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Deliciously Organic: Homemade "Little Debbie" Devil Squares

Deliciously Organic

A blog devoted entirely to simple, wholesome, organic cooking.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Homemade "Little Debbie" Devil Squares

After experimenting for several years I'm now convinced you can make anything with unrefined, wholesome ingredients.  My repertoire now includes these little snack cakes.  They probably won't sit in a vending machine unspoiled for months, but they taste at least as good as the real thing! 

You can use this cake recipe to make ding dongs or a splended two layer, frosted cake.  In fact, the flavors are so deep and rich you can serve the mini versions at your next dinner party and no one will know they're "snack cakes" (just don't announce it by saying "Ding Dongs for dessert"). 

Most likely because of my sweet tooth, I often get questions about the organic whole cane sugar I use in my recipes.  I wrote a guest post this week at Simple Organic explaining in depth why I love this sweetener and how to practically apply it to your baking and cooking.  It might answer some of your questions, and help you recreate some childhood memories, without the crazy chemicals. 

Homemade Devil Snack Cake
Makes 10 3-inch cakes 

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup cocao powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons brewed herbal coffee (such as teeccino)

3/4 cup butter at room temperature
2/3 cup organic whole cane sugar or sucanat
2/3 cup muscovado
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and adjust rack to middle position. Line a 12 x 17-inch baking sheet with parchment paper, oil with butter, and dust with flour, knocking out any excess.  In a medium bowl sift the flour, cocao, baking soda and salt.  (There will be about 2 tablespoons of bran left in the sifter, discard.) In a small bowl mix together buttermilk, sour cream and herbal coffee.  In bowl of mixer, with paddle attachment, cream the butter, whole cane sugar, and muscovado. Start on low speed and then increase speed to high.  Beat for about 5 minutes, until light.  Lower speed to low and add the eggs and vanilla and mix until just incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl.  With mixer on low speed add a 1/3 of the buttermilk mixture followed by 1/3 of the flour mixture.  Repeat twice ending with the flour mixture.  Mix until just incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 16 minutes, or until a cake springs back when lightly pressed.  Cool completely.

Adapted from All Recipes

1/3 cup water
3/4 cup organic whole cane sugar or sucanat
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk together water, whole cane sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer.  Set bowl over pan of barely simmering water and mix with handheld electric mixer at low speed (you can also do this by hand with a whisk).  Beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.  Place bowl on standing mixer and add vanilla to mixture.  With whisk attachment, whisk mixture an additional two minutes until cool and billowy.


1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 pount organic dark chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

Whisk together cream and maple syrup in a medium saucepan.  Bring to simmer over low heat.  Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Add butter to chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.

To assemble:  Cut cake into 20 3x3-inch squares. (Make sure the cake is completely cooled.  If not, it will be difficult to assemble the squares.)  Spoon a few tablespoons of frosting on 10 of the squares and then top with second square of cake.  Spoon 3-4 tablespoons of ganache on each cake and frost top and sides using an off-set spatula.


Blogger Maria said...

My brother loves these. I will have to make him your homemade version. Nice work!

May 27, 2010 at 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Sanura said...

Of course, homemade is always better! These look devilishly delicious.

May 27, 2010 at 9:07 AM  
Anonymous marla {family fresh cooking} said...

These look wonderful and thank goodness they won't last in a vending machine!! xxoo

May 27, 2010 at 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

beautiful! we should start a whole cane sugar appreciation club!

May 27, 2010 at 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Paula - bell'alimento said...

Oh me oh MY! I am so making these!

May 27, 2010 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Easy peasy organic said...

Wow, looks great - and awesome using unrefined ingredients!! Hmmm... any chance of making wholesome Twinkies?

May 31, 2010 at 2:36 AM  
Blogger Deliciously Organic said...

Amanda: A twinkie recipe is in the works! :)

May 31, 2010 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Easy peasy organic said...

Yay! Bring on the Twinkies!

June 2, 2010 at 8:47 PM  
Blogger "The Teacher / Mommy" said...

Ahhh! Help!

Ok, let me start by saying I made the oatmeal cream pie cookies tonight with maple and they are divine! I replaced the vanilla in the cookie with 3 tbsp maple syrup and then went 1/2 & 1/2 with the whole cane sugar and maple syrup in the filling. It really turned out well. I can't wait 'til the BBQ on Sunday to eat them!

But I also tried to make these snack cakes and it was a disaster and I can't figure out why. Essentially, my cake fell to pieces and nothing could hold it together. I cut the cake into small squares but when I picked them up they fell apart irrevocably. Trying to coat them with the ganache just turned it into a crumbled mess.

Everything was still delicious so in the end I just smushed it all into a trifle dish and called it a day. Could it be that my cake was overcooked? undercooked? over-mixed? I'm grabbing at straws here.

I know you can't really diagnose my mistake since you weren't in my kitchen, but any ideas would be helpful... I'd love to try this again sometime.


June 4, 2010 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger Deliciously Organic said...

Elizabeth: The only thing I can think of is that either the cake was underbaked or that it wasn't completely cool. I've made this cake recipe many times and have never had a problem so those are the only two things I can think of. To make it easier, I'd refrigerate the cake so it's nice and will make the assemly much easier. Glad you liked the oatmeal pies!

June 5, 2010 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger "The Teacher / Mommy" said...

Carrie, thank you for writing back so quickly! You know, it was VERY warm in my kitchen last night and even though I left the cake to cool on the counter for quite a while I think you must be right that it wasn't cool enough when I cut into it. Also, today it's a bit dry so I think it might have been slightly overcooked as well. But, it worked as a "trifle" and my kids gobbled it up with bowls and spoons today after lunch.

Thanks so much for the help in making these decadent treats with wholesome natural ingredients! Love your blog!

June 5, 2010 at 5:45 PM  

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