food: homemade twinkies

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Twinkies

last week, while staring a dairy-free month in the face (we’ve determined that June will be ‘Happy Healthy Month’ in our household, which apparently means no dairy in B’s estimation. I’ve assured him that while I might be ‘healthier’ without dairy, I will, by no means, be ‘happier.’), I received these little goodies in the mail that I had ordered some time ago from Fab.com.

To be honest, I hadn’t really looked at the size when I ordered them, and so I was surprised by how small they were. What could I use them for? They’d really only hold enough batter for a cupcake-sized treat, but who makes rectangular cupcakes? I mean rectangular cupcakes…how silly! Oh, right. Twinkies!

I happened to have a ton of buttercream frosting in the freezer leftover from Mother’s Day treats, so decided to try my hand at making my own Twinkie cupcakes. Below is the ingredients that I used, but would imagine that any combination of cupcake batter and frosting that you enjoy would be terrific. My current favorite is adapted from Martha Stewart:

HOMEMADE TWINKIES

(makes 24-26 cupcakes)

Cake Ingredients:

8 oz. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbs. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs (take out of refrigerator 30 mins before using)

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup whole milk

 

Buttercream Filling Ingredients (this will make about 5 cups of frosting- waaaaay more than you need for these, but I like that this frosting refrigerates and freezes well. Just put the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze up to one month. To use, bring it to room temperature and then stir with a rubber spatula until it’s back to the original consistency):

1.5 cups granulated sugar

6 large egg whites

4 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- STARTING THE CAKE: preheat oven to 350˚. lightly butter the insides of mini loaf pans or use a baking spray. (i did NOT do this with mine, since the manufacturer says it’s not needed, but since you need to unmold these in order to fill with frosting, greasing the molds would make that process easier and neater.)

- whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; cream on med-hi speed until pale (2-3 mins). then, on medium speed, add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. add vanilla and mix, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. with the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two batches of milk. stir with a rubber spatula until the batter is evenly blended.

- pour batter into greased molds, filling each two-thirds full.

- bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 15-18 mins.

- let cupcakes cool on a rack until at room temperature, before unmolding and filling.

- MAKING THE FROSTING (while the cupcakes are baking and cooling, make the frosting): whisk sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until sugar is dissolved and mixture registers 140˚ on an instant-read thermometer, 2-3 mins.

- fit an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, and beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks and the mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 10 mins.

- reduce speed to med-lo, and add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition (meringue will deflate slightly as butter is added). Add vanilla; beat until frosting comes together, 3-5 mins. beat on lowest speed until air bubbles diminish, about 2 mins. stir with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth.

- ASSEMBLING THE TWINKIES: unmold the cooled cakes (I kept each one in front of it’s mold, so I could pop it right back into the one it came from. But, since the molds are all the same size, this probably isn’t necessary). Fill a pastry bag fitted with a pastry tip (I used a #4, you need something skinny enough to get a decent way into the little cakes) about 1/2 to 2/3 full of frosting and twist the end until the frosting begins to come out. insert the pastry tip as far as possible (ideally, close to half way) into one long end of a cake and squeeze the frosting in while slowly pulling the pastry tip out. Repeat on the other side of the same cake. This allows you to fill almost the whole length of the cake. If you want a little extra frosting ‘oomph,’ you can insert the pastry tip a few times from the bottom of each cake, too. (I seem to remember seeing this on the Hostess Twinkie cakes when I was little…but there were so few of those allowed in my childhood, and it was so long ago!). Place the filled Twinkie back into it’s loaf pan and repeat with the remaining cakes.

ENJOY!

Twinkies

 

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