Monday, March 28, 2011

The Newborn Twinkie-Thingies; Home Made Twinkies and Zingers

So this is a project that I’ve been literally dreaming of for weeks now, ever since I found the “Homemade Top Tarts” recipe on (yes, its spelled correctly). It seems I am now on a “make it myself” kick and just can’t seem to get over it. My family is loving it, my hips aren’t. Thus the yogurt sitting in front of me as I type and the gym membership. Damn slow metabolism!

Anyway, back to the Twinkies. So my recipe does not taste exactly like Twinkies, but that is totally fine with me since I find Twinkies to be a little . . . well, let’s just throw it out there: dry. Yes, I said it, they are dry and stiff and I don’t really like the consistency. In my version, I’ve used the ever dreaded cake mix and added pudding to give it a more dense texture. The end result was a nice cake that floats somewhere between pound cake and regular cake and holds up surprisingly well to the filling. And yes, they are much, much, much better than store-bought Twinkies if I do say so myself.

I actually made two different types of Twinkies with this recipe – If anyone remembers and loves the (Hostess) Dolly Madison Raspberry Zingers, you’re going to love this recipe. This has the great flavor of the Zinger without the added chemicals and other yucky stuff. And the taste is absolutely amazing! These will be my downfall. Guaranteed.
Hostess's Dolly Madison Raspberry Zingers
Home Made Flingers

The first step is to get the pan ready. You can buy a Twinkie pan; which is what I would suggest if you are going to be making these any more than once in your life – making the forms was not hard at all, but tedious. For those of you that know me, I can’t really sit still for very long without having to do something different. It’s the A.D.D. in me. I’m o.k. with that.

As you can see, I’ve taken a piece of regular aluminum foil that measures slightly longer than a 9 x 13 cake pan. Folded it in half lengthwise, then in half again widthwise, creating a square piece of foil.

Place the container in the middle, bend up the ends, bend up the sides, pinch the corners, fold in and fold down the long sides to make a “boat.”

At this point you will want to remove the container, and pinch the creases where you can see the outline of the round cover to create a more rounded end. Use you own judgment here get the boat into the Twinkie shape as close as you can.

Once all my boats were made (I ended up with 16), I placed 11 of them in the pan for the first round and baked off the others after that. Using a 1.5 oz. scoop, I placed one full scoop and one half scoop into each container (Yes, that is 2.25 oz. per boat, but I don’t have a scoop that size. My bad.)

Once the boats are filled with the batter, use a spreader or butter knife to push the batter to the edges. It doesn’t have to be completely flat, just mostly even.

Please, please, please do not forget to spray the boats with a non-stick baking spray. This stuff is amazing: 

Trust me. Use it, love it, thank me later.

Place the pan in a preheated 325° oven for about 11 – 15 minutes. You have to keep an eye on them just like you would cupcakes. If you can smell them, they are most likely done. Pull them out of the oven and let them set for 10 minutes. This allows them to set up a bit and they are easier to remove from their little foil jackets. Place them on a wire rack to cool and make the remaining cakes.

While the cakes are baking, you can make the frosting and get the other ingredients ready if you are making the Zingers. Place the butter, shortening, and vanilla in a mixer bowl and beat on medium until creamy. Add the powdered sugar and, starting on the lowest speed, mix until the frosting comes together. It will go through a stage of looking like a crumbly mess, but you will get past this stage fairly quickly. Don’t freak -  you haven’t screwed anything up.

Turn the mixer on high and get the frosting light and airy, scraping the sides once to incorporate everything; probably about 3 minutes or so is all you will need. Then you can add the marshmallow cream. Good stuff that. Yummmmm. 
Whip the mixture again until everything is incorporated and looking light, fluffy, and like you just want to stick your head in the bowl and . . . sorry. Just mix it.

Raspberry Zingers have a raspberry coating on the outside and a layer of coconut over that. This is what makes them little bits of bliss. After you make the frosting, mix the boiling water and the raspberry Jell-O until dissolved and set aside to cool and congeal slightly. Putting it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes accomplishes this.

To prepare the coconut, place it in a food processor and pulse until you have tiny bits of coconut. It will be sticky, but that’s o.k. Add the bit of cornstarch and mix well (Do not do this in the processor, do it after the coconut is removed). This gives it the workable consistency you need to roll the Zingers.
This is what it will look like after adding the cornstarch.
After the cakes have cooled completely, gently cut a small slit in the top side (which will then be the bottom side) of the Twinkies about half way through and to just about ¾ inch from the ends. Fill a frosting bag with the yummy marshmallow goodness and start to pipe the filling into the Twinkies, holding a bit firmly so they don’t blow apart from all the stuffing you are piping in. I can’t really say how much filling to put in – it’s kind of a personal taste kind of thing, but I put quite a bit. I used the whole recipe of filling for the 16 Twinkies.

