There are a number of memories that are really good. Admit it. You liked Ding Dongs too. It was always a treat when I found a Hostess dessert in my lunch. As a child, there were not a lot of different alternatives to Hostess. Today, there are so many and now we choose not to serve them to our kids. How times have changed.
This Ding Dong Cake recipe is really good. The chocolate covering is so tasty. The cream in the middle and the chocolate cake. Put all 3 flavors together and your childhood comes flooding back.
One thing I learned with this recipe is that when it says to line a pan with parchment paper, you need to cut it out to fit the pan. My cakes were not perfectly round (I tried to hide it in the pics – look close).
INGREDIENTS (adapted from Eats Well With Others):
- 1 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup hot strong coffee
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 large eggs
- 9 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 tsp unflavored (kosher/vegan) gelatin
- 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment (cut to the size of the pan) and then coat the paper with spray.
- For the cake, place the cocoa powder and chocolate in a medium metal bowl. Pour the hot coffee over them and let sit for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Stir in the buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Make sure your butter is good and soft. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go as necessary.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl in 3 additions, alternating with the chocolate mixture. Divide the batter evenly between the two greased pans and smooth the tops. Use an offset spatula if you have one.
- Bake the cakes 32 – 35 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted. Transfer to wire racks and let cool in cake pans for 10 minutes. Since I used the whole parchment paper, I needed only to lift out the paper and the whole cake came out. (Run a knife around the cakes to loosen and then invert onto wire racks. Peel off the paper and let cool completely. Turn cakes over. If needed, use a long serrated knife to cut off any bumps or dome from the top of each cake so that it is flat and even.)
- For the caramel ganache, place the chocolate and salt in a medium bowl. Stir the sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and cook, swirling occasionally (I found you needed to stir quite often), until the sugar is deep amber, about 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream. Return to the heat, stirring until caramel dissolves. Pour over the chocolate. Add the vanilla and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly.
- Place one cake layer in a springform pan. Pour 1 cup of the ganache over it. Put it in the fridge to chill until set, about 30 minutes. Cover the remaining ganache and let sit at room temperature.
- For the filling, place 2 tbsp cold water in a small heatproof bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin into it and let stand until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Microwave the bowl with the gelatin in it until it dissolves, 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
- Place the cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add the vanilla. Beat until soft peaks form – this will take a good 7 – 8 minutes. Stir in the gelatin and beat until firm peaks form.
- Spoon the filling over the chilled ganache in the pan. Smooth the top. Gently top with the second cake layer. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill until cream is set, at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Remove the sides from the springform pan.
- Rewarm the remaining ganache until it is just pourable (not too hot). Pour the ganache over the cake so that it drips down the sides. Chill until ganache is set, about 1 hour.
Serve and enjoy!