these days :).

  34. Pam says

    Thank you for another GREAT recipe!!! I made these and they turned out GREAT!!! I used Splenda for the “sugar”. Then for the filling and the little swirl on top – I mixed tofu with sugar-free white chocolate pudding. It is WONDERFUL!!!!

  35. Kristina says

    Just bought the ricemellow creme to make these! Before I start, I just wanted to know: do you think I can use spelt flour? And for the frosting if I don’t have coconut oil, could I use olive?

  36. Kristina says

    I just finished making these. Of course I already ate one. INCREDIBLE. I ended up using the spelt flour, too. Soooo good. The frosting is hardening in the fridge now. One question though: Once the frosting has hardened in the fridge, can the cupcakes be stored outside the fridge or will the frosting un-harden? Thank you so much for the recipe.

  37. Ana says

    Just made these with the cookie dough dip for filling for my family. Huge hit! Thank you. I’ve been trying to convince my parents to accept vegan-ism and your site has been a huge help. Thank you! You are such an inspiration! 🙂

  38. sarah says

    Is there any way that you could make a vegan vanilla cupcake? I like vanilla ones better than chocolate but there are no good recipes. 😛

  39. michelle says

    Never mind I made them for superbowl lol etc instead of icing im using more mellow cream 😉 using an icing decorator

  40. Mariah says

    I just made the cupcakes using this recipe, and they turned out super fantastic. Very moist and tasty. I live in a high altitude, so I never know if the baked goods I make will turn out, this one did. Yay. Also I made my own marshmallow fluff from this recipe:

    and I made my own corn syrup from this recipe:

    Everything turned out great. Although, I’m not vegan, so I didn’t follow everything to a T…I did use reg. milk, etc…and these are sooo sugary and not that healthy…but it’s valentines, so I’m letting my kiddos have them today. Thanks for the recipe!

  41. kristi says

    Making these tomorrow! !!!! Love your recipes! Dessert and healthy can be in the same sentence and not with the word not! Yea for chocolate! Also making the cookie dough dip to bring to work,hopefully I’ll fool everyone & convince them to try something new! I’m definitely going to point them in the direction of your blog! Keep up the fantastic work in the name of chocolate!

  42. KAtie says

    Hey Katie,

    So keen on your recipes just wondering what alternative i could use for applesauce in your recipes? I don’t know where to find applesauce haha

  43. Victoria says

    I just made (and ate) these. They are awesome!! I made a couple of tweaks based on the availability. I used brown rice flour, which made the cupcakes so light and yummy, and subed in splenda brown sugar for white. I stuffed it with fluff, but topped it with normal white frosting. These are very rich and messy, and totally delicious!!! Thank you Katie! I think I am going to make these next week for my B-day cake. (Oh, and they make 9 for inquiring minds)

  44. Mira says

    Approximately how many cupcakes does this recipe make, and would melted earth balance work instead of the oil? 🙂

  45. Joelle says

    Just made these cupcakes and they are fantastic! I have made several of your recipes and they are divine! One question if I have leftover cupcakes should I keep them in the fridge? Or are they ok at room temperature? Thanks!

  46. Emily says

    I just used this recipe to make the BEST chocolate cake ever! I added 1 egg white, and 2 tbsp maple syrup and some chocolate chips in the mixture. It was BEAUTIFUL! thanks 🙂 (Baked for 30min)

  47. Laura says

    (Just ignore this whole post if it’s a stupid idea)
    Hey Katie! I just got an idea for a recipe and had to run the computer to post it! You’ve already made a recipe for hostess cupcakes, and as you probably know Hostess just went out of business. Why don’t you save all the twinkie lovers out there from hideous withdrawal symptoms and make a healthy twinkie recipe? You could prevent riots and obesity in one fell swoop!

  48. Tasneem says

    Thanks so much for all these receipes…esp. for me being new to healthy gluten-free eating!!!
    Have a question…if i replace any gluten-free flours for ur recipes, do i really have to use xyanthum gum, guar gum or pre-starch?
    I really dont want to have to use these as far as possible, but still get awesum results.
    I dont mind using baking powder and baking soda…

    Also, for cakes, muffins, doughnuts and biscuits…what flours would you reccommend?
    Chickpea flour has an awful after-taste!!!

    Any help/advice from other gluten-free bakers would alo be much appreciated:)!!!!

    Please do an article on this…

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      If I’ve listed a gluten-free flour as an option, and if I haven’t called for xantham/guar gums in the recipe, then YES you can use that option exactly as written :).

      It doesn’t always work out, but I have good luck in many recipes with gf all-purpose mixes such as Bob’s Red Mill or Arrowhead Mills.

  49. Lizzie says

    I just made these, and my cake turned out fantastic. They only had marshmallow cream at my grocery store, and it was a little thick but good. My problem was with the icing or hot chocolate butter. I microwaved the virgin coconut oil, stirred in the agave, then the cocoa powder and stir stir stirred. But then my icing got lumpy and granulated. Did I stir too much? What happened?

  50. Jessica says

    Oh my gosh, I absolutely love these cupcakes. I just popped ’em out of the oven and frosted them & I tried one.. absolutely delicious! I am so glad you had this recipe! I urge anyone to try this. 🙂

  51. Angela says

    The best way to fill cupcakes is to use a decorators bag and the long round tip just for this purpose. Push it in to the top of the cake and squeeze in the filling. Frost over the hole.

  52. Julie says

    You are way better off going to a good bakery and buying a cupcake with normal cupcake ingredients than eating a cupcake with a multitude of unhealthy ingredients, do I daresay a dangerous concoction, including cornstarch, one of the worst things you can ever eat.

    • Unofficial CCK Helper says

      Katie’s blog is vegan and there are no dairy products used. Plus, you can find a number of vegan yogurts out there: So Delicious, Wholesoy, Almond Dream, etc.

  53. TriGirlLA says

    These look delicious, but why in the world are these on the Huffington Post “19 Vegan Cupcake Recipes…” list?!?! They have yogurt and milk in them!

  54. Syd says

    For a sugar-free version, blend a cup of sweet dark raisins, like Sultan, with the applesauce instead of adding sugar. If you blend the raisins into a paste, the cupcakes will not taste like raisins, nor will they have pieces of raisin breaking the texture of the cake. Just moist, cakey, sweet… with no added sugar.

  55. Kim says

    First, I just want to say, these look really good! But, I don’t see where it says how many this recipe makes. I currently only have one muffin pan that makes 8 regular sized muffins.

  56. Janet Paula says

    If I wanted to make these cup cakes non-dairy, what can be used instead of the 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt? Thanks.

  57. Janet Paula says

    It would have been so nice to have known about how many cupcakes this recipe would make. If I had known I could have oiled the correct amount of tinfoil cupcake liners. And, how come I don’t see nutritional information.

  58. Laura says

    These are great! I was trying to whip up something in a hurry, so I added chocolate chips & didn’t do the filling (which I think would be amazing!!). They were still wonderful & met our need for quick, healthier cupcakes!! We love your stuff – thank you!! 😀

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