Junk Food Made Real: Homemade Hostess® Chocolate CupCakes with Creamy Filling {Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar Free} - Easy Meal Prep Plans

Junk Food Made Real: Homemade Hostess® Chocolate CupCakes with Creamy Filling {Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar Free}

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Junk Food Made Real: Homemade Hostess® Chocolate CupCakes with Creamy Filling {Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar Free} // 20dishes.com

Hello friends! Jessica here today! Welcome back to another edition of our Junk Food Made Real series! I am having SO MUCH FUN writing this series for you and I hope you are enjoying the great recipes we are sharing. If you have missed pasted editions of the series, you can always find all of them here.

Hostess® CupCakes.

These are a classic and iconic sweet treat, enjoyed by people all over the country (world?). How many of you have had one (or more) of these at some point in your life?

<raises hand>

Because of their popularity, I thought this was a perfect addition to the Junk Food Made Real series. If you have transitioned to a real food diet, then you may still be missing some of your favorite foods from the Standard American Diet. After today, you can have your (cup)cake and eat it too! 🙂

Before we dive into the delicious recipe, let’s take a look at the ingredients used for Hostess® CupCakes.

Hostess® Chocolate CupCakes with Creamy Filling Ingredient Breakdown

So, unless I am completely blind, I cannot find the ingredients for any Hostess® products anywhere on their site. They have every product listed, but you cannot click into each product to view nutrition and ingredient info (at the time of this writing).

I found that very, very odd….why would they not include this info on their site? Every other manufacturer that I have covered in this series has the info plainly on their site. I am not sure if this is a deliberate omission or if their site was broken at the time I wrote this post.

After Googling, I found a site called FoodFacts.com, which did have the ingredient list for Hostess® Chocolate CupCakes with Creamy Filling, so that is where I obtained the ingredients for today’s blog post. I am actually really glad I came across this Food Facts site because I love the way they set up each of their entries. You should hop over and check out their site when you have time.

Sugar, Wheat Flour Enriched ( Flour, Ferrous Sulfate [ Iron ], Vitamin B [ Niacin Vitamin B3, Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1 { Thiamin Vitamin B1 }, Riboflavin Vitamin B2 { Riboflavin Vitamin B2 }, Folic Acid Vitamin B9 ]), Water, Vegetables, and/or, Animal Shortening, Contains One Or More Of The Following( Soybeans Partially Hydrogenated, Cottonseed, Or, Canola Oil, Beef Fat ), Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup High Fructose, Corn Syrup, , Contains 22% or less, Whey, Corn Starch Modified, Leavening ( Baking Soda, Sodium Acid, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Sodium Phosphate ), Salt, Corn Syrup Solids, Calcium Carbonate, Corn Starch, Calcium Sulphate, Dextrose, Soy Lecithin, Polysorbate 60, Mono and Diglycerides, Cellulose Gum, Calcium Caseinate, Wheat Gluten, Agar, Gelatin, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Caramel Color, Chocolate Liquor, Locust Bean Gum, Potassium Sorbate, and, Sorbic Acid, To Retain Freshness, Flavors Natural & Artificial 

Oh boy, where do I start? This is a mess of ingredients. Let’s talk about some of the ones that stand out most to me. I feel like I am harping on the same ingredients over and over again, so I tried to pick a couple new ones this time. 🙂

Sugar – The first ingredient. Really? It even beat out wheat flour, so that means there is more sugar in this product than any other ingredient. We all know the issues with refined sugars and the impact on our blood sugar system and inflammation. Another concern here is if the sugar comes from sugar beets (as opposed to sugar cane), it is likely genetically modified.

Wheat Flour – As I have mentioned before, I don’t think that what in and of itself is the devil it is made out to be. I do, however, think that what we have done to our modern wheat is where the issue lies.

First of all, it has been hybridized so much that it doesn’t even resemble traditional wheat. Second, conventional what has been treated multiple time with glyphosate (aka Roundup), which is a horrid herbicide that is being linked to many health problems. Lastly, this flour has been “enriched”, which means fortified with synthetic vitamins because it was void of nutrition to start with.

If you are going to eat wheat, please buy organic and stick with the traditional varieties, like Einkorn, that have not been hybridized to death.

Vegetable and/or Animal Shortening – Soybean, cottonseed, and canola oils have all been partially hydrogenated in this case. As I’ve mentioned in past editions, these oils are all going to be genetically modified. They are also rancid and contain high levels of Omega 6 fatty acids which lead to inflammation in the body and an upset of the delicate Omega fatty acid balance within the body.

