Homemade Twinkies

These homemade Twinkies rival the real deal from Hostess with their fluffy cream filling and sponge cake. Just like the ones from your childhood. But better.

Two homemade Twinkies, one broken in half to show the filling.

This homemade Twinkies recipe is my own riff on the Hostess Twinkie. I rely on my yellow sponge cake, coaxed into that familiar oblong shape via some creative tin-foil folding, and a seven-minute frosting that’s airy, meringue-y, and reliably sweet as a cream filling. And I cram as much filling in the sponge cakes as I can contain without the cakes exploding. Which is sorta surprising seeing as I’ve never cultivated even a meager appreciation, let alone anything resembling the requisite reverence, for the snack cake. I’m just not that into them. Still, I find the moist, flavorful crumb and gobsmackingly sweet, fluffy filling of this divine little ditty outright irresistible. Especially when eaten slightly warm—something I can assure you will never happen with a Twinkie straight from the wrapper. Originally published April 5, 2011.Erin Carlman Weber

Homemade Twinkies

  • Quick Glance
  • (5)
  • 50 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Makes 12 Twinkie look-alikes
5/5 - 5 reviews
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Special Equipment: Twinkie mold OR spice jars; chopstick; piping bag or gun


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Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position.

To make your shiny, single-use Twinkie molds, start with a piece of aluminum foil, preferably heavy-duty, that’s approximately 14 inches long. It should be just a little longer than it is wide. Fold the foil in half lengthwise, then fold it in half again to create a rectangle that’s about 6 inches long and 7 inches wide. Repeat to make a dozen rectangles.

Place 1 sheet of folded foil on your work surface, with the long side facing you. Place a standard-size plastic or glass spice jar on its side in the center of the foil, the jar’s long side also facing you. Bring the long sides of the foil up around the jar. The foil won’t reach all the way around, and that’s okay. Fold the foil in around both top and bottom ends of the spice jar, nice and tight. You’ll end up with a sort of trough situation. (Cookbook author Todd Wilbur has a video of the process here; if you’re impatient, fast forward to 1:10, where the action starts.) Repeat until you have 12 foil Twinkie molds. Spritz the molds with an obscenely generous amount of nonstick spray or use your fingertips to coat the molds with vegetable oil. Place the Twinkie molds on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan.

Whisk the flours, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.

Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter melts. Remove from the heat add the vanilla. Cover to keep warm.

Separate the eggs, placing the whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or, if using a hand mixer or whisk, a large mixing bowl) and reserving the yolks in another bowl. Beat the whites on high speed until foamy. Gradually add 6 tablespoons of the sugar and the cream of tartar and continue to beat until the whites reach soft, moist peaks.

Transfer the beaten egg whites to a large bowl and add the egg yolks to the standing mixer bowl—there’s no need to clean the bowl (or, if using a hand mixer or whisk, simply place the egg yolks in a separate large bowl). Beat the egg yolks with the remaining 6 tablespoons sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is very thick and a pale lemon color, about 5 minutes. Add the beaten egg whites to the yolks, but do not mix.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg whites and then mix everything on low speed for just 10 seconds (or, if using a hand mixer or whisk, until blended but not thoroughly combined). Remove the bowl from the mixer, make a well in one side of the batter, and pour the melted butter mixture into the bowl. Fold gently with a large rubber spatula until the batter shows no trace of flour and the whites and yolks are evenly mixed, about 8 strokes.

Immediately scrape the batter into the prepared molds, filling each with about 3/4 inch batter. Bake until the cake tops are light brown and feel firm and spring back when touched, 13 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pan containing the molds to a wire rack and allow the cakes to cool in the molds.

Just before filling, remove each cake from the foil. Using the end of a chopstick, poke three holes in the bottom of each cake, just like in the bottom of real Twinkies. Wiggle the tip of the chopstick around quite a lot to make room for the filling. (Again, you can see this in action here, beginning at minute 3.)

Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fit with a small tip about 1/4 inch across. Pipe the frosting into the holes you created in the bottom of the cakes. As you fill each cake, hold it in your palm and gently exert pressure on it so you can feel the cake expand, taking care not to overfill the cake, which would make it crack.

