For when a snack-cake craving (or nostalgia) strikes. Confession: Sometimes we get a little nostalgic for a classic Hostess snack cake, specifically of the Sno Ball variety. When the craving strikes, we turn to this recipe for mini chocolate snowball cakes.
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup warm water
3 cups shredded coconut
2 2/3 cups whipped topping or whipped cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Make the cakes: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, and scrape the side of the bowl well after each is added. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt to combine. Add about half of the flour mixture to the mixer, and mix on low speed to combine.
5. Gradually add the buttermilk and water to the mixer; mix to combine. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix to combine.
6. Scoop the batter (an ice-cream scoop works great) into 16 even mounds on the prepared baking sheets. Stagger the cakes, leaving at least 2 inches of space all around—the cakes will spread during baking.
7. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool completely.
8. Trim the uneven edges from the cakes by pressing a 3-inch circle cookie cutter (or the rim of a large glass) into the center of each cooled cake. You will end up with 16 perfect circles.
9. Spread the coconut into an even layer on a large plate or baking sheet.
10 .Build the cakes: Scoop ⅓ cup whipped topping or whipped cream onto a cake and then place another cake on top. Press down on the top cake until some of the filling comes out the sides and then use a spatula to spread this excess all over the sides and top. Repeat with the remaining cakes and whipped cream.
11. Roll the cakes in the coconut to coat all over. Refrigerate the cakes until ready to serve. They will keep in the refrigerator, stored in an airtight container, for up to a week.