Why This Recipe Works

Hostess CupCakes were a childhood favorite for most of us here in the test kitchen, so we wanted to develop a gluten-free version that would live up to our fond memories of the original. First, we focused on creating a tender, moist cupcake with deep chocolate flavor. A combination of cocoa powder and melted bittersweet chocolate provided the best chocolaty flavor, but we were faced with an overly delicate and greasy texture. Suspecting that butter was the culprit, we swapped it out for oil, which coats the gluten-free flour particles more ­consistently; this is because the water in butter weakens the bonds between the fat and the protein of the flour, creating pools of grease. To make a stronger cake that could support the cream filling, we added an extra egg. Content with the rich chocolate flavor and tender yet sturdy crumb of our cupcake, we turned our attention to developing a sweet, creamy filling that wouldn’t dribble out. Combining marshmallow crème and the right amount of gelatin gave us the base for a perfect creamy filling. We tried to inject the filling into the center of the baked cupcakes with a pastry bag, but the cakes cracked open and spilled filling out the sides. Instead, we used a paring knife to cut inverted cones from the tops of the cupcakes, added the filling, and plugged the holes with the top rounds.


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½ cup vegetable oil
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 ounce (1/3 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3 ½ ounces (3/4 cup) ATK All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see related content)
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ¼ ounces (3/4 cup) sugar
cup whole milk

Filling and Glaze

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 ¼ cups marshmallow crème
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Nutritional Information


Per Serving (Serves 12)

  • Calories 306
  • Cholesterol 57 mg
  • Fat 19 g
  • Sodium 188 mg
  • Saturated 6 g
  • Carbs 33 g
  • Trans 0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2 g
  • Monounsaturated 9 g
  • Sugar 23 g
  • Polyunsaturated 2 g
  • Protein 3 g

The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Makes 12 cupcakes

For a shiny, fudgy glaze to finish the cupcakes, we melted semisweet chocolate chips with butter. To finish the look of these cakes, we couldn’t resist piping some curlicues across the top of each cupcake using some extra filling.

1. FOR THE CUPCAKES: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

2. Microwave oil, chocolate, and cocoa together in bowl at 50 percent power, stirring often, until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes; whisk smooth and let cool slightly. In separate bowl, whisk flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt together.

3. In large bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla together. Whisk in sugar until well combined. Whisk in cooled chocolate mixture and milk until combined. Whisk in flour blend mixture until batter is thoroughly combined and smooth.

4. Portion batter evenly into prepared muffin tin. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking. Let cupcakes cool in muffin tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. (Unfilled and unglazed cupcakes can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.)

5. FOR THE FILLING AND GLAZE: Sprinkle gelatin over water in large bowl and let sit until gelatin is softened, about 5 minutes. Microwave until mixture is bubbling around edges and gelatin dissolves, about 30 seconds. Whisk in softened butter, vanilla, and salt until combined. Let mixture cool until just warm to touch, about 5 minutes, then whisk in marshmallow crème until smooth; refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

6. Transfer 1/3 cup filling into pastry bag fitted with small plain tip for garnishing finished cupcakes (or zipper-lock bag; trim corner of bag before piping). Reserve remaining mixture for filling cupcakes. Microwave chocolate and 3 tablespoons butter in bowl at 50 percent power, stirring often, until melted, about 30 seconds. Let glaze cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.

7. Cut cone-shaped piece from center of each cupcake and fill with 1 tablespoon filling. Cut off tip of cone, then replace on cupcakes and press lightly to adhere. Frost each cupcake with 2 teaspoons cooled glaze and let sit for 10 minutes. Pipe curlicues across top of cupcakes with filling in pastry bag, and serve.