Out Of A Box: GF Twinkies

If you are a Twinkie fan, you can all give a big shout-out to Canteen reader, Leigh, for requesting these.  It was her suggestion that got me going on this project.  And a fun project it was.  After a million little Twinks in our kitchen, I am happy to say the recipe works well enough to be called a winner.  It also was the reason we added the Out Of A Box category to the GF Canteen.

It was so easy to use a box of Betty Crocker GF Yellow Cake Mix to make these, that I actually ordered a case to test the recipe.  Half a dozen boxes later, we are happy with the result.  It is quick enough that you can make them at 5PM and be eating them at 6PM.

The first batch is always the most challenging if you are not used to baking albino mini cakes and filling them with stuff that can bust them apart with little effort.  Be cautious, but be brave.  You’ll get the feeling for when they are full enough after one or two tries.  I try to fill the goofiest looking ones first so that by the time I get the program going, the nicer looking ones are the best show-off Twinkies.

Don’t be afraid that they are not baked because they look anemic.  As soon as that toothpick comes out clean, take them out of the oven.  However, If you don’t mind a golden brown color, leave them in for a minute or two more. No harm.

These can be prepared dairy free if you want.  I’ve noted how to do that in the recipe – use shortening rather than butter, and water rather than milk.  The filling is a slightly modified version of this from Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

I imagine that these will keep for a while if stored well.  Unlike their commercial counter-part though – these will not last decades.  And aside from that, you will be enjoying them so much they will be gone the same day you make them, no doubt.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind.  If you want authentic shaped Twinks, you should order this pan.  If you don’t care, then invest (if you already don’t have one) in a multi-purpose mini muffin tin.  I got mine here for under ten dollars and it is not only dishwasher safe, but will make those fine little Nutella Bites or mini muffins, or tiny brownie bites, or in this case, one-bite Twinkies.

If you order the canoe pan, it comes with a cheap plastic pastry filler thingy for the gooey white fluff.  Good enough, but it is flimsy.

If you really want to fill them with little effort, this one looks like it will do the trick.  I will use it until it breaks, which I hope will not be soon.  Then I would probably just order this one which should be around for a long time.  The more I bake, the more I realize that what you invest up-front in some tools really matters for the long haul because they won’t have to be replaced so frequently.

To fill mini cupcakes the low-tech way, cut a little dome-cylinder shape from the top – pop in some filling and reattach the top.  Cover it with glaze and there it is – a Twinkie bite.

Either way, make some GF Twinkies.

Out Of A Box: Canteen GF Twinkies
Recipe type: Dessert
One recipe makes 16 Twinkies or 8 Twinkies and 24 very mini muffins
  • 1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow cake mix (15 oz)
  • 6 tablespoons or 3 oz. butter or Spectrum shortening, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 oz. milk or water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla flavoring
  • ¼ teaspoon pure lemon flavoring (it really helps)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • Heaping ½ cup or 3 oz. of Spectrum shortening
  • ⅓ cup or 2 scant oz. powdered sugar, sifted
  • 7-8 oz. of Marshmallow Fluff (one container plus part of a 2nd)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
Directions Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Spray canoe pan with nonstick spray. You can add little strips of parchment to the canoe pan - almost as wide as the boats, like a sling, and have it come slightly up the sides – it helps keep the Twinkie from browning too much. The parchment is totally optional.
  3. Spray the mini muffin pan or use paper liners.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, using a whisk attachment, stir cake mix on low for about 10 seconds.
  5. Add shortening and whisk on low until it looks like peas – about a minute of mixing
  6. Add eggs and whisk again to incorporate.
  7. Add water and vanilla.
  8. Whip on medium high for almost 2 minutes.
  9. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides and fold up from the bottom to make sure all the dry stuff got mixed in.
  10. Fill muffin pan about half-way.
  11. Fill canoe pans only halfway or slightly less. There might be batter left over.
  12. For the canoe pan, bake 8 minutes and rotate pans. Bake about 4 minutes more or just until a toothpick comes out clean. You want them to look very pale and anemic (like Twinkies).
  13. For mini muffins, bake about 8 minutes and rotate. Bake about 2-3 minutes more or just until a toothpick comes out clean.
  14. While the Twinkies are baking, clean the bowl and whisk.
Filling Directions
  1. Mix the salt and water and set aside.
  2. Drop everything else into the mixer bowl and whisk on high for a few minutes until it looks very fluffy.
  3. Add in the hot water/salt last and whisk again on high for a minute.
  4. When the Twinkies are cool, take a small skinny thingy about the diameter of a chopstick and poke three holes in the bottom (which would be the top of the cake) and wiggle it around gently to create pockets for the gooey cream. Be careful to not rip the cake.
  5. Alternately, you can take a long-ish sharp paring knife and give one end of the Twinkie tube a nick - an x. Then send that knife into the cake and wiggle it slightly to make a tunnel for the filling without poking it through the other end.
  6. Using a long skinny filling tube that comes with the set I mentioned above, fill the Twinkie from the end and be gentle to not pop it apart. A little goes a long way.
  7. Cut a dome-shaped cylinder through the muffin tops if you used liners, or make tunnel through the bottom if you did not.
  8. You can glaze over the top later.
  9. Using a piping bag (a zip-lock works) or a the filling gadget – fill each hole with a little bit of the fluff mixture.
  10. Don’t worry if some filling fluffs up to the top of the hole and out – just wipe it off.
I like to make a simple glaze for the tops of the mini muffins by mixing some powdered sugar with water and bit of vanilla. If you want chocolate, add a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to the mixture. I usually start with a half cup of powdered sugar and a teaspoon of water and a drip of vanilla - more if I've added cocoa. If you add a little liquid at a time it is easier to gauge when it is the right consistency. But not to worry. If it is too thin, just add more sugar. The glaze mixture should be pretty runny when it is just right. Let it sit for a minute. Then dunk the heads of the muffins in it for best coverage. Or use a spoon to drizzle. Your choice. Let the glaze set before eating. Serve those GF Twinkies with a bit of milk and a straw and pretend you're a kid all over again. Only these will taste a whole lot better. Or if you really want the all grown-up kid experience, make some espresso to go with that Twinkie. And from start to finish, you can have them ready in under an hour. That is the fabulous thing about Out Of A Box.



  1. How fun! Can you buy Betty Crocker GF mix at a store or do you need to special order it?

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Indeed! Almost every store, Safeway etc. But if you use them a lot, amazon has a pckg of 6 for a great price.

  2. So am I obsessed with Twinkies. Since as long as I have memory they are my absolute favorite treat. I have never tried them at home but I think I just found a recipe to experiment with. These look awesome!

  3. Bless you!!!