Not Your Hostess Cupcakes

These are not your everyday Hostess cupcakes.  These are incomparably better than any store bought cupcakes.  These cupcakes are unforgettable.  They are richly chocolatey, extremely moist, and melt-in-your-mouth.  The cream filled center trumps anything that ever came from a box.  Grown-ups will fight their kids for these.

When I visited all the classrooms for Back to School Night last week, I noticed many eye-catching posters on the walls. Inspirational quotes, word charts, and calendars.  I lingered especially long in front of the birthday charts.
Of course I notice (and love) birthday charts.  I adore everything about birthdays.  Not that I’m eagerly counting my own years anymore, but I just love the festivities and celebrations wrapped around birthdays.  It’s all so fun.
With a new school year comes friends, both new and old.  For both the kids and their grownups.  With friends come birthday parties.
These days, most schools don’t allow homemade treats anymore.  Gone are the simple days when mamas could send homemade cookies to share with the class.  So let’s take it outside.
I can’t think of a more iconic cupcake to celebrate any occasion with than these wicked good cream filled chocolate cupcakes.  And the secret truth is that grownups devour these faster than their kids.


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (minis melt better)
  • 1 TB instant espresso or instant coffee powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole sour cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 TB water
  • 3/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 4 TB butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/4 cups marshmallow creme
  • GLAZE:
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 TB butter


These cupcakes may look like the boxed version, but they taste nothing alike. Homemade is immeasurably better, hands down. Richly chocolatey, tender, and super moist. The marshmallow creme center is fantastic.


  1. BATTER: Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat to 325F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with your favorite liners. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together boiling water, cocoa, mini chocolate chips, and coffee powder until smooth. Add sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla, mixing until combined. Gently fold in dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, just until combined – do not over mix. Divide bater evenly among muffin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cupcakes comes out with a few tender crumbs attached, about 18 min. Cool cupcakes in tin for 10 min. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
  2. FILLING: Combine water and gelatin in a large bowl and let sit until gelatin soaks up the water, 1 min. Microwave for 10 seconds at a time, until mixture starts bubbling around edges and gelatin is dissolved. Stir in butter, vanilla, and salt until combined. Let mixture cool until just warm to the touch. Whisk in marshmallow creme until smooth. Chill about 30 minutes or until set. Transfer 1/3 cup or the filling to a pastry bag or ziploc bag with a tiny hole cut off the corner. Set aside remaining filling.
  3. ASSEMBLE: In a bowl, microwave chocolate chips and butter until smooth, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds. Let glaze cool to room temp; should be very glossy and thick syrup-like consistency. Hold a sharp knife at a 45 degree angle about 1/4 inch from edge of cupcake top. Cut out a cone shape from each cupcake. Fill cupcakes with just enough filling to leave a 1 cm margin from the top. Replace the tops and frost with a generous layer of chocolate glaze. Let cool. Using the marshmallow-filled pastry bag, pipe design across tops of glazed cupcakes. Serve.
  4. (Note: Finished cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at a moderate room temp for 1-2 days.)

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