By peoplestaff225
Updated February 10, 2014 10:45 AM

One bite and you’ll fall in love with this easy-to-make Valentine’s Day treat: mini red velvet cakes.

Created by chef Roger Waysok of South Water Kitchen in Chicago, the dessert is a crimson-colored cake with a cream-cheese filling, a tasty departure from original golden sponge cake with vanilla cream. He whipped up the new recipe for the finale of his restaurant’s upcoming five-course Valentine’s Day menu.

“As a kid, I was a huge Twinkies fan,” Waysok says. Red velvet, one of his favorite flavors, “brings me back to my childhood and a time when having a sweet treat, like a cake, was like winning the kid lottery.”

His variation is “comfortable yet daring” and made with flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla and cocoa powder, baked for 30 minutes then filled with a cream-cheese-and-sugar mixture. To form the snack cake’s iconic shape, Waysok suggests using a spice jar rather than buying a special pan. “I have done this and it works very well,” he says. You basically wrap the jar with aluminum foil to create a mold, leaving the top open for pouring in the batter. Of course, you’ll want to remove the jar before pouring! (Click HERE for easy how-to photos.)

Consider this dessert your labor of love for the special valentines in your life:

Red Velvet “Twinkies”

Makes 6 servings

6 large eggs, at room temperature, yolks and egg whites separated

1¼ cups sugar

1 tbsp. red food coloring

½ tbsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. cocoa powder

1½ cups cake flour

½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

Cream Cheese Filling:

5 oz. cream cheese

1½ cups confectioner’s sugar

½ tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Fold a 12-inch square of aluminum foil in half one way, then the other way. Wrap the foil halfway around a small spice jar to make a “boat.” Close the ends and leave the top open so you can pour the batter in later. Remove the bottle and put the foil “boats” on a baking sheet. Repeat with jar and foil to yield a total of six forms. Spray inside forms with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and then add sugar, food coloring and vanilla extract.

3. In separate bowl, combine cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt.

4. Slowly add flour mixture to egg mixture, blending until just combined.

5. In separate bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. In batches, combine egg whites with cake mixture, folding gently to preserve fluffiness.

6. Pour batter into the prepared foil “boats.” Bake for 30 minutes, or until cakes are fluffy and set. Place on rack to cool, then carefully remove the foil. Use a toothpick or the tip of a pastry bag to make a hole for the filling.

7. To make the filling, combine cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla in a bowl and mix until smooth and spreadable. Place mixture in a pastry bag with tip, insert into the cake holes and squeeze.

—Nancy Mattia