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Chocolate Twinkies for Celebrations!

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I’ve had homemade “Twinkies” on my mind for the past few weeks. My pal Gail Dosik, the genius behind One Tough Cookie, says that it’s because of all the political rantings about small hands and short fingers. While this is certainly possible, it’s more likely that I’m simply in the party mood and I like to celebrate good news with cake – lots of cake. These vanilla cream-filled cakes are perfect party yumminess and today I’m celebrating The Everyday Baker ‘s James Beard Foundation and IACP cookbook award nominations! I’m honored to be included with all these talented, gifted authors. Please check out all the nominees & their books while noshing on one or three of these little numbers!

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Notes from my kitchen:

  • A canoe pan is similar to a muffin tin except the cups are oblong with rounded bottoms. You can find them in kitchen equipment shops or HERE.
  • The cakes can be baked, cooled completely, covered, and stowed at room temperature for up to 1 day before filling and glazing.
  • The filling can be made, covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day before filling the cakes.
  • The filled cakes can be covered and refrigerated for up
 to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

A few “how-to” shots for Step # 2 in “Make the glaze and assemble the cakes”

cut the twinkies                   fill the twinkies

For Your Reference: Here are The Everyday Baker  page numbers for the essential techniques you’ll be using in this recipe. Take a look in the book before you start baking.

  • For more about preparing cake pans, see p. 232
  • For more about ingredients and equipment, see p. 5 thru 28.
  • For more about measuring and mixing dry ingredients, see p. 32 and p. 570.
  • For more about scraping the bowl and beater, see p. 289.
  • For more about folding, see p. 270.
  • For more about unmolding and inverting a cake, see p. 278.
  • For more about assembling and filling a pastry bag, see p. 205.
  • For more about filling a zip-top bag, see p. 170.

Chocolate Twinkies
 Makes 8.

For the cakes
Very soft (not melted) unsalted butter for greasing the pans
2/3 cup (2 5/8 oz./ 74 g) cake flour
1/3 cup (1 oz./28 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
6 Tbs. (3 oz./85 g) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz. /149 g) granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup (160 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature

For the filling
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream
2 Tbs. (1 oz./28 g) mascarpone
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

For the white chocolate glaze
8 oz. (227 g) white chocolate (not chips), finely chopped
1 Tbs. neutral oil (safflower, canola, vegetable, or corn)
Colored Sprinkles, for garnish, optional

Make the cakes
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F (165°C /gas 3). Using a pastry brush and the very soft butter, generously grease 8 canoe cups (each canoe baking pan has 8 individual baking cups).

2. Sift the cake flour and cocoa into a small bowl. Add the baking powder, salt and baking soda and whisk until well blended. Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using an electric handheld mixer fitted with wire beaters) and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended. Stop to scrape down the bowl and beater as needed. Add about half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just blended. Add the buttermilk and mix on low speed until just blended. Using a silicone spatula, fold in the remaining flour mixture.

3. Portion the batter evenly among the prepared cups (each one will be about half full) and, using a small offset spatula, spread evenly. Bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 19 minutes. Move to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Carefully run a small knife between
the cakes and the pan, invert the pan onto a rack and lift off the pan. If some cakes are stubborn, gently loosen and re-invert the pan. Set aside to cool completely.

Make the filling
While the cakes are cooling, make the filling. Put the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a small bowl using an electric handheld mixer fitted with wire beaters) and beat on medium-low speed until well blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until thick enough to hold firm peaks when the beater is lifted, about 2 minutes.  Scrape into one corner of a large heavy-duty zip-top bag or pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch (6 mm) plain tip, press out the air, seal and set aside.

Make the glaze and assemble the cakes
1. Have ready a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a nonstick liner. Combine the chocolate and oil in a small bowl and melt in the microwave or over a pot of simmering water, and stir with a silicone spatula until smooth. Remove from the heat and set on a heatproof surface. Scrape about half of the melted chocolate into one corner of a small, heavy-duty zip-top bag, press out the air, seal and set aside.

2. To fill the cakes, use the hulling method. Working with one cake at a time, position the cake flat-side up in the palm of your hand. Use a small sharp knife and a sawing motion, cut a long slice down the length of the cake leaving a 1/4-inch (6mm) border of cake. Continue cutting, on an angle, into the cake until you are close to  the other side being careful not to cut through the cake. Using the knife, carefully pull out the cake center (it will be shaped a bit like a boat hull), cut off and reserve the top, and snack on the insides. Using the tip of the knife, scrape out more of the cake to form an even hull in the cake. Repeat with the remaining cakes positioning the cut-side up on a lined cutting board or counter. If using a heavy-duty zip-top bag for the filling, snip of one corner and pipe  about 2 Tbs. of the filling into each cake, replace the tops and position cut side down on the prepared sheet.

3. Working with
 one cake at a time, dip the bottom (the cut side) into the chocolate to cover completely and shake gently so that the excess chocolate drips off and back into the bowl. Arrange the cake, chocolate side down, on the prepared cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining cakes. When the temperature of the reserved chocolate is cool (too hot and it will slip off the cake.), snip off a small piece of the corner of the bag and drizzle the chocolate casually over the cakes. Scatter the tops with sprinkles, if desired.  Set aside until the chocolate firms up, about 30 minutes or refrigerate briefly. The cakes are best served at room temperature.

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