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These Gluten-Free Copycat Hostess Cupcakes are a childhood favorite made better right at home. They’re made with gluten-free chocolate cupcakes filled with homemade marshmallow fluff, then topped with chocolate ganache.

hostess cupcakes on a plate.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Homemade Marshmallow Fluff

Have you ever had one of those iconic packaged chocolate cupcakes? Our version looks like the classic treats of an American childhood, but tastes like the sophisticated version you should have been eating all along.

We took the best gluten-free chocolate layer cake, turned it into cupcakes, filled the cupcakes with homemade marshmallow fluff, and topped them off with a decadent chocolate ganache.

There are definitely a few steps needed to complete this recipe, but it’s such a cute treat to recreate with healthier ingredients and the outcome is dang delicious!

These are the dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free chocolate cupcakes of your dreams!

overhead of a halved hostess cupcake in a cupcake liner.

Ingredients Needed

  • Flour: Our gluten-free flour blend is a combination of almond flour and coconut flour.
  • Cocoa Powder: Use a high-quality cocoa powder to give the cupcakes the best chocolatey flavor.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: We’re using both leavening agents to give the cupcakes a nice lift.
  • Salt: Cuts the sweetness and enhances flavors.
  • Eggs: Eggs bind everything together so the cupcakes hold their shape once baked.
  • Coconut Sugar: My natural sweetener of choice for this recipe.
  • Milk: I use almond milk, but feel free to use whatever milk you have on hand.
  • Coffee: If you don’t want to use coffee, you can increase the milk amount by 1/4 cup. The coffee does enhance the chocolatey flavor in the cupcakes, though!
  • Avocado Oil: Avocado oil provides extra moisture to the cupcakes.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds flavor depth and a little bit of extra sweetness.
  • Marshmallow Filling: I use my homemade marshmallow fluff recipe to fill the cupcakes. You can also use store-bought marshmallow fluff or a vanilla buttercream.
  • Ganache: We’re making a chocolate ganache for the top with a mix of coconut milk and mini chocolate chips.
  • Swirl: The signature swirl on top of the cupcakes is made using melted white chocolate.

How to Make Copycat Hostess Chocolate Cupcakes

This homemade hostess cupcake recipe is just like classic hostess cupcakes, but made at home in just 40 minutes!

  1. Make the batter: In a bowl, combine almond flour, cocoa, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, then add coconut sugar, milk, coffee, avocado oil, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then whisk to combine.
  2. Divide, bake, and cool: Divide the batter evenly into two muffin tins lined with paper liners. Bake at 350ºF for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, then cool completely.
  3. Make the filling and ganache: First, make a batch of homemade marshmallow fluff. Place mini chocolate chips into a heat proof bowl, then heat coconut milk in a microwave or small pot over low heat. Pour the milk over the chocolate, then gently shake the bowl to make sure the chips are covered. Let sit for 5 minutes then whisk until smooth.
  4. Assemble: Using a knife, cut a well out of the cooled cupcakes. Use a spoon to cut out a teaspoon sized amount of cake to make the hole a little larger, then use your fingers to press the sides of the hole until it’s set. Fill a pastry bag with marshmallow cream, then fill the cupcakes with the cream. Place the top of the cupcakes back on, then dip the top of each cupcake into the ganache.
  5. Top and serve: Fill a pastry bag with melted white chocolate, then drizzle the top of each cupcake with the chocolate. Alternatively, use any extra marshmallow fluff to make swirls on top of the cupcake.

What is Hostess Cupcake Filling Made Of?

This hostess cupcake recipe is made using marshmallow cream. And to make it even better we’re using my homemade marshmallow fluff recipe.

If you’re shorter on time, you can use store-bought marshmallow fluff or even vanilla buttercream frosting.

overhead and closeup of a halved hostess cupcake in a cupcake liner.

Why Do My Gluten Free Cupcakes Sink?

If your gluten-free cupcakes are sinking in the middle, then you may have over-mixed the batter.

Mixing too much can incorporate too much air into the batter which bakes up in the oven, then deflates as the cupcakes cool. That’s what can cause the fallen center. To avoid this, mix the batter only until just combined and no more.