Unlike real Twinkies, these won’t last indefinitely. They’re best served still slightly warm.

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    Twinkies Cupcake Variation

    • You could bypass the whole arts-and-craft moment of jury-rigging oblong baking molds out of aluminum foil and instead make do with a standard muffin or cupcake tin, in which case you’d divvy the batter among the tin to make a dozen cupcakes, tweaking the baking time to 13 to 17 minutes and slathering the cooled muffins with the Seven-Minute Frosting. This approach will suffice only if you don’t mind a squat cupcake that’s sort of like a blond Hostess snack cake (minus the squiggle of icing on top, natch).

    Recipe Testers Reviews

    These homemade Twinkies were so much fun to make and eat. I took the easy way out and made them into muffins instead of the traditional Twinkie shape. I also made them gluten-free. The results were delightfully tasty, although not quite the way I remembered Twinkies tasting—but then, it’s been a long while. The sponge cake was light and airy and the filling was delightful. The batter had to be spooned, not poured, into the muffin cups, as it was too thick for pouring. Since I converted this batter to gluten-free, I can’t say if this is typical of the regular version. The baking time was also a bit longer for me at 20 minutes. To fill these, I inserted a pastry tip into the bottom of the cupcake. These disappeared quickly and all were delighted and happy to eat them.

    Even if you don’t like Twinkies, this homemade Twinkies recipe is a keeper for the sponge cake alone. It was easy to make, tasted great, and I can see using it in other recipes in the future. I poured the batter into a muffin tin. The filling came together in about 3 minutes, although I beat it for the full 5 minutes to see what would happen. While the filling got somewhat chunkier, it didn’t affect the final texture when piped into the cake. There was more than enough filling, and it could have been reduced by a third. I also had leftover cake batter after filling my tin, so I poured the remaining batter into a couple bouchon molds, which served as a nice approximation to the Twinkie shape.

    This homemade Twinkies recipe makes one of the best sponge cake recipes I’ve tried. It’s fantastic because it’s light, yet really moist. The 7-minute frosting is quite easy to make and works as a mock-Twinkie filling. Overall, Twinkies are much, much sweeter, and less spongy, than these homemade Twinkies. My kids preferred these plain, with no filling, whereas I preferred them with a jam filling and a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar, much like my mother’s jelly rolls. Delicious! I’d make the sponge cake again (and again and again) because it was fabulous. I also would use it for tiramisu.


    #leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


        1. I found my Twinkie pan at a Goodwill near St.Paul, Mn. It is an actual ” Hostess Twinkie” pan with 8 Twinkie mold shapes. I only paid $5.99. I know eBay had them a while ago.

    1. So My boyfriend said he had heard of someone making these which put me onto the task of doing it myself. I started baking this morning around 7 am. It is now 6:30 PM and I’m still making Twinkies. I literally went through 4 recipes before finding this last one. Each of them failed in it’s attempts to recreate the “perfect” Twinkie texture (which we all know is like the “it” thing about Twinkies) I was done and over the whole Twinkie thing but decided to try one last recipe.


      LeitesCulinaria’s recipe is THE one to do if you want TRUE Twinkie goodness. It is amazing and delicious. Light, spongy and oh so Twinkie!!!

      Thanks guys, I’m glad I didn’t give up.

      1. Well, first, I admire your fortitude, Denise. Five recipes–not sure I could do all of that for love!! I’m delighted you found the winner in our version. May your boyfriend be swimming in Twinkies for years to come.

    2. I made this yesterday for my boyfriend who loves Twinkies, and I’ve never had one. Recipe turned out brilliantly and I made them gluten free. My only question is, when we are done today all the filling had been absorbed into the cake. Is there a way to stop this from happening, besides eating them the same day? Haha.

      1. Shelly, so happy they turned out well. I haven’t heard of that happening. I don’t know if the gluten-free flours might have affected it. That could be part of the issue. Be that as it may, these are a fancy-dancy version of American junk food. Because the filling has no stabilizers and preservatives, its 15 minutes of fame is short lived. So treat them as you would fancy French pastries: Fill them right before serving.