If you are making the regular Twinkies, you are done.
 Pop that little sucker in your mouth and experience the joy of sweet madness. But if you are on to more wonderful and amazing things that will completely rock your world (exaggerating just a bit), continue as such: After they are filled, roll the Twinkie in the Jell-O, covering all sides and ends, then roll in the coconut, covering completely, then set on the rack again to set and “cure” for at least two hours.
Yes, I DO have a messy counter. It's part of being so creative.
(Insert raucous laughter here)

Congratulations – you have just created awesomeness!


For cakes:
1 (18.25 oz.) box yellow cake mix
3 whole eggs
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 c. water
1 (5.1 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix

½ c. butter, room temperature
½ c. shortening, room temperature
1 t. vanilla
¼ t. salt
3 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 (7 oz.) container marshmallow fluff

For Zingers:
1 (3oz.) pkg. raspberry Jell-O
2 c. boiling water
2 c. shredded sweetened flake coconut
2 - 3 T. cornstarch

16 Twinkie “boats,” prepared with non-stick baking spray.

Make Cakes:
In mixer bowl mix eggs, oil, and water until combined. Add cake mix and blend for two minutes on medium speed. Blend in pudding mix on medium for an additional 3 minutes until smooth.
Place 2.25 oz. of batter into each “boat” and bake at 325° for 11-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. (Baking cakes at a lower temperature for a longer period of time reduces the “bump” in the middle of the cake). Cool completely.

Make Frosting:
Combine butter, shortening, vanilla, and salt in mixer bowl and blend on medium high for about 3 minutes or until mixture comes together and becomes creamy with no lumps. Add confectioner’s sugar and starting on low speed and gradually increasing to high, blend until light and airy. Add marshmallow fluff and blend on high until once again light and airy.

For Zingers:
Boil water, add Jell-O and stir to combine. Place in refrigerator for 15 – 30 minutes or until thick but not set.
Place coconut flakes in food processor and pulse until flakes are very small. Dump into a dish and add cornstarch, starting with 2 T. and increasing if necessary to get a nice loose texture.

For Twinkies:
With a knife, cut a small slit in the top side of the cake. Using an icing bag, pipe a good amount of filling into the cavity, holding the shape of the cake with your hand to prevent splitting. Once filled, place cut side down on the cooling rack and continue to fill remaining cakes.

For Zingers:
Fill cakes as for Twinkies. Once that is completed, place the prepared Jell-O into a low baking dish or other container and roll the cake to cover completely. Move somewhat quickly to avoid completely soaking the cake. Placing the coconut in a similar dish, immediately roll the cake in the prepared coconut and place on the rack to set for approximately 2 hours. This lets the cake settle and “cure” for a bit.


  1. Oh I am so glad you linked this to
    "Made it on Monday" @ Lark's Country Heart.

    Is there drool on the side of my mouth? (lol)
    Oh I soooooo want one of these, BIG TIME!

    YUM! :)

  2. Oh and I am your 2nd follower...WAHOO!

  3. Mmmmm...I love those Raspberry Zingers! Thank you for posting this great recipe! I am #4 follower!

  4. You did such an amazing job making these. They look totally delicious. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link your zingers up.

  5. Congrats! You made my TOP 3 pick, on
    Made it on Monday! :)

    Please get in contact with me..this was a "prize" week..YAHOO! :)

  6. Those look so amazing! My son is recently addicted to twinkies and has been asking if we could make them at home, and now I have my inspiration to actually make them!!!

  7. I'm so glad everyone is enjoying them so much! If you make them, come on back and post how it went and if they are as good as you hoped! :)

  8. Yum, these look great! Not sure if I am patient enough to make the boats, I suppose I could just make them in a cupcake shape?

  9. Aimee - these would work beautifully in a cupcake form. It's fun to do them in the original shape, but if I were to need them in a pinch, I would certainly use a cupcake tin instead.

  10. Wow! These look amazing! Very creative and impressive!

  11. Hi there! I write for, and we'd love to feature your homemade raspberry zinger photo in a photo roundup we'll be publishing this week. We'd provide a photo credit and link back to your scrumptious recipe, if that sounds ok to you. Thank you in advance!

  12. I just made my first batch, I did not know how to pipe. I made 10 and had to use muffin tins for the rest. The cake was great! I do not like the sugary filling but it is exactly like the twinkies, that I never liked but the cake is soooo good. My daughter and her college friends get the rest and they are wrapped in saran wrap and in the fridge. People are going nuts, with the closure of Hostess. I'm sharing your recipe link Facebook to my friends asking for it. Thank you!!!!

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