These Grain-Free “Hostess” Cupcakes are a bit of a labor of love, but gosh are they worth it. As we head back to school, I’m nostalgic for the kinds of snacks that used to fill my lunchbox.
If you are not familiar, a “Hostess” Cupcake is a packaged devil’s food cupcake, filled with a vanilla marshmallow creme and topped with chocolate ganache then a signature white chocolate swirl. We recreated the childhood favorite but made it grain and refined sugar-free. They are rich and deeply chocolatey and even better the next day.
As far as ingredients go, for paleo chocolates, I like using Hu Kitchen, Enjoy Life Foods, or Lily’s Sweets. But, a paleo-marshmallow creme is definitely a bit harder to find, so you can leave out the filling altogether if you prefer. Regardless, this is a great Paleo chocolate cupcake base, so you can add whatever icing or ganache you wish to really have fun making your own creation.
Three little notes before you begin baking these Grain-Free “Hostess” Cupcakes:
- Don’t skip whipping the eggs for the full 2-3 minutes. You need to whip some air into the eggs so that the cupcakes aren’t dense.
- Don’t skip the espresso powder! It really brings out the chocolate flavors.
- The cupcakes will not have a domed top like traditional cupcakes, so they resemble the original version and they’re easier to ice.
Grain-Free “Hostess” Cupcakes
- Coconut oil cooking spray
FOR THE CAKE:
- ½ cup coconut oil - room temperature
- ¼ cup dark chocolate – chopped I used Hu Chocolate
- ¼ cup unsweetened full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. instant espresso powder
- 1 1/4 cup superfine almond flour
- ¼ cup tapioca flour
- ½ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 tsp. Baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
FOR THE GANACHE:
- ½ cup dark chocolate - chopped I used Hu Kitchen
- ⅓ cup unsweetened full fat coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 cup marshmallow creme
- 4 oz. white chocolate chips - I used Lily’s Sweets
- 2 tsp. coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 350. Spray coconut oil cooking spray into 12 muffin tins, making sure each of the tins are well coated.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, add the coconut oil and the chocolate chips. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between each time until the coconut oil and chocolate have just melted and are smooth. Alternatively, you can do this over the stove on a double boiler, but the microwave method is quicker. Let the mixture cool a bit so it doesn’t curdle the eggs.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and the apple cider vinegar to make the dairy-free buttermilk. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a medium mixing bowl using an electric beater, add the eggs. Beat on medium-high for 2-3 minutes, until the eggs are pale yellow and frothy. Add the coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and espresso powder and mix on low. With the mixer running, slowly stream in the coconut milk mixture. Mix until just combined. Add the cooled coconut oil and chocolate mixture to the bowl in a steady stream. Beat for 1-2 minutes on medium-low until well combined and smooth.
- Scrape down the sides, and add the almond flour, tapioca flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt incrementally. Mix until just combined. The batter will be thick but smooth, like the texture of brownie batter.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared muffin tins, spooning in ¼ - ⅓ cup of batter into each tin, being careful not to overfill them. Tap the muffin tin on the counter to get excess air bubbles out, and transfer to the middle rack of the oven,
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Once baked, allow the cakes to cool entirely before icing.
FOR THE GANACHE
- Meanwhile, make the ganache. In a microwave-safe bowl, add the coconut milk, chopped chocolate, and coconut oil. Microwave for 30 second increments, stirring in between each cooking cycle. Repeat, melting in 30 second increments, until the ganache is smooth, shiny, and thick, about one minute total. Set aside.
- If filling with marshmallow creme, transfer the marshmallow creme to a separate piping bag with a medium circular tip. Remove the cupcakes from the tins, and transfer to a wire rack. To fill each cupcake, press the piping bag filled with marshmallow creme into the top of the cupcake (the chocolate ganache will cover it as long as you do not overfill). Fill with about a tablespoon of the creme, and set back on the rack, top side up. Repeat with all the cupcakes.*if you do not have a piping bag: see note.
- Spoon about a tablespoon of the chocolate ganache over each cupcake, spreading so that it covers the cake but leaves a bit of room on the edges. Repeat. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the ganache to set.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, add the white chocolate and the coconut oil. Microwave for 30 second increments, stirring in between each cooking cycle. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, allow it to cool a bit before transferring to a piping bag with a small circle tip. Alternatively, you can do the same in a plastic zip top bag. Just cut a small tip off of the corner to make a make-shift piping bag.