        1. Thanks David, I’ll try that next time! This was a surprise for when I picked him up at the airport, it was just too late and a long travel day for him to try them that night. The cake part turned out amazingly light and airy, as it would with regular flour. So I thought it was because the cake was so light. This won’t be the last time I make these, and the pan has been ordered so I don’t have to make the molds lol.

    3. It’s really just 1/2c cake flour and only 1/4c of all purpose flour? It seems like that isn’t enough for make 12 twinkies.

      1. S, it does seem like a small amount of flour, doesn’t it? But the amounts are correct. The batter is actually very light and airy thanks to the addition of beaten egg whites which lend quite a lot of volume. So the resulting cake, too, is light and airy, not dense at all, as a result of the relatively minimal amount of flour. Does that make sense? Rest assured, we tested the recipe with the amounts you see in the recipe above.

    4. Do you have any idea how long these will keep? I was going to make them Thursday and hand them out Saturday. Should I keep them refrigerated? Thank you

    5. Hi, I finally made the Twinkies tonight. It was a lot of work, making the molds, the cakes, and then the filling. The warm eggs wouldn’t separate, after waiting for them to be room temp. I had to get some cold eggs that did, and wait for them to warm up.

      If I made this in a baking pan and then cut the cake into small oblong shapes, that would be easier. What size cake pan should I use?

      What I really want to do is make shark cupcakes, which call Twinkies. I would just cut them and round one end with scissors/frosting.

      Thank you.

      PS. we don’t eat pork, so this is my way of trying Twinkies. (They contain lard!)

        1. Hi David, no–what size pan should I use? I measured the 12 Twinkies. They would take up an 8 1/2″ x 11″ pan for all 12. That’s the volume. If I use a 7 x 11″ pan, the volume is les than 77 inches, isn’t it? I want the right height. also.

          The dimensions I get are 4 1/2″ length, 2″ wide, average 1 1/2″ depth. The advantage of doing them all in a pan and then cutting to oblong size would be that they would all be same depth. I didn’t get the rounded edges doing it in the molds, anyways

          Do you know how many cups of batter in this recipe? That might help.

          One thing I like about this recipe is that there’s very little cake flour. I was able to sub bleached flour and cornstarch. Your other giant Twinkie recipe is all cake flour.

          THANK YOU

    6. I’ll have to try these but I do have concern. I’m older, mid 50’s in fact, when I was a kid the Twinkie tasted different. It was awesome. The filling however, was not “frosting” but a light delicate cream and there was more of it than the later version. When I got older, that seemed to change. Butterfrosting wouldn’t do, too heavy, too sweet. Also, the cupcakes had a frosting on top that had a much better chocolate frosting, later years, it tasted like wax and they used less of the same cream filling. The price went up, the quality down. Sad, but it’s why myself and those I know stopped buying the product. I hope they reinstate the earlier recipes.

        1. Thanks Beth ! Love the Bundt cake angle, never thought of it but so easy and was looking for a new recipe for my Bundt cake pan..this is Great, Thank You !

    7. Does anyone have a report on the cake as a jelly roll? My husband’s favorite dessert was a Twinkie cake at a restaurant that is no longer open in Denver called 975. They used to make a jelly roll and roll it up around the cream filling. His birthday is Friday, so I thought I might try to do a mimic with the recipe, just changing the shape. Would love to hear if the cake is happy and crack free as a large sheet!

    8. For anyone who wants to invest, the Twinkie Pan is the best way to get the original shape we’re used to. However, when you get the pan, the insert states that it is not designed to be an exact replica for the shape of a Twinkie, and the recipes included will not result in a true Twinkie. To test it, I put a real Twinkie in the pan hollow, and it’s true, the pan is both deeper and longer than a real Twinkie. But still, I think I’ll rock if I use your recipe and their pan!

    9. I made these tonight and all I can say is WOW! These are fantastic. This recipe rocks. Thanks for sharing!

    10. Two comments:
      1. In Canada, Twinkies are made by a different company and will not be affected by Hostess’s problems. Get ’em here folks – from Canada, I mean.