Tips and Notes

  • Sift the dry ingredients. While this isn’t totally necessary, it does help prevent them from clumping up in the batter.
  • Check for doneness. To be sure that the cupcakes are done baking, insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, they’re good to go. If it comes out with a few moist crumbs still on it, then they need a few more minutes.
  • Let the cupcakes cool completely. They should be totally cooled off before you hollow them out and add the filling.
  • If the ganache gets too cold, gently rewarm it over a double boiler or microwave it in 10 second increments until warmed through.
overhead of chocolate hostess cupcakes on a plate with one being taken off.

How to Store

Assembled hostess chocolate cupcakes should be enjoyed within 2 days. You can store them in an airtight container at room temperature.

How Do You Freeze Gluten Free Cupcakes?

You can freeze these cupcakes as long as you are doing so without the filling and the topping.

To freeze them, let them cool completely, then store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to fill and frost the cupcakes, let them thaw at room temperature, then assemble as directed.

In this recipe we used these tools:

  • Stand Mixer
  • Muffin Tin
  • Piping Bags
  • Essentials: Bowls, whisks, spatula, knife

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Gluten-Free Copycat Hostess Cupcakes

4.91 from 11 votes
These Gluten-Free Copycat Hostess Cupcakes are a childhood favorite made better right at home. They're made with gluten-free chocolate cupcakes filled with homemade marshmallow fluff, then topped with chocolate ganache.
Servings 16 cupcakes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes


For cupcakes:

  • 2-1/2 cups 240g almond flour
  • 3/4 cup 64g high-quality cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup 24g coconut flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice we use almond
  • 1/4 cup coffee see note
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Filling:

For Ganache:

  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips if dairy-free use dairy-free chocolate chips

To pipe swirl:

  • 1/4 cup white chocolate melted


Prepare and cool cupcakes:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350ºF and line 2 muffin tins with 16 parchment paper liners.
  • In a medium bowl add almond flour, cocoa, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. (see note)
  • In a large bowl whisk eggs. Add in coconut sugar, milk, coffee, avocado oil and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
  • Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and whisk to combine completely.
  • Divide batter evenly between 16 cupcake liners bake in pre-heated oven for 16-18 minutes  minutes, or until a toothpick inserted and removed is clean of any wet cake batter.
  • Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.

Make the filling:

  • Make 1 batch of Homemade Marshmallow Fluff and that post will have everything you need to know in it about doing so. You will have more than you need for this recipe but it is almost impossible to get egg whites to whip up if it is less than 3, so you’ll need to make the whole batch.

Make Chocolate Ganache:

  • Place mini chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl.
  • Heat coconut milk until it is very hot (but not boiling) either in a microwave or in a very small pot over a low flame.
  • Pour over chocolate and shake the bowl to make sure the chips are covered by the hot milk. Let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  • Whisk the chocolate and coconut milk together until a smooth ganache is formed. It is best to do this right before assembling the cupcakes because you’ll want the ganache to be warm, but not hot.

Assemble the cupcakes:

  • Cut out a well from the cooled cupcakes with a knife and set aside the top. Using a spoon scoop out a teaspoon sized amount of cake to create a larger hole, and discard the cake scraps. Using your fingers gently press the sides of the hole until it is set and there are no loose crumbs. 
  • Fill a pastry bag with the marshmallow cream and cut out a small hole. Fill the cupcakes and place the reserved cut top back on the cupcake and gently push it down so it’s flat.
  • Dip the top of each filled cupcake carefully into the glaze, and gently lift it up to let to let the excess glaze drip off and than quickly flip it back right side up on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To pipe the swirl either fill a pastry bag with melted and slightly cooled white chocolate, or you can use extra marshmallow fluff and make 4-5 swirls on the top of the cooled cupcake.
  • Enjoy cupcakes within two days. They can be stored at room temperature in an air tight container.