As far as the beef fat goes, I am not against tallow, but I am against tallow from conventional feedlot animals, which is where this fat is coming from. These animals are grain-fed, sickly, and kept in horrific conditions. If you are going to use tallow, use it only from grass-fed and finished cattle from reputable sources. If you are not familiar with the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed cattle, this blog post is a great read.

Potassium Sorbate and Sorbic Acid – These are both preservatives that are commonly used in food production. While these two preservatives are “generally regarded as safe” by the FDA, there is some concern over their use in food. A small laboratory study published in “Toxicology in Vitro” in 2010 found that human blood cell exposure to potassium sorbate led to DNA damage. But to truly know the impacts of these preservatives on human health, there needs to be further long-term studies done. It has also been found that potassium sorbate may potentially cause an allergic reaction when used externally (where it is a common additive in skin care products). Again, further study is needed, but I like to err on the side of caution and avoid when possible.

Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup Solids, and Cornstarch – All are going to be derived from genetically modified corn. The first three are sweeteners and highly refined. I am sure you’ve heard high fructose corn syrup mentioned 1,000 different places over the last few years. I am not against using cornstarch (and use a little myself), but it’s always organic to avoid the GMO issue.

Truly, the ingredient list for these cupcakes leaves a lot to be desired. That’s why making our own at home is the way to go and I am here to show you how!

Junk Food Made Real: Homemade Hostess® Chocolate CupCakes with Creamy Filling {Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar Free} // 20dishes.com

Homemade “Hostess® Chocolate CupCakes” with Creamy Filling {Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar Free}

Today’s recipe comes to 20 Dishes by way of my other website, Delicious Obsessions, and my dear friend Emily from the website Recipes to Nourish. A few months ago, Emily created this amazing recipe for my site and it fit in so well with our Junk Food Made Real series that she has granted us permission to republish the recipe here for you guys too! Hop over to Emily’s site and say hello — she has a lot of amazing recipes and beautiful pictures. Let’s dive in!

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 Minutes
  • Serves: 11-12





  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake/muffin liners, set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter, chocolate chips and honey. Stir occasionally until fully melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add cassava flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, cacao powder and maple sugar. Whisk to combine, removing any lumps from the cacao powder.
  4. Pour the semi-cooled melted chocolate mixture into the flour mixture. Add eggs, vanilla extract and buttermilk.
  5. Whisk to combine or use a hand-held mixer to combine. Do not over mix, just mix until everything has come together.
  6. For 12 small cupcakes, evenly divide batter in 12 cupcake liners. For 11 medium cupcakes, evenly divide batter in 11 cupcake liners.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes. All ovens cook differently, so make sure to check the cupcakes at the 18 minute mark.
  8. Cupcakes are done when toothpick inserted inside comes out with only a few moist {not wet} crumbs.
  9. Allow cupcakes to cool completely.


  1. Assemble standing mixer with bowl and whisk attachment or large mixing bowl with hand-held mixer. Add 1/4 cup water to mixing bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Set aside.
  2. In a medium size saucepan, add 1/4 cup water, honey, vanilla and sea salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. If using a candy thermometer, add to pan now. Stir constantly as the mixture will start to bubble and get foamy the hotter it gets. Simmer until it reaches 240 degrees F, this will take about 8 minutes if you don’t have a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.
  3. With your standing mixer or hand-held mixer on low, SLOWLY and carefully pour the hot honey mixture in a thin stream into the gelatin mixture – this should take at least 1 minute. Once incorporated, increase mixer speed to high and continue mixing until it becomes thick and doubles in size – about 7-9 minutes.
  4. You’re going to have some extra marshmallow fluff, enjoy it as is or place extra in a mason jar and store in the refrigerator for later.


  1. Gently heat the chocolate chips and butter over low heat, stirring occasionally until fully melted and glossy. Set aside to cool slightly.


  1. Remove cupcake liners.
  2. Fill a piping bag with the marshmallow fluff. When the cupcakes are fully cooled, insert the tip of the piping bag into the center of the top or bottom of the chocolate cupcake and fill with marshmallow fluff. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a paring knife to carve out a small portion {making a cone shape} of the bottom or top of the cupcake. Replace the removed chocolate cake over the opening after you have filled it with marshmallow fluff.
  3. When the cupcakes are filled, spoon the ganache over the tops of the cupcakes so the tops are fully coated or dip the tops of the cupcakes in the ganache. Tilt the cupcakes to the side to allow the excess ganache to fall off.
  4. Let the ganache set up before serving, you can speed up the process by placing cupcakes in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes.

Junk Food Made Real: Homemade Hostess® Chocolate CupCakes with Creamy Filling {Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar Free} // 20dishes.com


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