Twinkie Cupcakes

Twinkie Cupcakes
Twinkies are a pop culture icon, as well as a snack cake. They’re something that everyone can recognize, even if your mom never packed one of the cream filled sponge cakes in your lunchbox when you were a kid. I remember having them as an occasional treat at lunch (usually when I managed to trade snacks with a friend whose mom packed unhealthier treats in their lunch) and getting excited about the occasional indulgence. Unfortunately, Twinkies are treats that definitely tasted better as a kid, as adults tend to notice that Twinkies, although chock full of nostalgia, are not exactly packed with flavor. I like the nostalgia of a Twinkie and wanted to make a homemade version that lived up to the memory of that school snack, and that led me to put together these homemade Twinkie Cupcakes.

My cupcakes are made with a light vanilla cake that is moister and has more flavor to it than the sponge cake that is part of the original snack cake. They have a good butter and vanilla flavor, and a tight but soft crumb. Although there are Twinkie-style cake pans on the market, I decided to bake these in regular muffin pans, that no special equipment is needed for these snack cakes. I hollowed out the baked cupcakes using the cone method, which creates a big space for a generous amount of filling, and piped in real vanilla bean buttercream. The buttercream is much richer than the filling that you would ordinarily find in a Twinkie, with a lot of butter and vanilla flavor that pairs well with the surrounding cake.

Are they true to the original Twinkie? I will be the first to admit that these are not meant to be clones of the snack cake. But they are based on the same idea as the original snack cake and they taste a whole lot better than “real” Twinkies do.

Twinkies don’t have any frosting, but I finished these off with a generous dollop of buttercream. This ensures that you get some “cream filling” with every bite of your cake and gives the cupcakes a lovely finished look. The cakes won’t keep as long as their packaged counterparts, but they will stay fresh and moist when stored in an airtight container for a few days after baking.

Twinkie Cupcake, cream filling

Twinkie Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 large egg whites
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

1 batch Real Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg whites, one at a time until batter is smooth, then beat on high speed until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Beat in egg yolk and vegetable oil.
Stir half of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, followed by the milk and vanilla extract. Stir in remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until no streaks of flour remain.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cupcake comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool completely on a wire rack before filling and frosting.

Assembly: When cupcakes have cooled, fill the cupcakes. Take a small, sharp paring knife and cut a triangular cone out of the top of the cupcake, about 1-inch in diameter. The larger your cone, the more room you will have for filling. Cut off the base of the cone (which was the top of the cupcake), creating a circle of cake, and set aside. Discard the rest of the cake cone (or eat).
Fill a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off with Vanilla Bean Buttercream. Pipe into the hollow cupcakes and replace the circle of cake on top to seal the filling in. Repeat with all cakes. When all the cakes have been filled, generously pipe the remaining frosting on top of the cupcakes.

10 comments

  1. Awesome! I love the old twinkies, not so much the new ones. I taste a bit of a difference and they are a bit smaller. These cupcakes look yummy!

  2. Hooray for twinkie cupcakes! Oddly I don’t really ever crave a real twinkie, but homemade variations like this are always fun.

  3. I love this idea! What differentiates these from a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting? Regardless, it looks a hella lot better than a real twinkie!

  4. Heather – These cupcakes are a little bit spongier, a little more like a chiffon cake than a plain yellow cupcake, so they have a slightly different texture that is more reminiscent of a Twinkie. The buttercream is buttercream – but it definitely tastes a lot better than your average Twinkie filling!

  5. Can’t wait to try out this recipe, I just love plain vanilla cupcakes made the easiest way!! I have never tried this Twinkie cupcakes but I sure am looking forward to making these. Love the use of pictures as well, always much easier to make something when you can look at the pictures first!

  6. This cupcake look so tasty with all the cream on it. The way that the author describe how he prepares it, make us want to go to a bakery a buy a dozen of them

  7. I’ve never really tried baking cupcakes but twinkie cupcake looks so good for my first try in baking! your ingredients and baking step-by-step are really helpful and being discussed in details. cant wait to try this out!

  8. Wow! I made my cupcakes and all of them were good! The ingredients and the steps to follow are so clear and straight forward that my first attempt was awesome! What about other flavours? Do i just need to replace the vanilla with another flavour? Great article, thanks for sharing!

  9. I have always wanted to bake cake without any assist, but then with the help of your step-by-step process I now have full confident on baking my own cup cake, thanks for sharing this process

  10. Awesome! this cupcake looks so melting an yummy . I always wanted bake a cupcake,but i think twinkie cupcake looks so good and easy for my first try to baking because with the help of your step from this article this is very helpful.thanks for sharing! This a great article

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