Pretty Please Bakeshop's Twinks - San Francisco

Familiar shape, enticing new flavors

Though most of us have forgotten that a Hostess Twinkie is supposed to be a cake, Alison Okabayashi has not.

Before the baker opened up Pretty Please Bakeshop a few months back, she began experimenting with cylindrical cakes in novel flavors, injecting frosting into their cores. Now her pastry case is stocked with a rotating selection of flavors (all $3.50), and Okabayashi says she can get even more creative with custom orders (filling a chocolate cake with peanut butter or raspberry buttercream, for example).

The familiar three white dots mark the bottoms of her red velvet and richly spiced pumpkin "twinks," both covered in a transparent, crackly sugar glaze that keeps their crumb airy and moist. Bite in, and a lightly tangy gush of cream-cheese frosting hits your lips.

Her chocolate twink, disarmingly light given the potency of its flavor, is filled with poufs of vanilla buttercream and coated in a millimeter-thin layer of Guittard bittersweet ganache. It's a messier proposition to eat than the other two, but licking the chocolate off your fingers afterward hardly seems a chore.

We kept meaning to stick one of the twinks in the freezer to recreate a favorite childhood indulgence. But our inner adult couldn't wait that long.

Pretty Please Bakeshop, 291 Third Ave. (at Clement St.); 415-347-3733 or