I debated posting this recipe. It has a million steps, it is not easy, and I’m not even thrilled with the way it came out (even though it tastes wonderful). But, sometimes it is all about how you measure your own success. I can be hard on myself when things don’t come out how I imagined, so this is good therapy for me, I think. To show that something can be a success and worth sharing even when it is not perfect. Plus, I didn’t want to waste a kind of awesome blog title.
Remember eating Hostess HoHo’s as a kid?
Image from here.
Or maybe you were partial to the Little Debbie version instead?
Image from here.
These cakes are also called yodels and I found a great grown-up version to share from Food and Wine, contributed by Sue McCown. While you’re there, can you find the typo? It drives me crazy! Like I said, I think there are some serious shortcomings with this recipe (and may very well be due to human error), but I’m going to share anyway.
- 5 eggs
- 3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa (plus additional for dusting)
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup and 2 tbsp. white sugar
- 1 1/4 cups and 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. full-fat sour cream
- Pinch of salt
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped or chips
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Whew, that is a lot.
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter two 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 jelly rolls pans and put parchment paper in the bottom. Make sure you butter the paper and dust with flour.
I think this was my first mistake. I thought I buttered and floured the heck out of my pans, but had severe problems with the cake sticking. I would err on the side of too much butter and flour to ensure an easy release. If you have any cake release around, I would try that too. I wish I had tried it!
2. With an electric mixer, beat 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar and 5 egg whites until soft peaks form:
Then, add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and beat until “stiff and glossy.”
3. I another bowl, beat 5 egg yolks for two minutes. They will become a pale yellow:
Add the all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons of cocoa, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix until just combined. Make sure you mix on the lowest setting or you will be covered in flour and cocoa!
Beat in about 1/4 of the egg white mixture.
Fold in the rest until you don’t see anymore white streaks.
Spread the batter into your prepared pans.
The recipe stated that the cakes should be baked for about 6 minutes, but the cake didn’t even look close to done to me. So, I baked them for about 1 1/2 or 2 more minutes. I think I should have baked them for even longer!
I then put the pans on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes.
4. Take a knife misted with a little cooking spray and run it around the edge of the cake to release the edges. Dust the cakes with cocoa powder and invert the cakes on a piece of wax paper.
Cover the cakes with saran wrap.
5. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons boiling water with 2 tablespoons of white sugar and mix, mix, mix until the sugar is dissolved (there should be no grittiness). Set aside to cool.
6. In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 3 tablespoons of water and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally for about 6 minutes.
My mixture looked like this for sometime and I never thought it would achieve the “amber” color I needed. Then, all of a sudden, it was amber! It happens quite quickly, so be ready to remove the pan from heat as soon as that deep amber color is achieved.
After the pan is removed from the heat, add 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons heavy cream and the unsalted butter until combined. Then, cook the pan on high heat for just one minute. It should look something like this:
Mmmm…sweet, sweet caramel! Let it cool.
7. In another bowl (jeez, that is a lot of bowls!), beat 1 cup of heavy cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in the sour cream and salt until stuff peaks form (not soft peaks!). Fold in the cooled caramel sauce and then put in the refrigerate.
8. Peel off the parchment paper from the cakes. Now, this is where things got tricky for me! Despite following the directions, my cakes were very sticky and peeling off the paper was ripping them. It was a nightmare! As I mentioned earlier, I would use a mountain of cake release to prevent this from happening, and maybe cook the cakes a little longer. Given how moist the cakes were, I don’t think it would dry it out too much and may make the cakes a bit more firm and easier to work with.
Once you have wrestled the paper from the cakes, brush the cakes with the cooled sugar and water mixture. Spread the caramel cream in a thin layer:
Since my cakes were so crazy sticky, I also had trouble with the next step, which is rolling up the cake from the longest side. I couldn’t make a very tight roll because the cake kept tearing. I was able to get a pretty pathetic looking roll! Definitely not pretty. Wrap up the rolls in wax paper and freeze them for a couple hours.
9. Melt the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate in the microwave. Add in the vegetable oil. Take the rolls out of the freezer, and cut each “log” into 5 pieces. Dip the rolls into the melted chocolate to coat. Or, you can put them on wire racks and drizzle the chocolate over them to cover. Whatever works best for you. Then, let them chill to harden the chocolate.
So, here’s to the imperfect attempts. They can be messy, frustrating, and not very pretty…
But, it’s all about the “Mmmmmmm!”