I have a bit of an obsession with packaged snack cakes. My three favorites are Yodels, Hostess Cup Cakes and Chocodiles. Chocodiles, which were a staple for me from 4th through 9th grade, are chocolate-covered Twinkies. They used to be available at every corner deli here in Manhattan for only 25 cents a piece. I always thought they were as ubiquitous as Twinkies, but I learned in college that Chocodiles were a rare thing to come by. Nowadays, I never see them in stores, but—hallelujah!—you can now buy them online at freshchocodiles.com. Having said that, I am also thrilled to come across Yodels and Hostess Cup Cakes, and I managed to convince our editor-in-chief (who shares my guilty pleasure in cheapo snack cakes) to publish recipes for some great, real versions of these treats (read: no hydrogenated fats). From pastry chef Nicole Kaplan, who has taken up a new post at Del Posto here in Manhattan, we got a recipe for excellent chocolate cupcakes with cream filling a la Hostess Cup Cakes; and from Sue McCown, who just opened her own place in Seattle called Coco-La-Ti-Da, a recipe for homemade Yodels.
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