Serious Eats: Recipes

Little Debbie-Style Christmas Tree Cakes

[Photographs: Sarah Jane Sanders]

This recipe calls for spiced rum, which goes a long way to mimic the chemical cocktail of mystery that flavors the Little Debbie originals. Frangelico works well, too. If you don't consume alcohol, just omit the booze, increase the milk to 8 ounces and add 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice. It'll bring you mighty close.

For those not as obsessed as I am with recreating things down to the last detail, feel free to skip making the glaze and just dip the cakes in chocolate ganache. They'll be a little less fussy to make and extra delicious, but will taste more like a fancy eat-with-a-fork dessert than a lunchbox snack. The recipe for the glaze given here, however, will give you a touchable glaze that you can eat out of hand. If you're a stickler for details, make a double batch of the chocolate glaze and dip the cakes twice for a thick chocolatey coating. Once will get the job done, though the cake may show through in patches.

Making this cake isn't hard at all, but describing the entire process makes it seem more daunting. Put simply: bake a cake. Make buttercream. Sandwich them together. Cut into shapes. Glaze. Put more obnoxiously, well, read on.

Note: All measurements are in weights, as volume measures can be very imprecise. I strongly recommend using a scale for all pastry projects. Serious Eats' recommended kitchen scale is the Oxo Good Grips Scale with Pull Out Display.

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