- To finish, decorate each cupcake with a “squiggle” of white chocolate down the middle of the cake. To make the pattern, make loops with the white chocolate, like you are writing “L’s in cursive.
- Transfer to the fridge to set and enjoy! Consume within 1-2 days of baking.
CarolineSeptember 28, 2021 at 11:59 pm
YUM! While mine didn’t look quite as pretty, they were relatively easy & DELISH!
Brittany CornellSeptember 13, 2021 at 1:28 pm
I made these last night, SO GOOD! I am at high altitude and they sank a bit in the middle, do you know how I can alter it a bit to make sure that doesn’t happen next time? Thanks!!!
AlexSeptember 14, 2021 at 12:20 pm
I am so glad you enjoyed them. To be honest– I know nothing about baking at a high-altitude :/
StellaAugust 31, 2021 at 9:45 pm
Where can you get the super fine almond flour? I’ve only seen the regular version.
AlexSeptember 1, 2021 at 1:47 am
It’s the Bob’s Red Mill super-fine almond flour
Darlene PilgrimSeptember 1, 2021 at 11:58 pm
Is this the marshmallow cream from the jar? ( Kraft)
AileenAugust 31, 2021 at 10:20 am
These look incredible! Do you have a recommended way of substituting the egg?
AlexAugust 31, 2021 at 11:41 am
I haven’t yet tried egg substitutes here, I’m sorry!
NahalAugust 30, 2021 at 7:45 pm
What brand do you use for the marshmallow creme filling?
AlexAugust 31, 2021 at 11:40 am
Hi, this is the one thing I used that isn’t the best ingredients. But just the OG Jet Puff Marshmellow Fluff.
DianaSeptember 1, 2021 at 2:51 am
I found this one at whole foods: Toonie Moonie Organics, Organic Marshmallow Creme. I haven’t tasted it yet, but I am planning on making these this weekend so I’ll let you know how they turn out!
AlexSeptember 1, 2021 at 1:57 pm
yes!! I saw this yesterday! please let us know how it is/works!
KristiAugust 30, 2021 at 7:23 pm
What marshmallow creme do you recommend using that is “clean” or will any brand work?
AlexAugust 31, 2021 at 11:41 am
I haven’t found a “clean” version of this yet, so I use the Jet Puff brand.
RileyKAugust 30, 2021 at 6:48 pm
Hi! I’m allergic to almonds, but would love to make these – what would be the best substitute for almond flour here?
IsabelleAugust 30, 2021 at 3:13 pm
Do you measure the coconut oil in liquid form or a solid form?
AlexAugust 30, 2021 at 3:59 pm
JessicaAugust 30, 2021 at 12:35 pm
What would you sub in for the almond flour in this recipe if you couldn’t use it?
AlexAugust 31, 2021 at 1:04 pm
I haven’t yet tried out substitutes for this recipe and because Grain-Free baking is so tricky– I don’t feel super confident in saying what to sub here since grain-free flours are so finicky
Shirley L HuerterAugust 29, 2021 at 11:42 pm
In the instructions you mention mixing the almond milk with the apple cider vinegar to make dairy free buttermilk? There isn’t almond milk in the ingredients. Did you mean coconut milk? Also, does the liquid coconut oil work for this recipe? Excited to try it!
AlexAugust 29, 2021 at 11:46 pm
Hi sorry about that error! I was making it with almond milk during testing then realized it was silly to use 2 separate dairy-free milks so streamlined it to coconut milk 😉
and yes– liquid coconut oil should be fine here; however if you have classic coconut oil it gives it just a bit better texture.
PaulaAugust 29, 2021 at 9:53 pm
Can I substitute the almond flour and tapioca flour for gluten free flour?
AlexAugust 29, 2021 at 11:31 pm
No, I wouldn’t use GF flour as a sub here, it would alter the recipe too much
IsaAugust 29, 2021 at 3:59 pm
Do these freeze well?
AlexAugust 29, 2021 at 9:12 pm
I haven’t tried freezing them yet, but I’ve frozen a lot of my paleo baked goods and they usually keep well for 2-3 months!