Yes to Yummy

Yodels (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo)

May 29, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page


Drake’s snack cakes are making their first appearance on Yes to Yummy.

And these are so good you’ll want to put on suspenders, climb to the top of the Alps, and yodel your little heart out, even though I’m pretty sure these snack cakes aren’t actually Swiss…


Sweet, decadent, and incredibly chocolaty, my version of the classic is definitely an indulgence. Hinted with coffee, dark chocolate, and good vanilla extract, these cakes are little logs of absolute amazingness. (And each one is unique, too!)


When I was in fourth and fifth grade, I had a French teacher who spoke to his nine, ten, and eleven year-olds ENTIRELY in French. We maybe understood two words that came out of his mouth (bonjour and au revoir, probably), but that didn’t really matter. What mattered was that we got YODELS during the week before Christmas break.

In France, children supposedly leave their shoes out by the fireplace the night before Christmas, and Père Noël (Father Christmas, like Santa Claus) comes and puts little things in there. We did the same: my French class made shoes out of paper, put them by the shadiest stairs in school, and found Yodels there the next day.

Why Yodels? For Christmas in France, they eat something called a Bouche de Noël, which is essentially a giant Yodel. We weren’t really concerned about the cultural factor, though: we were concerned about usually-contraband chocolate.

Typical pre-pre-teens.


That is my (extremely) limited experience with snack cakes, which my parents never fed me as a child. I’ve never had a Twinkie, Ding Dong, Ho-Ho, or anything that Hostess/Drake’s makes that sounds vaguely like something sexual. And boy, am I glad. I don’t feel deprived at all.

But I do love Yodels, and I did want to recreate a healthier version. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy! These are also gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and paleo-friendly, so pretty much anyone you’re serving this to can enjoy along with you.

Quoth the parents, “These are better than the original!” But of course. We only say yes to yummy in this house.


Are you ready to get yodeling? I am! Let’s go.

My instructions are adapted from here, and my cake recipe is adapted from The Smitten Kitchen.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 13 jelly roll pan with wax paper. Leave a little hanging from each side of the pan. Grease it well with coconut oil and set aside.


In a small saucepan, melt 4 ounces of dark chocolate with 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of strongly-brewed coffee OR 2 tablespoons of hot water mixed with 1 teaspoon of instant espresso powder. Once melted, reduce the heat to simmer and stir frequently to prevent from sticking too much and burning.

Set aside.


Separate 4 eggs, and in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the whites with 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar and a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Scrape out the whites into a different bowl and set aside.

Wipe the bowl down and add the egg yolks. Beat until significantly lighter and pale yellow in color, about 5 minutes, then pour in 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons of unrefined cane sugar (or coconut sugar), ground up slightly in a high-speed food processor or coffee grinder. (This helps prevent crunchy sugar crystals in your final product.)


Once significantly lightened, add in the melted chocolate mixture to the egg yolks and mix just to incorporate, about a minute.

Using a spatula, scoop about 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate/egg yolk mixture. Fold GENTLY, and when just a few white streaks remain, add in another 1/4 of the egg white mixture. Repeat this process until none of the egg white mixture remains and the cake batter is light, smooth, and a consistent light brown in color.


Carefully pour everything into the prepared jelly roll pan and drop on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.

Bake until you can touch the top of the cake without any residue and a toothpick comes out mostly clean in the center, about 15 to 17 minutes.

Upon exiting the oven, cover the cake in the pan with a damp kitchen towel. Let sit for 10 minutes undisturbed.


Carefully remove the towel and dust the top liberally with cocoa powder. Use a small, sharp knife to loosen the cake from its pan, then rip off a piece of wax paper and dust it with cocoa powder, too. Place the piece of wax paper on top of the cake and quickly flip it over. Pull the pan away from the cake and take off the bottom piece of wax paper (the one it was baked with) that’s now on the top.

Dust the top with cocoa powder and cut the cake in half going towards you (you’re cutting the longer side in half). You should now have two rectangles that are each approximately 9 x 6.5 inches.


Rip off another sheet of wax paper about twice as long as a cake piece and dust it with cocoa powder. Transfer one of the halves of cake to the new sheet of wax paper and fold half of the sheet of paper over the cake. Roll the cake as tightly as you can between the two layers of wax paper. (You’re rolling the short side along the long side, if that makes sense.)


Repeat the same for the other cake piece and let cool at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the frosting.


In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together 1/2 cup of palm shortening (or butter) with 1/3 cup of coconut nectar, honey, or maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder, 2 teaspoons of coconut flour, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Once light and creamy (it takes about 5 minutes), turn off the mixer and set aside.

When the 45 minutes are up, gently unroll the cake pieces. They will likely break and you will want to cry, but don’t worry! They look really pretty all rolled up–you’ll barely notice the cracks–and the frosting acts like a nice glue.

Using an inverted spatula, spread the frosting all over the cake pieces. You want a good layer, but don’t make it too thick, or your cake rolls will become cake globs. Once frosted, roll up the cake pieces again using the wax paper, applying tight pressure as you go.

When rolled, let the cake pieces hang out in the fridge for half an hour to firm up, then slice each one into four tiny pieces.


In the meantime, melt 1 cup of dark chocolate chips with 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and line a big baking sheet with parchment paper and a wire rack on top. Remove from the heat and, using two forks, carefully lower one piece of the cake roll into the melted chocolate. Make sure it’s well-covered, then transfer to the wire rack. Repeat with the rest of the pieces, then let harden for 15 minutes.


Repeat the same process one more time, only this go-around, let the chocolate-covered cake pieces sit directly on the parchment paper. Let harden in the fridge overnight for the best crunchy versus cakey consistency.

Can you say YODEL-EH-HE-HOO?!


What is your favorite snack cake? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!

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