If your almond flour and cocoa powder is really lumpy you should sift all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
You can skip the coffee and just increase the milk by 1/4 cup.
If your chocolate ganache ever gets too cold you can gently rewarm it it over a double-boiler or in the microwaves for 10 seconds at a time.
If you would like to make less chocolate cupcakes, you can use these ingredient amounts:
1-1/4 cups (120) almond flour
⅓ cup plus 1 tabespoon (35g) high-quality cocoa powder
1/4 cup (24g) coconut flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup milk of choice
2 tablespoons cup coffee (see note)
2 tablespoon cup avocado oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Serving: 16gCalories: 150kcalCarbohydrates: 20.3gProtein: 3.7gFat: 7.4gSaturated Fat: 3.1gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 163mgFiber: 2gSugar: 16.3g
Author: Lexi

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Lexi, these are the most delicious chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever eaten. My minor modifications to the recipe were to use decaffeinated expresso powder (1/2-3/4 tsp) instead of the coffee, increasing the “milk” to 3/4 cup to compensate. I use full fat coconut milk as my “milk”. I usually eat the cupcakes without filling with fluff, but splurged on the whole deal with fluff for a picnic with children involved. Everyone seemed to love the result.

    I often make a batch of unfilled frosted cupcakes and freeze the majority so we can enjoy them over a longer period of time. I wonder if anyone has tried freezing the fluff filled cupcakes? Apparently Italian meringue freezes well so I imagine that freezing the fluff filled cupcakes might work.

  2. 5 stars
    These turned out awesome! My kiddos loved them. I am grateful to be able to make something special that my daughter loved and was able to eat! Thank you!
    Also, noticed that someone was wondering about a substitute for tapioca flour. My daughter can’t tolerate cassava flour, or tapioca starch/flour for some reason, so I always substitute arrowroot flour instead and that has worked great!

  3. 5 stars
    I love your recipes but a lot of them call for tapioca flour, is there a substitute? I use a lot of green banana flour, do you think that might work?

    1. Hi Petra. I don’t have any experience with that flour. If you experiment, let us know how it goes. The only flour we’ve had success with swapping with tapioca is arrowroot, though it’s not always a 1-1 swap.

  4. 5 stars
    I don’t know where my comment went – but I’m shouting out again. If the first one turns up, great! Everyone needs to try these!!! Made these today and I’m so proud of myself! These things are so dang delicious!!! Starting off, the cake is literally the best I’ve made! Moist and sweet enough and just delicious. The whippy stuff is fabulous! I was a little intimidated but shouldn’t have been. It was easy. Turned out fabulous! Putting them together is so fulfilling and fun!!! I haven’t allowed myself the originals in years since going Paleo. These I can eat!!!! They taste honestly, as good as the originals – if not better! The whippy stuff makes a lot so I’m making another batch tomorrow to take to neighbors. Honestly, I’m so happy to have this recipe! Everything Lexi makes is amazing!!!!!!

  5. 5 stars
    Made these a few days ago. Let me say, they were pretty good fresh, but EVEN BETTER the next day! It was hard to just eat 1! My mom said they’re even better than the “original” hostess cupcakes! A must make. They are a bit labor intensive, and the marshmallow fluff makes A LOT. I’d maybe double the cupcake recipe and try freezing them.

  6. Is there a flour you recommend that works well in this recipe as a substitute for the almond flour if you are nut free?

    1. Unfortunately we don’t have a tested substitute for the almond flour for this one. We have found success with switching oat flour with almond flour in some recipes, but we haven’t tried it for this. If you do, let us know how it goes. -kelli

  7. 5 stars
    These are delicious!! I was expecting these to be a “project” and take a while, but I read the post and all the tips and they came together pretty quickly! I was slightly intimidated to give them ago, but after making them I can say there is no need to be- they’re easy!!

  8. 5 stars
    really nice recipe and tips, especially about sifting the almond flour and cocoa powder to make sure it’s not lumpy and are happy to make these beyond Valentines Day, thank you

    1. In an air tight container for up to two weeks. After a few days you may have to re whip it. See post for more details!

  9. 5 stars
    OMG! These are incredible! They taste just like hostess cupcakes. My 6 yr old daughter has never had a hostess cupcake, so she has no point of reference, but my husband and I do. We all loved them! My husband and I are living the Plant Paradox lifestyle, so these are close to what we can eat. With the marshmallow fluff, we aren’t supposed to have maple syrup, but it’s such a small amount, in the grand scheme of things. I highly recommend this recipe!