Sunday, December 13, 2015

Red Velvet Twinks

Individually packaged baked goods...we have all had them at one time or another, for they were usually stuffed inside our school lunch bag or purchased upon impulse at the convenience store. They are also found on shelves in the grocery store. Here in Texas, the Little Debbie brand is the most popular and has the most variety. However, I think the start up of these type of things began with the Hostess company back in 1919.

Twinkies were one of the little cakes that were created by Hostess in 1930. The creation of a sponge cake filled with cream became a sweet success. Yet, this recipe tops that original idea. It is actually a red velvet cake filled with cream. Not just any cream, but a blend of goat cheese and cream cheese which add a great dimension of tangy flavor to the cake.

You could make these into cupcakes as well and double the recipe for the filling and put it on top of the cupcake. Either way, your taste buds will thank you for taking the time to bake these little cakes. There are several methods to combine the filling with the cakes. The original instructions are below and at the bottom are my tips and notes. This recipe makes 16 "twink" cakes.

Red Velvet Twinks
adapted from Baking Out Loud

2 tsp white vinegar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbs Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp red food coloring

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz goat cheese (room temp)
4 oz cream cheese (room temp)
6 tbs unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 cups chopped toasted pecans or shredded coconut (optional)

Prepare canoe baking pans by greasing the interior cavities and top edges of 2 pans with 8 cavities. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the cakes, start by pouring the sugar and oil into a medium size bowl and blend using a hand mixer. Add food coloring, one egg and vanilla extract. Beat for about 30 seconds. Add the other egg and beat again for 30 seconds. Set aside.

Using a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa, flour and salt. Add 1/3 of this dry blend into the bowl of red batter and fold mixture together using a spatula. Then stir in 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Repeat the process starting with 1/2 of the sifted dry ingredients. After the remaining buttermilk is mixed in, fold in the last of the dry ingredients.

Fill a small bowl with the vinegar and mix in the baking soda. Stir this mixture into the red batter until evenly distributed.

Spoon or pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan cavities.  Place pans in oven and bake for 8-9 minutes and rotate pans. Bake for an additional 8-9 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cakes will have a slightly firm top center when done. Remove from the oven and place pan on rack to cool. Cool completely before removing cakes from cavities.

For the filling, cream together the goat cheese, cream cheese and butter using a hand mixer. Your batter should be void of lumps. Add then vanilla extract and beat again for 30 seconds. Take out another bowl and sift together the confectioners sugar and salt. Measure out 1/2 cup of the dry ingredients and beat into batter. Repeat the process with the sifted ingredients until all has been blended into the batter. If you choose to decorate the cakes, reserve 1/4 of the filling in a separate bowl. Prepare a piping bag with 1/4 inch tip. The remaining 3/4 of the filling will be used with the piping bag.

Remove the cakes from the pan.  Both sides will be rounded, so the side that was face up in the pan should be flattened so the cake will sit properly on a plate. Trim that side with a serrated knife.

The filling will be piped into the cake via the flat trimmed side. Pipe the filling into the bottom of the cake by making separate, even 3 holes with the tip. Make sure that there is sufficient space from each end of the cake. Each hole should be filled with about 1 tablespoon of filling. As an additional option, frost the flat side of the twink with a thin layer of the remaining filling. Pour the coconut or pecans evenly onto a flat plate and dip the frosted bottoms of the cake into the plate, coating the bottom.

Tips and Notes:

1. The perfect shape is hard to achieve. I had some cakes came cleanly out of the pan and some that did not. If your cake shrinks from the sides of the cavity when cooling, that is a good indicator that they will keep their shape. For no worries on this issue, cupcakes are the answer.

2. For filling, I preferred to use a skewer to make the holes at each end and piped from the sides and one hole in the bottom. The picture of the dessert did not show that there was a cake bottom, just a filling bottom sitting on the plate. This lead to my interpretation...cutting the sealed surface of the cake would expose the lighter crumb of the interior, making it victim to oozing filling.  I did not cut the cakes to have a flat surface.

3. Spreading the filling onto the cakes and dipping them makes for a better presentation and adds an additional flavor layer.  I kept mine basic to the original idea of a Twinkie and found it to be a good ratio of cake to filling.

4. Not ready for a big Twinks project? Try cupcakes instead for the same flavor, just without the cute shape.
                                       **LAST YEAR: Spiced Honey Pecan Fingers**