Ding Dong Cake – layers of dark chocolate cake, whipped cream filling and chocolate ganache.
The Good Ol’ Days
Oh how I miss the days of brown bag lunches filled with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a Capri Sun, Doritos and a Hostess Ding Dong. Yup, that’s kinda what my lunches looked like growing up. Making sure to provide some balance in my life, however, my mom also always threw in some kind of fruit. Though it’s been years since I’ve had that kind of lunch, it’s actually a very similar lunch to what I send my kids to school with. Well, minus the Ding Dong. I’ll often do a homemade treat, because… you know, from scratch is ma’ thang’ 😉
As I was thinking about this cake, I couldn’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve actually had a Hostess Ding Dong. I used to love them growing up! Chocolate cake with cream filling and chocolate ganache – who doesn’t love that combo?
I decided that it was a crucial step in research to buy a pack of Ding Dongs for taste testing and comparison once my cake was completed. As soon as I got home from the store, I opened up the box, eager to relive my childhood with a single bite of the mini chocolate cake. However, like many of you, I was so disappointed to see my favorite treat was no longer wrapped in its signature foil covering. I know Hostess was bought by another company, but couldn’t believe they took away part of what made this treat so identifiable!
And that wasn’t the only disappointment! One bite into the cake and I just about spit it out. It was so dry and not like anything I remember it being. I had to laugh though, because my kids both downed one in seconds! And now they’re asking for Ding Dongs in their lunches! So maybe it’s a kid thing and now that I’m an adult, I’ve lost the magic of Ding Dongs.
Ding Dong Cake
With my research complete, I started whipping up my own version of a Ding Dong. To stay true to the real thing, I used my chocolate cake recipe in two 8-inch layers instead of my usual three layered cake. You’ll notice in the cake instructions below that the oven temperature and bake time are different than what I would normally suggest for my chocolate cake when it’s in three pans. Because we are putting so much batter into each pan, we need to bake it at a slightly lower temperature for a longer time so that it bakes more evenly and doesn’t get over baked in some areas.
For the cream filling, I made a basic whipped cream and add gelatin to give it stability. You’ll see this step in the instructions and please don’t skip it. Whipped cream on it’s own, even with some powdered sugar in it, won’t be strong enough to hold the top cake layer and you’ll have cream oozing out your sides and into your ganache if you don’t add the gelatin.
For the ganache, it’s just dark chocolate and heavy cream melted and mixed together. Even when it cools, it will still feel soft and that’s ok. I suggest starting with chilled cake layers (always) when you stack your cake. After you’ve stacked the cake layers, apply a thin layer of the ganache around the cake and then freeze it, just like you would with any other cake to set the crumb coat. This will make your cake more stable as you finish frosting it and it helps the final coat of ganache to set since it’s going onto a chilled cake.
So some things to remember:
- A real Hostess Ding Dong will disappoint you 😉
- A homemade Ding Dong Cake will knock your socks off
- A Ding Dong does not have the white icing on it… that’s on a Hostess Cupcake
- Make sure to add gelatin to your filling
- Bake your cake layers at a lower temp for longer
- Allow your ganache to cool and apply on a chilled cake