      2. My doctor showed a film comparing pure chocolate to Twinkies. A high-temperature torch (like that used to cut through steel) was applied to the chocolate, which melted and then evaporated. When the torch was applied to the Twinkie, nothing happened. The Twinkie was unaffected by the heat of the torch. Digestion requires a process similar to heat to absorb nutrients from food. Therefore, one can conclude that no nourishment can be obtained from Twinkies. Many of you will acknowledge that but still consume Twinkies because “they taste good”.

      1. Thanks, kitblu.

        1. For those who need ’em, you know where to go.

        2. I can guarantee that a torch put to our Twinkie would incinerate it in a millisecond. Nothing but homemade goodness.

      1. Rachel, we never picked up the lilt of lemon in Twinkies. Just a slightly chemical smack. Anyone else think they detected lemon? Of course, if you wish you could add some very finely grated lemon zest to the sponge cake batter….

    11. I’m with you on never being a fan of Twinkies. It’s the waxiness of that filling. Ick! I find the same with most Hostess and Little Debbie Snacks. I would LOVE to make these for the fam as a farewell to a childhood classic! I never bought them as an adult, but I do remember scarfing down those chocolate cupcakes and Sno Balls while my sister—very loyal to her Twinkies—looked over with a smile as we thanked Mom for our sweet treats. Let’s not forget that we’re losing WonderBread too. How awful for everyone involved. Thanks for the recipe!

      1. You’re welcome, Jamie! And yes, these little snack cakes have inspired quite a large following over the decades…funny how things from our childhood just sorta stick with us that way.

    12. Only the good lord knows what is really in Hostess Twinkies. These look much better to eat. I cannot wait to make them. Thanks.

      1. Exactly, Warbaby. No multisyllabic ingredients here. We promise. Just a delicate sponge cake and a sweet seven-minute frosting-slash-filling. Do let us know what you think…!

    13. The author is not the only person in American who doesn’t like Twinkies. I’ve never liked them—-although I admit a bizarre craving now and then for Zingers, which aren’t all that different. Regardless of my unAmerican stance on Twinkies (and Oreos, which I also don’t understand the American fixation of), I’m sad that the labor dispute led to the loss of so many jobs. Now, if someone could come up with a good copycat for HoHos or the original McDonald’s fried cherry pies, they’d have my attention. Thanks.

      1. Renee, that’s what’s so wonderfully wacky about cravings—they’re just so darn unique and inexplicable. While we don’t have the actual McDonald’s recipe, you may wish to try this recipe for Homemade Pop Tarts, which I suspect may come close when hot out of the oven…?

        1. True, that!

          I saw that recipe last night and wondered if they would work deep-fried. I mean, if you’re going to eat junk, may as well go all the way and give up any pretense of virtue about it, right? It was the texture of the McD’s original pies that made them so addictive! I knew they were (technically) awful, but there was just something about them right out of the fryer….

          1. Oooh, I like the way you’re thinking…! You know, I do think that the Toaster Tarts recipe would work deep-fried. It’s not a terribly dense dough, so my hunch is the exterior would puff slightly and turn golden at about the same time the inner layers turn flakey, although I have yet to try it. Just be certain to seal the edges of the dough really well—perhaps even make fold the dough over so there’s one less potential leakage line? Renee, if you give it a whirl, by all means, let us know. In the meantime, I’ll be trying this shortly….

              1. Heh. I’ll be standing pie, I mean, by! (That was an actual typo, I swear. Darn subconscious…) Do let me know. I’m holding off on the pie. My husband may be getting toaster tarts instead for his bday…

    14. I have not tried the cake, it sounds great. Now the frosting, no. It is not 7-minute frosting inside those Twinkies. It is a creamy filling and it is far from 7-minute. I thank you for the cake, and will try it. I am 68 and I still eat them, lol. My fav cake!!

      1. Teresa, we look forward to hearing what you think! And of course you’re right, actual Twinkies do not contain Seven-Minute Frosting. But as we note above, we just sorta felt the need to make them a smidge more sophisticated, though to some that may seem heresy. Do let us know what you think…

    15. With all the news and drama over Hostess’ demise, I made these tonight! Thanks for the recipe. They turned out nice, the filling a bit too sweet. Cute.

