Making Twinkie Twins was a fun experience, but I was surprised at the comments. I had no idea that Hostess products were US only. I guess I had a hazy picture in my mind of stadiums around the globe filled with rabid soccer, excuse me, football fans with a Coke in one hand and a Twinkie in the other. OK, you probably are guessing that I am not a big traveler and that I don't spend a lot of time at sporting events of any kind. That's true. I'd rather be in the kitchen.
Anyway, back to the cakes. My husband was pleased with the Twinkies but then got a little downcast as I moved on to other baking projects. "Aren't you going to do Ding Dongs?" he asked with Bambi eyes. For some reason he loves Ding Dongs. I think it's the nostalgic fondness you can have for childhood foods that clouds your adult reasoning. I can think of no other reason why anyone would buy them. The cream filling tastes like shortening and the chocolate coating tastes like wax. A treat? I think not.
So I set about creating a wax-, shortening-, and additive-free version of Ding Dongs. I used Dorie Greenspan's Baking to make a fabulous dense, rich Devil's Food cake. I had Bavarian Cream left over from the Twinkie Twins, so I filled with that, and then covered it all in a bittersweet glaze. Each bite is intensely chocolatey, from the cake to the glaze to the chips studding the cake, and the cream gives it a nice, mellow counterpoint. Two forks up for this beauty!
Devil's Food Cake
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 sticks (10 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup boiling water
4 oz. semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
1- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. Butter two 8 x 2 inch round cake pans, dust hte insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
2 - Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3 - In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugars and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate. When it's fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk in 3 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
4 - Mix in the boiling water. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with the rubber spatula.
5 - Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. (I used a cake tester.) Transfer the pans to a cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
6 - While cooling, make bittersweet glaze (recipe below)
7 - When cooled, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to slice each layer horizontally in half.
8 - Place the single layers on a baking sheet and cut into circles, using either a cookie cutter or, as I did, a tuna can with both ends cut off. (Wash thoroughly!) I got 3 circles out of a cake layer. If you used a smaller cutter you might be able to get 4.
9 - Onto a round cut from the bottom half, spread a generous layer of Bavarian Cream then place a round cut from the top half on top of the cream.
10 - Spread the cooled glaze onto the top and sides of the cake. Place into the refrigerator to firm up. Because of the Bavarian Cream, these should be stored in the refrigerator. Garnish as desired.
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream, sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat, pour the cream over the chocolate and wait 1 minute, then whisk very gently, in ever-increasing circles, until the chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Leave the glaze at room temperature until it is thick, but still pourable, a state it may take up to 4 hours to reach.
I waited a bit too long, I think. I waited almost the full 4 hours and my glaze has more of a frosting consistency. But it's still delicious!