Can’t find lady fingers, but craving Tiramisu? Here is a dollar store hack that will bring home the flavor at a cheap price. This is a great recipe to make with kids, and ideal for a pot luck. Easy and flavorful, Twinkimisu can be put together in less than 10 minutes, and all the ingredients can be sourced at the Dollar Tree.
Lady fingers can be difficult to find in some places, so I decided to give twinkie-type cakes as a substitution. To my surprise, it actually worked fairly well. The cake pieces are more dense and tough than a lady finger, but it soaked up just enough of the coffee to make a distinct difference in texture from the cream layer. Delicious.
To start, I froze the snack cakes in their wrappers and then quartered them, creating thin cake “fingers.” While they were thawing, I brewed a small French press of coffee and whipped up the creamy filling.
For this filling, I chose a half package (4oz) of room temperature cream cheese and blended it with two containers of vanilla pudding. Once the cheese and pudding were well combined, I added the whipped cream, gently, until it was a fluffy, creamy consistency.
Each of the cake fingers was quickly dipped in coffee, turning them over in the liquid, to coat all sides. One by one, the fingers were placed in a loaf pan until the bottom was covered.
The layer of coffee soaked cake was then covered with half the whipped filling and another layer of coffee soaked fingers was built, then covered with the remaining cream mixture.
To garnish, I grated a dark chocolate bar over the top and let it chill in the refrigerator overnight. It was a light, creamy dessert layered with deep notes of coffee (add rum, if you like) and the sweetness of cake. If you’re on a budget, a beginner chef, or living in a food desert, I recommend giving it a try. It would be a fun project with kids, or for a potluck.
6 snack cakes, quartered
Brewed coffee for dipping
2 serving cups vanilla pudding (not the measurement 2 cups)
4oz cream cheese (1/2 package at room temperature)
1/2 container of whipped topping (or so, to taste)
Chocolate bar for garnish (grate or use a vegetable peeler)
Allow to chill overnight for best results. Yields 4 generous slices. Double the recipe for a larger portion.