      Homemade Twinkies

    16. On the TV they can’t stop talking about the end of the Twinkie, the plant is shutting down or going out of business. It is hard to believe that Twinkies will be no more. BUT with this wonderful recipe they don’t have to be.

      1. Our thoughts exactly, Teresa. And minus all those multisyllabic preservatives. All triviality aside, though, our thoughts are with the thousands who are newly without jobs as a result of Hostess’s demise.

    17. Would this be a good cake to use for a jelly roll? If so should I make any adjustment in the amount of cake batter? I can’t tell if this would fill a jelly roll pan.

      1. Hi Patty, proportion wise, the yield of this recipe should be fine in a jelly roll pan. It is, however, a bit wetter than a normal jelly roll batter. If you give it a try, please let us know. We’re curious.

    18. Wow. this recipe looks (and sounds) delicious, in fact I plan on making into a Sunday breakfast for my family. ^_^

    19. I guess the fact that the recipe was for a sponge cake should’ve been a red flag since I detest it. I guess I thought it would somehow taste different, haha. It was easy to make but, yeah, it definitely doesn’t taste like a twinkie. I do think the filling is NOM, though, so at least this wasn’t a total loss :)

      1. karen, I tried emailing you to go deeper into your experience with the recipe and perhaps to suggest something else, but Gmail says your account doesn’t exist.

        I’m so terribly sorry you didn’t like the recipe. We were aiming for a gourmet version, if you will, by not using any trans fats or artificial flavors and ingredients. I’m glad that the filling was nom. I hope you won’t hold this against us?!

        Have you tried the Sno-Balls recipe? I developed that, and I think it’s better than the original.

    20. I’m with Erin. I was never enticed by a Twinkie and once I traded for one in the school cafeteria, I was unimpressed. They had no icing, no squiggle and the filling was gross (I’m using my kid words here). My mom wouldn’t buy any of the store bought sweets except (a brand called) Mothers Oatmeal Cookies and Ginger Snaps. Another yuck. Is that child neglect? It felt like it ;) Hope you don’t mind my using the sponge cake recipe to make a Boston Cream Pie. Now, that’s my idea of a good use for this raved about sponge cake. Twinkie, schminkie!

      1. Susan, I’d get fruit leather for treats in my school lunch. I’m with you. Enjoy the Boston cream pie. Excellent use for the sponge cake!

      1. So happy they’re calling your name, Bridget. Please let us know how they turn out!

    21. This is such a fun idea! I never ate a Twinkie just because I was sketched out by what crazy chemicals and preservatives must be squeezed into them, but THIS kind of Twinkie looks right up my alley.

      1. Yes, all pronounceable ingredients in our version! Do let us know what you think of the results.

    22. Ahhh, it’s the beaten whites that would make this difficult to convert into an egg-free version (my son has egg allergies and we do not prepare anything with eggs in my kitchen).

      OTOH, I’m sure some crafty Vegan has developed an eggless sponge cake recipe I could use as a starting point in a quest for an eggless Twinkie. I might just have to take this as a challenge.

        1. Renee, I read that piece you ran on the military brownies and was simultaneously fascinated and horrified. I think I’ll stick with starting from a vegan adaptation when I want to do eggless baking.

          I’ve already tracked down some vegan sponge cake recipes, although I think I may have to experiment to make them more Twinkie-like.

          I’m sure my two boys will gladly gobble up the rejects. :-)

          And since sponge cake is okay on Passover, someone might want to try this recipe using matzoh cake flour (a more finely ground form of matzoh meal — you could probably put regular matzoh meal in the food processor for a couple of long pulses and then sift it if you can’t find the commercial stuff).

            1. Hi Deanya, fingers crossed that Greg has been in the kitchen whipping up vegan Twinkies.

      1. I heard water from canned chickpeas can be whipped and used as egg substitute for fluffy egg-free pancakes…

        1. Thank you, standug! Yes, aquafaba, as that liquid is known, has been something of a miracle for vegan cooking and baking. We haven’t played around with it much, so can’t say for certain how it works, but we’re looking forward to learning more…

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