Ding Dong Cake sounds ridiculous, but it's nostalgic for those of us with memories of having the foil wrapped Hostess chocolate coated snack cakes in our lunchbox. For some reason they seemed even more special than the cupcakes, which weren't too shabby either. It's impossible for me to write about them without wanting to get in the car and go buy a box, but I'm almost certain they won't taste as good as when I was 8. Which is where this Ding Dong Dong Cake recipe comes in. Like its namesake, Ding Dong Cake is a chocolate cake with a fluffy white filling and coating of chocolate.
Ding Dong Cake Filling and Chocolate Coating
I started making this cake years ago for my husband who grew up without ever having tried any Hostess snack cakes. The original version calls for a cake mix chocolate cake with a filling made of cooked milk, flour, shortening, sugar and vanilla. It tastes better than it sounds and has a texture more like the actual Ding Dongs -- especially if you use high ratio shortening. But most people prefer knowing the filling is made with butter, so I made my last cake with Ermine Icing. I was torn on frosting the cake with chocolate frosting or a ganache, but took the easy route and went with ganache glaze.
You can make Ding Dong Cake as an 8 or 9-inch round cake or make it as a sheet cake like the photo above. For that one, I made half a cake in a square pan. I then split, filled, iced and served out of the pan. The most recent version was an 8-inch round layer cake. If you make it as an 8-inch cake, expect to have a very thick layer of filling and some leftover ganache. The next time I'll probably make it as a 6-inch layer using half of the ingredients.
Chocolate Cake Mix Ding Dong Cake
Chocolate cake is so easy to make from scratch. You could make this cake with just about any reliable recipe, but I had a box of Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Cake and used a modified version of The Cake Mix Doctor Darn Good Chocolate Cake. That recipe has been downsized to go with the smaller boxes of cake mix. Honestly, this is a mix and match cake. You can use cake mix, or go with Nana's Chocolate Cake or Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate.
How to Store and Serve Ding Dong Cake
Ding Dong Cake can be frozen or stored in the refrigerator. If making ahead of time for an event, you'd probably want to chill, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. I cut our leftovers into big slices, wrapped individually and frozen. As a test, I left one slice out overnight under the cake dome. The next morning it was cool and in perfect condition because my house is so cold at night! So if you have a cold house, you can probably get away with storing it at room temperature. For serving, it's definitely best at room temperature, otherwise all the butter in the filling solidifies and makes it feel like you're eating a chunk of butter.
Ding Dong Cake with Cake Mix
- 1 15.25 oz Betty Crocker chocolate fudge cake mix
- 1 3.9 oz package chocolate instant pudding mix
- ¾ cup sour cream or whole milk yogurt
- ½ cup brewed coffee (warm) or just use hot water
- 3 large eggs
Fluffy White Filling
- 3 ½ tablespoons flour, measure carefully or weigh (24-30 grams)
- 1 cup whole milk (230 grams)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small chunks and at cool room temperature. (230 grams)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt, scant, but omit if using salted butter (optional)
- 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (230 grams)
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (40 grams)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt (pinch)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans.
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat on low speed until mixed, then increase mixer speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes. That batter will be thicker than usual cake mix. Scrape into pans, dividing evenly.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (an 8-inch cake will take at least 30 or until cake tester comes out clean). Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto cooling rack. Let cool while you make the filling.
- In a small, heavy saucepan, not yet over heat, whisk together flour and milk until smooth. Set over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick and creamy. Be careful not to overcook or cook it over too high of a heat or you'll get lumps. Scrape into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, and let cool completely.
- Using your electric mixer, preferably a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar until blended. Beat in the vanilla and salt (if using). Beat in the thoroughly cooled flour mixture. Beat until the icing is fluffy and no longer grainy. With a stand mixer and whisk this should take about 5 minutes. The icing will look very curdled at first, but should lose some of the curdled look as the sugar dissolves. If it seems to be curdling too much, remove a couple of tablespoons and melt in the microwave for 5 seconds. With the mixer going, add the melted icing into the bowl. Icing should smooth out.
- Spread the white filling in a thick layer across the top of the cake. Cover with second cake layer, then cover in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or until very cold and firm.
- Put chocolate and corn syrup in a large bowl. Better yet, if you have one use a Pyrex bowl with a spout.
- Heat the cream in the microwave just until it starts to simmer (or do this over the stove), then pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted. Add a pinch of salt if desired. Let stand until icing is thick enough to pour.
- Pour over the chilled cake. The best way to do it is gradually. Pour over a little and spread to the edges and over the sides, then pour on a little more and a little more. The cold cake should help the ganache cling to the side.