This past Sunday evening, we had plans to hang out with some good friends of ours, the Hoff family. While making plans in the days leading up to Sunday, I suggested we do dessert and a game night at my house. A day or two later, my husband suggested we go over to the Hoff’s house for dessert, a winter dip in their outdoor hot tub, and a game night. After checking with Suzy, she agreed that sounded like a good plan. I would bring the dessert and she would provide the hot tub! Now I just needed to decide what dessert to make. I wanted to make something we hadn’t had in a while, and something all the kids would enjoy. Between our two families, there are 8 kids! I really needed a crowd pleaser! So I went back to one of my childhood favorites, the twinkie!
I loved twinkies as a kid. As I got older and learned how unhealthy the store bought twinkies are, I sought out a homemade recipe. Sure enough, my go to recipe source for much of my baking, King Arthur Flour, provided me with an amazing recipe that produces twinkies that I think are better than the original. And of course, much healthier! No preservatives are needed, and you can control the ingredients by using organic, all natural, and the best quality items.
Saturday rolled around, and I told my husband I didn’t think that the hot tub was a good idea for Sunday. We live in the Chicagoland area and the temperature for Sunday was forecasted to be a high of 2 with a -20 windchill. He agreed that it would be crazy and borderline unsafe to go in the hot tub in those temperatures. Well, our friends, the Hoffs, are quite adventurous people. They have five kids and have never let it slow them down. They are always on the go. Every summer, they go camping for 6-8 weeks out west. We love hanging out with this family because it gets us off the couch to go skiing, hiking, park hopping, or playing games. The Hoff kids bring out the creativity in my kids, which I love seeing. They have amazing family adventures that you can read about on their blog, http://www.hoffpack.com.
Throughout the day on Sunday, Chuck and Suzy were texting us about getting the hot tub ready, and braving the cold. They weren’t going to let us out of this one. Oh Boy! I told my husband at the very least, he had to go in the hot tub because the Hoff’s went to the trouble of getting it ready, and it was his suggestion in the first place. So I packed up our suits, bath robes, and winter hats! Oh, and of course I couldn’t forget the twinkies. After arriving at their house, I was hoping that Suzy wouldn’t want to go in. But she told me that she had braved hot tubs in Colorado winter temperatures many times. I should have known better! I was going in that hot tub no matter what at this point. We fed the kids their twinkies, which they scarfed down and thoroughly enjoyed.
While the kids watched a movie, we suited up, grabbed our twinkies, and ran into the hot tub! Thank goodness it was only steps away from the back door! That jump from the door into the hot tub was freezing! But it was well worth it! We had a few icicles form on our hats and hair, but those twinkies sure tasted good while soaking in the hot tub with good friends on a beautiful clear evening. We did the best to take a photo with our camera phone.
Thanks for the adventure Hoff family!!!
2 cups (8 1/2 oz) King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend (This is available to purchase online from KAF or amazon and can be found in some grocery stores. Any brand cake flour can be used, but the KAF cake flour is the only unbleached cake flour I know of. If you do not want to bake with chemicals such as bleach in your flour, you may consider ordering from KAF)
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) vegetable oil
3/4 cup (6 oz) cold water
7 unbeaten egg yolks
1 teaspoon Princess Cake and Cookie Flavoring for true snack cake taste OR 1 teaspoon vanilla (I use the princess cake and cookie flavoring. Click on the link to purchase from KAF)
7 egg whites, beaten very stiff
Snack Cake Filling
2 tablespoon King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (4 oz) milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons (2 oz) salted butter
4 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) shortening
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
dash of salt (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spritz a filled cake pan (aka cream canoe pan) with a light layer of cooking spray. I found my twinkie pans at the Wilton tent sale last June. You can also purchase them HERE on amazon. If you do not have a twinkie pan, these can be made in a cupcake pan. Set aside.
Place all ingredients except beaten egg whites into a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth.
Working in thirds, fold the beaten egg whites into the batter. Take care to keep the batter light; fold, don’t beat.
Be sure you have very stiff egg whites
Very gently fold your egg whites into the batter until smooth. To fold, cut your batter down the middle of your bowl with your spatula until you hit the bottom of the bowl. Now, fold the batter up and over and turn your bowl. Repeat until the all the egg whites are incorporated and the batter is smooth.
Fill each section of the snack cake pan or cupcake pan 2/3 full. (Place your batter in a ziplock bag. Snip one small corner of the bag with scissors and squeeze the batter into your pan.) The cakes will puff quite a bit during baking,
but will shrink back during cooling.
Bake the cakes in a preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until golden brown. If using a cupcake pan, bake 15-18 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Using a flexible spatula, gentle remove each cake and cool flat side down on a rack until completely cool. In the meantime, prepare the snack cake filling.
In a small saucepan cook flour and milk over medium heat until a paste forms. Stir constantly and do not allow mixture to brown.
Remove from heat and let cool 1 minute. Add vanilla and stir until smooth. Press a piece of plastic wrap down on the surface of the paste to avoid forming a skin and set aside to cool completely.
7In the bowl of your mixer beat butter, shortening, and sugar until fluffy, scraping bowl to fully incorporate ingredients. Add cooled flour/milk mixture and continue to beat 5 minutes on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Use to fill snack cakes or cupcakes. Filling will remain creamy; store at room temperature 3-4 days.
To fill snack cakes: Place about 1 cup of filling into a clean pastry bag fitted with a round pastry tube, or use filling tool included with snack cake (cream canoe) pan. Gently insert the tube into the underside of the cake, about halfway through the cake. Using gentle pressure, squeeze a small amount of filling into the cake. You’ll feel the cake expand under your fingers. Do not overfill, or the cake will burst. Repeat for a total of 3 times per cake. (Or 4 times! I love extra cream in my twinkies. I never thought the store bought cakes had enough.) Store cakes well covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour
What adventure can you bring homemade twinkies on next? Who can you bake up a batch for? They are sure to brighten up anyones day!