Magic Spring Cakes

Legions of Chicks
Legions of Chicks. Photo by Jack Andrews

It is no real secret that I’m a huge fan of marshmallow Peeps chicks. I do not know what it is about the goofy things that tickles me so, but they have for years. And it’s not their food value — I don’t really like them that much to eat. They’re just ridiculously cute and fun to play with. And they crack me up. My friends all know this, which is why I have the Peeps craft book, a fantastic Peeps t-shirt, and why Jodi took me to the Peeps store about three years ago:

MK at the Peeps store -- photo by Jodi Lasky
MK at the Peeps store — photo by Jodi Lasky

My friends — they are good peeps.

This year, though, Wilton kind of made my year by partnering up and making a Peeps silicone baking pan. When I bought it, I had visions of making chocolate-covered marshmallow candy. But I’m really more of a baker. So I started making Peeps cakes. This is how the adorableness of the chicks becomes so very very tasty.

I’ve tried everything from doughnut batter to cake batter, and found that something in between worked best. I still don’t quite have the hang of food coloring — they’re not as outlandish as I’d initially hoped — but no one’s complained about being forced to test different batches. And I will say this — we’ve had spring, either in temperature or in general sunniness, since I bought the pan, so they ARE magic, and if you live in the upper midwest, maybe you should start baking, too?

So the recipe below is my favorite version, but here’s how you can adjust it — if you want a larger crumb (stiffer dough), add less non-dairy milk. A smoother, more sponge-cake texture, add more non-dairy milk. The latter is easier to stuff in the molds, but I think somewhere in between is best — this recipe works with as little as a scant 1/4 cup of liquid, and as much as 1 cup. Baking times will vary (obviously). The next batch I test will use chia instead of the Ener-G, which I think will work fine. If you try something different, let me know!

Happy spring, people.

Chicks! In! Space! Photo by Jack Andrews
Chicks! In! Space! Photo by Jack Andrews

 

Magic Spring Cakes

  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (I used superfine, which is great if you have it)
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I have to admit that I notice a huge difference in flavor with using the Florida Crystals cane sugar version versus the cheapest brown sugar, which is usually beet sugar with molasses added. That could be me being an ingredient snob, but since the FC stuff goes on sale with some regularity, being a snob barely costs me more.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Mix all dry ingredients together thoroughly.

  • 1 Ener-G egg replacer egg (1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G powder plus 2 Tablespoons warm water, whisked until slightly frothy)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon melted shortening (I used both coconut oil-based Earth Balance and Spectrum shortening, and both worked fine) (ALSO — Melt an additional Tablespoon or two of shortening to grease your pan with)
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla
  • 2/3 cup non-dairy milk (I usually use almond milk because it’s what I keep on hand, but I notice very little difference using rice milk)
  • Food coloring, if desired

Use some melted shortening to brush the silicone molds.

IF you are using food coloring, mix all the wet ingredients but the shortening together before adding them to the dry ingredients. This makes the color spread evenly.

If you are NOT using food coloring, no need to dirty another bowl — just add all the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. I find that my silicone spatula works best for this.

Scoop into baking molds, and make sure you’ve filled out the bottoms or you lose the detail. I used my spatula to sort of smush and spread the batter into each mold, and then used an icing knife to scrape off any excess. If you’re not using a Peeps mold, you could use another small silicone mold, doughnut pan or a mini muffin tin, and your baking times will be approximately the same. If you’re making cupcakes or a full cake, your baking times will be way off what’s recommended, so I’d suggest checking in 5 minute increments until a toothpick inserted into the center of your cake comes out completely clean.

For the chicks and bunnies, my cakes took about 24 minutes. I will say check after 20, and judge how much more time you need then. When the cakes are done, flip them out onto a cooling rack immediately, and let cool completely before eating. With the oil brushed on the molds, these get a decent doughnut-type “crust” on the exterior, which is excellent.

Store your cooled cakes loosely covered, for up to three days.

    4 comments

    1. Haha! I love the visuals in your post. Are those your cakes, or are the photos borrowed? (Not sure if Jack is any relation…?) Either way, the cakes sound great and adorable (and thanks for the budget-snob tip on the brown sugar).

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