My mom's request for her birthday this year (earlier in November; yes, I'm behind; Happy Thanksgiving!) was for a giant Hostess Orange Cupcake cake.
I settled on a yellow cake recipe from Nick Malgieri, a vanilla pastry cream buttercream, and orange marshmallow fondant to cover the cake. This butter is for the frosting; the butter gets whipped, the pastry cream is slowly added. I liked the frosting, but at room temperature it wasn't as sturdy as a Swiss meringue buttercream, or even a regular buttercream. It did have more of the texture and taste of the vanilla filling the regular snack cakes have, though there's room for improvement.
If you don't like fondant, I urge you to try marshmallow fondant. In fact, I will pester you until you do. Not only is it incredibly simple, but so tasty that you'll want to pinch pieces off and eat it. The bad part is that I broke my hand held mixer because I continued to use it instead of using a giant wooden spoon once I realized it might be too thick. But now you know that it's possible to mix it by hand! At a certain point I began kneading the fondant and it was all really easy. I added the flavoring (orange oil) and food color (orange, obviously) after the marshmallows were melted.
Easy to roll out with a bit of confectioners' sugar to keep the fondant from sticking to the surface. I quickly realized that I should have halved the recipe; even now, a few weeks layer, half of the fondant remains.
And here we are, a giant Hostess Orange Cupcake, complete with the squiggly line across the top.
The cake was a hit, and Mom was very pleased! We decided the coating should probably be an orange white chocolate ganache next time, but none of us picked the marshmallow fondant off the cake.