One of the first recipes I cloned over twenty-five years ago was the Hostess Twinkie, but it wasn’t until just recently that I got around to knocking off the brand’s iconic chocolate cupcake with the seven white icing swirls on top. The crème filling recipe here is the same as in the Twinkie, but the cake, chocolate frosting, and white icing are all brand-new scratch recipes. Place small rounds of parchment paperinto the cups of a 12-cup muffin pan for easy removal of the cupcakes and you’ll need a piping bag or pastry gun with a medium tip to fill the cupcakes and a small tip to add the seven loops of white icing on top.

1 cup hot water
2 ounces (⅔ cup) unsweetened cocoa
6 ounces (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon water
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow crème
½ cup shortening
2 ounces (½ cup) powdered sugar

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces (1 cup) powdered sugar
1 ounce (⅓ cup) unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons heavy cream
⅛ teaspoon salt

4½ ounces (1½ cups) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons shortening
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking method

1-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2-Spray 12 cups of a standard-size muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom of each cup.

3-Make the cakes by pouring the hot water over the cocoa in a medium bowl. Use a whisk to combine until smooth, then set the cocoa aside to cool.

4-Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in another medium bowl.

5-Use an electric mixer on medium speed to mix the eggs with the sugar and vanilla in a large bowl for 1 minute. Mix in the oil.

6-Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth. Add the cocoa and mix well. Pour ⅓ cup of batter into each cup (fill about threequarters up) and bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until cooked through. Cool.

7-While the cupcakes cool, make the crème filling by combining the vanilla, water, and salt in a small bowl. Stir until most of the salt is dissolved. Mix the marshmallow crème, shortening, and powdered sugar together in a large bowl using an electric mixer on high speed. Add the vanilla/salt solution and mix for 1 minute. Set aside.

8-Make the frosting by combining the melted butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, cream, and salt in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed. Let it sit to cool until it is a medium consistency —not too runny, not too thick—that will stick to the cupcakes when they are dipped into it.

9-Make the white icing by combining all of the ingredients with an electric mixer in a medium bowl for 1 minute.

10-When the cupcakes are cool, load the filling into a piping bag or pastry gun with a medium round tip, and the icing into a piping bag or pastry gun with a small round tip.

11-Slice the top off of each cupcake so that they are flat on top, then use the blunt end of a skewer or the tip of a chopstick to poke down through the top of each cupcake and swirl it around inside to make some space for the filling. Pipe some filling into the center of each cupcake.

12-Dip the filled cupcakes upside-down into the chocolate frosting so that just the tops are frosted. Set the cupcakes aside to cool for about 10 minutes, then give each cupcake a second coat. Use a knife to smooth out the frosting if needed. If the frosting becomes too thick, microwave it on high for 15 seconds to loosen it up.

13-When the frosting on top of the cupcakes is cool, pipe a line of 7 loops onto the top of each cupcake.

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