Monday, August 13, 2012

Homemade Shortcut Twinkies and My Dad


My dad has been visiting us this past week. I know what you're thinking...Have we ever been without company this summer?!

Oh, wait, maybe I was just thinking that.

Anyway, It's been busy, but my dad has officially capped us off and is our last guest of the summer.

He flew in to the airport 25 minutes from our house at 10:41pm on a Monday night, so it was super convenient for us to go and pick him up (insert sarcasm here). We also missed his flight on the way home so he stayed an extra day while I coordinated his next flight home. That was fun. (insert more sarcasm here)

He also came with two additional tattoos. He has had a tattoo of Isabella's name (his first granddaughter) on his forearm. He was very proper and got her full name.

Isabella Victoria Burgos.

Then, I got married to Jeremy, who legally adopted Isabella and both our last names were changed to MacGray.



And, he's always had my name tattooed on the inside of his right arm. He got this done when I was about 10 years old one night while intoxicated in Brazil. This explains why my middle name, Lynn, is misspelled with only one "n".

Double oops.


Did I mention how incredibly responsible and on top of it my father is?

All kidding aside, he came with the names of my other kids tattooed on his arm around Isabella's.  He called me on the phone from California after they got done. Then my dad dropped a bomb.

"I got the tattoos, and Olivia's looks great! I have to go back to the shop to have the guy fix Jeremiah's name though. The guy made the "a" in Jeremiah's name look like an "o", so it reads "Jer-O-miah"

My dad actually got a tattoo of Jeremiah's name spelled "Jer-A-miah"

My sons name is spelled "Jer-E-miah".

-silence on the phone-

It's okay, I mean, he spelled my (middle) name wrong too. It's only fitting.

"Well, the longer I look at it, the "A" looks more like an "E" than an "O", so we might be okay"

When he finally came and I saw the tattoo? It was totally spelled right. I'm still not sure what happened. I won't even ask.


My Dad, Me and My mom

This is a classic story. Before you think my dad is a major dirtbag for not knowing how to spell the names of his grandchildren, let me explain. My dad has a bad brain injury. He was in a horrible car crash in Sao Paolo, Brazil when I was 13 and he was 30. The car he was traveling in tumbled down a revine. His friend Tyler died. My dad would have also had it not been for a doctor who happened to have been behind his car, witnessed the accident, and by chance, had a tracheotomy in the trunk which he used to save his life. A coma, brain damage, and many, many years of PT later, and my dad can't remember how to spell everyones name.

Sue him.


Now that our company has all gone home, we will enjoy one more weekend of summer bliss before shifting our focus to 'Back To School'. It seems too early to be doing this in a way, but I'm ready for it. Wasn't it just last week that I made homemade twinkies for Isabella to take to her end of the year class picnic? I couldn't have been months ago. My kid couldn't request something simple like cookies, she had to ask for twinkies. Not that they are hard (surprisingly easy) but they are more time consuming.


Homemade twinkies are delicious. I don't even like normal twinkies, but I could scarf the whole batch of this sweet, spongecake, creme filled goodness. I made them once a few summers ago and our friends, the Fieldings, flipped.

Like, OMG.

Melissa demanded that she know when I made them next and warned that I'd better save her one, or three or else. Her son, Reese, would come over and ask for weeks afterward if I happened to have any twinkies around. Sheesh- good luck with these lasting through the day you make them. They will be in very high demand, and you will be the most popular mother on the block. If you are lucky enough to have some leftovers, they freeze in Ziplock freezer bags very well. I don't know this from personal experience, of course, but the blog I sourced these from said so.

Rolling twinkies in simple syrup

These are "shortcut" twinkies because we start with a pre-made cake mix. Most times, I snub my nose at them (unless it's funfetti- because that stuff is G to the O to the O to the D) but in this case, it works perfectly. I happen to have a twinkie mold for reasons that beat me, but you don't need one becuase you can make your own! Wrap heavy duty aluminum foil around a spice jar to make a boat. It's that simple. And clean up? fogetaboutit.


These twinkies are very authentic. When the sponge cake has baked and is still warm, you roll it in simple syrup creating that sweet, slightly sticky layer over top. This also keeps them very moist. Don't skip that step, it's essential to getting it right. Just pipe the filling in the bottom and you are done! Don't have a piping bag? Use a ziplock bag with the end snipped off. Then, make sure you press that filling in forcefully. You'll feel the twinkie expanding on the sides. You'll know when to stop. Keep squeezing until you feel pressure.


Homemade Shortcut Twinkies
adapted from The Cooking Photographer
makes 16

Simple Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

Boil together in a small pot with a lid. Once mixture comes to a boil remove the lid and cook for three more minutes to ensure the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.


Crisco for greasing
4 egg whites
1 16-oz box of golden pound cake mix
2/3 cup of water

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a cream canoe pan with Crisco. (Butter doesn’t work as well here).

Beat the egg whites until stiff but not a solid mass. In a separate bowl combine the cake mix with water and beat until blended. Then, fold egg whites into the cake with a spatula then beat it with the hand mixer at the end until just combined.

Fill the molds half full of batter. Bake for around 22 to 23 minutes, or until the cakes are lightly golden brown around the edges (but light on top) and a toothpick comes out clean.

Run a toothpick around the cakes to loosen the sides. Dump the hot cakes onto parchment paper. Turn cakes upside down so the bottoms are now on top. Place some of the simple syrup into a wide shallow bowl and immediately roll the tops, sides, and ends of hot Twinkies in the syrup. Try not to get syrup on the bottoms. Fill with cream filling, below.

Repeat the process for second set of cakes. Be sure to grease the pan again.

Cream Filling
2 teaspoons very hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups marshmallow cream (or one 7 oz jar)
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 chopstick

To do the cream filling, first mix the salt into the bowl of hot water, and mix until the salt is dissolved. Let it cool.

Combine the marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a bowl and mix, preferably with an electric mixer or stand mixer on high, until fluffy.

Now pour the salt-water solution in and mix.

When the cakes are mainly cool, poke a hole into the bottom in three places like a Twinkie with a narrow ended chopstick. Move the chopstick around inside to make some room for filling. Then stick a pastry bag into the holes and press gently to fill.

Storing Twinkies
Store in a wax paper lined covered container for a few hours before serving. Twinkies need time for their outsides to get soft. Twinkies also freeze quite well after filling.


  1. Well for pete's sake. My waist line is hating you right now :)

    I heart your dad. Don't know the guy but he is pretty great. You are super blessed!

  2. Great post!! and these look so yummy!


  3. So this is funny but, Burgos is a family name on my mother's side. Who knew we had something else in common. Loved the story. :)