Fluffy, moist, and delicious, these gluten free & vegan hostess cupcakes are better than you remember! Free of the top 8 allergens, these cupcakes are perfect for snack time or an easy (and impressive) dessert.
This childhood snack favorite gets a new life thanks to now being both gluten free AND vegan! Frosted with a rich chocolate fudge frosting and filled with fluffy marshmallow, no one will believe that these cupcakes are free from the top 8 allergens.
Looking for other childhood snack favorites? Check out my gluten free and vegan pop tart recipe!
Gluten Free & Vegan Hostess Cupcake Ingredients
These gluten free & vegan hostess cupcakes are made with super simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand. While they might look complicated to put together, I promise you they are not!
Chocolate Cake Mix – This is the secret to making this recipe come together quick and easily. Follow the directions and bake the cupcakes, filling each cupcake only 2/3 full. Don’t have a cake mix on hand? Check out my gluten free and vegan chocolate cake recipe to make the best chocolate cake from scratch.
Eggs – My cake mix calls for a few eggs and use room temperature chicken eggs for the best results. Can’t use chicken eggs? No worries! A flax egg works PERFECTLY in this cake. Simply mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of almost boiling water. Stir and set aside for 5 minutes so it can get gelatinous.
Milk – This also goes into the cake mix, you can use cow milk or a plant-based milk interchangeably in cake recipes. Soy and oat milk are my favorites for baking into cakes.
Butter – What is frosting without butter? Use room temperature butter for best results. Can’t use milk butter? There are several plant-based butters that work AWESOME in frosting recipes. My personal favorite brand is Earth Balance because they have a stick option and a soy-free option. Win-win!
Chocolate – Chocolate squares for baking are used to melt into the fudge frosting. This is what will give the frosting a depth of flavor beyond what cocoa powder can bring to the table.
Sugar – Powdered sugar is the only sweetener you need for both the fudge frosting and the marshmallow frosting.
Vanilla – A good bottle of vanilla is something to splurge on. This ingredient adds a richness to everything. Watkins makes an allergy friendly vanilla extract that I use in all my baking.
Shortening – Vegetable shortening adds moisture and stability to frosting better than just butter alone. When combined your frostings will be more room temperature stable. Also, it adds more fat without the moisture that butter/plant-butter does, making them taste richer and fuller.
Marshmallow Fluff – This is for the fluffy cream filling of these cakes. I also used it to swirl the top of the cupcakes. If you can’t find an egg free marshmallow fluff, feel free to use vanilla buttercream in place. I promise it will taste just as good!
Tips for Gluten Free & Vegan Hostess Cupcakes
This recipe is simple to make but has a lot of steps to it. I know. Hold on and bear with me. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but these cupcakes can be made start to finish in under 2 hours.
First, make your cupcakes according to box directions, or make from scratch using my gluten free and vegan chocolate cake recipe. Either way, swap out any allergy ingredients for ones you can safely use. If you want to make your cupcakes a day before making your hostess cupcakes, you can totally do that, too!
While the cupcakes are baking, make your chocolate fudge frosting. The longer this sits out on the countertop, the more it will develop into a rich and thick frosting.
Finally, just before you are ready to assemble, make your marshmallow frosting. This can get a little warm and runny if left to sit out, so don’t let it hang out in your hot kitchen for longer than necessary.
Assemble Your Hostess Cupcakes
When you’re ready to assemble your cupcakes, first flatten the tops of your cupcakes with a knife. We want a nice smooth top to the cake!
Next, scoop out a tiny spoonful of chocolate cake from the center of the cupcake. I used a metal half-teaspoon and took the cake out like I would with a melon baller on a cantaloupe. Easy peasy. Set those cake scraps aside for making into cake balls or eating. I’ll let you guess which one I chose to do! 😉
Now, fill the center of your cupcake with the marshmallow frosting. I like to put my frosting in a piping bag for easy fill. You can use a plastic sandwich bag, or even just tiny dollops of the frosting into the cake work. Just make sure that the top of the frosting is even with the top of the cupcake.
You can pop the cupcakes into the fridge to help set the marshmallow frosting.
Next, using a knife, gently top with your chocolate fudge frosting. I found that placing a big dollop of frosting on top of the marshmallow frosting and then gently pressing the frosting to the edge was the best way to get the frosting to cover the cake without getting cake crumbs everywhere.
Finally, with a small tip piping bag, or even just drizzling with your spoon, make tiny swirls on top of your cupcakes.
Happy Gluten Free & Vegan Hostess Cupcake making and eating!
Gluten Free & Vegan Hostess Cupcakes
- 1 box cake mix, chocolate and gluten free
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
- 1/4 cup butter or butter alternative
- 1 1/2 oz baking chocolate bar
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3-4 tbsp milk or milk alternative
- 1/3 cup marshmallow fluff (make it a heaping third of a cup!)
- 1/4 cup butter or butter alternative
- 2 tbsp vegetable shortening
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk or milk alternative
- Make your box cake mix according to the directions on the box. Be sure to swap out any ingredients you are allergic to for safe ones. See above for ideas.
- To make the chocolate fudge frosting, melt the butter (or alternative) and chocolate together in the microwave or over a double boiler. Remove from the heat and stir in your powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of milk. If you need more milk to help it combine, add the remaining milk in 1 tablespoon increments. It will be slightly runny but will thicken upon standing. Set aside.
- Now make the marshmallow frosting. Combine your marshmallow fluff with your room temperature butter (or alternative) and vegetable shortening. Whip until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Now add your sugar and vanilla. Whip again. If you need to thin the consistency, add up to 1 tablespoon of milk. Place the majority of this aside in a piping bag for use to fill the cupcakes. Place a few spoonfulls into a small bag for piping the swirl on top.
- To assemble the cupcakes, trim the tops of all your cupcakes so they are flat. Using a half-teaspoon, scoop out a small hole for the frosting. Fill with the marshmallow cream frosting, making sure not to fill above the top of the cupcake. Gently frost with the chocolate fudge frosting. Finally, swirl a marshmallow frosting swirl on top for the true hostess cupcake look! Enjoy!
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