I am on a mission to spread joy around the world by resurrecting classic childhood desserts that we once feared were dead to us. I’m imagining a world where swimming pools are filled with vegan Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and Ho Hos. Guilt-free isn’t exactly the phrase that comes to mind when thinking about swimming in pools full of desserts, but at least there’s no cruelty involved.
Last weekend, I put my plan into action when I saw how badly my boyfriend wanted a vegan Ho Ho. They were mentioned every third sentence as he reminisced about how he would have them every day after school. The oh-so-subtle hint was noted.
Assembling the little cakes required a little bit of care, but it was worth the effort. I ended up reducing the amount of creamer used in the filling so that it would be a little thicker. I also refrigerated the squares for several hours before covering them with chocolate sauce, to avoid turning them into a gooey mess. After eating two in the course of about a minute, my boyfriend said they tasted just like the Ho Hos he remembers.
Based upon his reaction to the Ho Hos, I think my plan just might work. Now on to those vegan Twinkies…
Vegan Ho Hos
For the Cake: 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1 cup sugar 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar Tbsp. oil or melted margarine 1 cup cold water
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Using a fork, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.
Stir in the vanilla extract, vinegar, and oil or margarine.
Add the water and mix well.
Line a baking sheet that has edges with parchment paper. Pour the batter in and spread smooth.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool.
For the Cream Filling: 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup margarine, at room temperature 2/3 cup shortening 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. nondairy creamer (try Silk brand) 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Using a mixer, whip together all the ingredients until creamy.
To Assemble: 4 cups vegan chocolate chips
Cut the cake in half widthwise. Spread a layer of the cream filling on one side and place the unfrosted layer on top. Cut into 1-inch-by-4-inch strips.
Heat the chocolate chips in the microwave for 20 seconds and stir. Repeat until mostly melted, then stir until completely melted. Pour over the cakes and let harden.
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