These hot dog look-alikes are sure to bring the smiles at your next summer gathering. Homemade golden sponge cakes are filled with chocolate franks and garnished with yellow buttercream ‘mustard’.
Summer is in full swing and we’re adjusting to new routines. Days are long so we’re staying up later to enjoy evenings on the patio. The lightening bugs in our backyard glow with near synchronicity which is a simple but awe-inspiring kind of magic. And then there’s our renewed zest for spontaneous cookouts, which happens weekly.
The latter was my inspiration for creating these hot dogs in true trompe l’oeil fashion. I think they’re a real hoot! They’re tasty too, because they are essentially extra-large Twinkie-style snack cakes. They’re not hard to make but require a few steps which are all outlined in the tutorial that follows.
Also, I have a fun giveaway today, so read on for the details!
First, let’s get into the snack cake tutorial! It’s so much fun, and kids will love to help decorate and serve these treats.
- Make the molds:No specialty pan needed! Place two medium sheets of aluminum foil on a work surface (about 14×12-inches each). Fold in half lengthwise and fashion into a 6×3-inch boat-shaped mold. A tall stemless champagne flute is the perfect size and shape for creating the hot dog bun shape, so I recommend using one. Lay the glass on its side and shape the foil around the glass, folding the ends and firmly pressing the foil to create a leak-free vessel. You’ll need about six molds, so repeat the process until you have all the molds required.
- Prep for baking: Line the molds up on a baking sheet and lightly spray the insides with flour-based baking spray or cooking spray.
- Fill and bake: Spoon or pipe sponge cake batter into the molds until they are three-quarters full. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until the cakes are golden on top and a toothpick tester comes out clean
- Unmold and cool:Carefully remove the aluminum foil from the cakes and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Chocolate franks: Covering chocolate is a smooth, malleable, and tasty alternative to fondant. Knead 12 ounces of bright white covering chocolate until smooth.
- Hot dog hues:Use gel food colors and gloved hands to knead color into the chocolate. I found the perfect hue by mixing together red and burgundy, with just a touch of golden yellow and chestnut brown. (find the set of colors I used here). Divide the tinted chocolate into 2-ounce portions and roll under your palms into a 5 inch frank shape.
- Sprinkle on:Lightly brush the top golden portion of the bun with piping gel. If you don’t have piping gel on hand, use honey or even a tiny bit of corn syrup.
- Chicago style: Sprinkle on poppy seeds for a fun, authentic Chicago-style bun appearance. The piping gel (or honey) will hold the seeds onto the bun. You could also sprinkle on toasted sesame seeds or just leave the buns plain.
- Center slice:Use a large serrated knife to split the sponge cake down the center lengthwise. Use sawing motions as you cut to avoid flattening the cake.
Next, fill the ‘buns’ with the ‘franks’! I think they look pretty cute at this stage, but a squiggle of yellow buttercream on the franks will double for ‘mustard’ and increase the cute factor.
All of these goodies are from my favorite party supplies shop on Etsy, hilariously named Cranky Cakes Shop. It’s run by my pal Amanda and I just love her aesthetic for nostalgia and kitsch.
I hope these cakes will help you kick off summer with a smile! If you’re not inclined to use the specialty chocolate for the franks, then consider tinting a batch of American buttercream in hot dog hues and piping a thick line between each bun.
I think these would be so fun at a July 4th cookout, and absolutely perfect for National Hot Dog Day, which is July 17th!
Hot Dog Snack Cakes
- 3/4 cup 90g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 4 tablespoons 56g unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs at room temperature
- 3/4 cup 150g granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 tablespoon piping gel or honey
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 12 ounces white vanilla covering chocolate
- Gel food colors: red burgundy, yellow, chestnut brown
- 1/2 cup ready-made buttercream tinted golden yellow
- Prepare six 3×6-inch aluminum molds as outlined in the tutorial in this blog post.
- Make the cakes: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until melted. Set aside.
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat on high speed until foamy, then gradually add half of the sugar (6 tbsp.) and the cream of tartar. Beat to soft peaks. Remove whites to a large bowl.
- Place the egg yolks in the standing mixer bowl that the whites were beaten in (do not wash bowl) and beat in the remaining sugar (6 tbsp.) Beat on high speed for 5 minutes with a timer set, or until the yolks are pale yellow and thick. Pour the egg whites over the yolks, and then add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed for a few seconds until just combined. Add the reserved melted butter and milk mixture and fold together briefly until no streaks of egg whites remain.
- Spoon or pipe batter into the molds, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake until the cake tops are golden and feel firm when touched, 20-23 minutes. Let cool and remove from molds by gently unwrapping the aluminum foil. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
- Make the franks: Knead the covering chocolate until smooth. Use gel food colors and gloved hands to knead color into the chocolate. I found the perfect hue by mixing together red and burgundy, with just a touch of golden yellow and chestnut brown. Divide the tinted chocolate into 2-ounce portions and roll under your palms into a 5 inch frank shape.
- Lightly brush the top golden portions of the sponge cake buns with piping gel. If you don’t have piping gel on hand, use honey or even a tiny bit of corn syrup. Sprinkle on poppy seeds for a fun, authentic Chicago-style bun appearance. (You could also sprinkle on toasted sesame seeds or just leave the buns plain.) Use a large serrated knife to split the sponge cake down the center lengthwise. Use sawing motions as you cut to avoid flattening the cake. Place a chocolate frank into each bun. Transfer yellow buttercream to a disposable piping bag with a small hole snipped in the end. Pipe a squiggle of icing down the center to mimic mustard.
- Allow the cakes to stand until the buttercream sets, about 5 minutes. Package in cute hot dog wrappers (as shown) or place on a serving tray and cover with plastic wrap.