Monday, October 12, 2009

Vanilla Snack Cakes

Last week I noticed that the folks at King Arthur Flour held a snack-cake contest. They did a good job of selling me on the idea of trying a couple of new recipes! So, here's the first - a "twinkie" clone. I don't have the fancy "canoe" pan, and we were making these for fireside refreshments, so decided to make mini cupcakes instead.

Vanilla Snack Cakes
• 2 cups cake flour
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 3/4 cup cold water
• 7 unbeaten egg yolks
• 1 teaspoon Princess Cake and Cookie Flavoring for true snack cake taste OR 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 7 egg whites, beaten very stiff

1) Preheat the oven to 350º. Spritz a filled cake pan (aka cream canoe pan) with a light layer of cooking spray. Set aside.
2) Place all ingredients except beaten egg whites into a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth.
3) Working in thirds, fold the beaten egg whites into the batter. Take care to keep the batter light; fold, don't beat.
4) Fill each section of the snack cake pan 2/3 full. 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. [Makes 15-18 cupcakes – bake 15 minutes, or 96 mini cupcakes - bake 6-7 minutes.]
5) Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Using a flexible spatula, gently remove each cake and cool on a rack until completely cool. In the meantime, prepare the snack cake filling.

Snack Cake Filling
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 4 tablespoons salted butter
• 4 tablespoons shortening
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• dash of salt (optional)

6) 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.
7)In 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.
8) 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. Store cakes well covered at room temperature for up to 4 days. I did a half-batch of the cake batter (for 48 mini cupcakes), yet used the full recipe for the filling. We ran out of time so used the "filling" to frost what we took to the fireside. Afterwards, we got out the pastry bag and piped the filling into the centers of the remaining cupcakes, experimenting with whether the holes should be on the top or the bottom. I decided I liked the top, ending with a little swirl.

Go here to see more detailed pictures and instructions!

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