José Andrés' Favorite Childhood Cake Is Like A Barbiecore Twinkie

Few things can trigger fond memories and goofy grins like cherished nostalgic snacks. For Americans, it might be Dunkaroos, Planters Cheez Balls, chocolate pudding in a tin can, or the short-lived Crystal Pepsi (may it rest in peace). The same is true for people all over the world, including José Andrés, the spirited restaurateur and humanitarian who calls Spain home. In a YouTube video posted by First We Feast, Andrés discusses his favorite childhood snacks from his homeland and includes a snack cake that Barbie would definitely stock at her Dreamhouse or Malibu beach pad.


Pantera Rosa cakes are well-known sweet treats in Spain and are immediately recognizable by their bright pink shell. Andrés explains, "This is what all children grow up eating in Spain. It's the most delicious sponge cake." Depicted on the package is the classic cartoon character, the Pink Panther, which is exactly what Pantera Rosa translates to in English. About the size and shape of Twinkies, these yellow-colored sponges are similarly filled with cream, but are then coated with a layer of pink icing. Andrés suggests that the flavor is reminiscent of raspberry or strawberry, which would certainly explain the rosy hue, but the ingredients list doesn't exactly jive with his opinion.

Bright pink Spanish childhood memories

Packages of Pantera Rosa cakes simply indicate that there are "flavorings" in the treats, along with other things you'd expect to find in cake, like sugar, flour, and eggs. A different YouTube video from Ron Reviews Canada suggests a floral, lemony flavor, but not berries. Regardless of the specific taste, kids (and kids at heart) in Spain adore these snacks. Bimbo Bakeries, a Mexico-based company that makes snacks found in 35 countries around the world, produces Pantera Rosa cakes. Its Spanish line of snacks also includes Bollycao (buns filled with chocolate hazelnut spread), and Tigretón (chocolate-covered rolled cakes, filled with cream and apricot jam).


In ways beyond how they are shaped, Pantera Rosas could easily be compared to American Twinkies, as far as nostalgia goes. One mouthful as an adult might be a shock to the system, though. Isn't it (not so) funny how biting into a mega-processed sugar bomb as a kid doesn't phase us, but as grown-ups, we're reaching for the Tums within minutes? Still, they evoke images of childhood for many, who would go straight for it in their brown paper lunch bags, or dunk it into Nestle Quik as an after-school snack. José Andrés appears to look back at Pantera Rosas with similar fondness.

Make your own Barbie-inspired snack cakes

If you want to try Pantera Rosa cakes in America, you'll have to order them from a website that specializes in international snacks that you can't get at home. But if you want to make your own, there are a couple of ways to go about it. Making them from scratch isn't necessarily difficult, but there are several steps involved. First, you need a good sponge cake recipe and a silicone baking mold that will give you that classic, elongated Twinkie shape. You'll also need to make a cream filling that you'd pipe into the cooled cakes. This could be as simple as whipping some heavy cream with powdered sugar, or you can make a cream cheese-based filling for a little extra tang. Feel free to flavor it up as well with strawberry extract or pulverized, dehydrated berries, which will play along with the bright pink-colored icing you'll need to make and pour over the baked cakes.


If you want to cut major corners, use actual Twinkies and spread the outside with pink icing. A white chocolate-based, pourable, colored glaze will give you a look similar to Pantera Rosas. You can also whip up a royal icing and pipe the tops in a decorative pattern, or use candy melts and cocoa butter that you can tint with food coloring. Any of these icings are sure to provide you with a sugar rush, but what's a taste of childhood without it?