Recipe Review

I Tried the Top-Rated “Ding Dong” Cake and It’s Like Taking a Bite Out of Childhood

published Sep 16, 2023
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slice of chocolate cake with large cream filling on a plate with cake in the background
Credit: Molly Allen

When it comes to dessert recipes, there’s nothing I love more than a sweet that draws inspiration from a nostalgic treat. Finding a Hostess Ding Dong in my childhood lunchbox was such a fun surprise, and it still is for many. With such a passion for the classics, I knew I had to try this recipe for Ding Dong Cake.

To mimic the classic cream-filled chocolate cakes enrobed in chocolate that are individually packed by Hostess, this cake starts with a simple chocolate cake recipe. Once the cakes are baked, they’re stacked with a thick layer of cream filling. To top it all off, it’s covered in a luscious chocolate ganache. But with so many different layers and steps, I had my reservations about whether this recipe was truly worth all the effort. Thankfully, after a morning of baking, it proved to be better than I expected.

Get the recipe: Ding Dong Cake

Credit: Molly Allen

How to Make Ding Dong Cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by greasing them with cooking spray. Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to eliminate any large clumps. Combine the milk and strong, cooled coffee and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs. Mix in the dry ingredients, alternating with the coffee and milk mixture, about three times. Mix the batter until combined.

Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans and bake the cakes for 25 minutes. Once baked, allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting on a wire rack.

To make the cream filling, whisk together the flour and milk in a small saucepan. Whisk the mixture on medium heat until it thickens, similar to pudding. Remove the mixture from the heat and mix in the vanilla.

Cream together butter and sugar and mix in the cooled milk mixture. Beat the mixture until combined, and then turn the speed up on your mixer to whip until it has a similar texture as whipped cream.

Place one cooled cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Top it with all of the cream filling and place the second cake layer on top.

To make the ganache, pour the chocolate chips into a heat-safe bowl. Heat up the heavy cream just below boiling, and pour it over the chocolate. Allow the mixture to sit for two minutes before whisking until smooth. Pour the liquid ganache over the stacked cake layers. Use an offset spatula to help smooth the ganache to fully cover the cake. Allow it to set for 15 minutes before serving.

Credit: Molly Allen

My Honest Review of Ding Dong Cake

Three different sets of ingredients and steps is a lot compared to the recipes I typically make. But given that a classic Ding Dong features cake, cream filling, and a chocolate coating, the steps were definitely necessary to recreate this treat. The look of this cake is absolutely beautiful. It makes a statement once you cut out the first slice thanks to the contrast between the dark chocolate cake layers and the white cream filling. The ganache is beautifully glossy.

The flavor of this cake is wonderfully balanced with every bite. The cake has a nice chocolate flavor without being overpowering. It’s perfectly complemented by a touch of vanilla in the cream filling, and the chocolate ganache adds a pop of bold chocolate flavor.

I was a bit skeptical about the cream filling at first, given its soft and fluffy texture. However, it sets beautifully. It’s such a unique play on textures and flavors, without being overly sweet or ridiculously indulgent. It’s a great rendition of a childhood favorite with a grown-up twist.

Three Tips for Making Ding Dong Cake

  • Let the cakes cool completely. Once the cakes come out of the oven, it’s hard not to get too excited about assembling your cake. However, getting ahead of yourself won’t do you any favors. The cakes need to be completely cool to ensure proper assembly. Any bit of residual heat will affect the texture of the cream filling.
  • Stack your cake before making the ganache. I found it was best to bake the cakes and make the cream filling and assemble the layers before prepping my ganache. While the ganache is pourable, it does set pretty quickly. Ensure your cake is ready to be topped before you start making your ganache to avoid any pitfalls.
  • Use a piping bag. The process of pouring the ganache over the cake was incredibly messy. Really, I got chocolate everywhere. To make it a bit easier, I poured some of the ganache into a piping bag, which allowed me to cover the sides of the cake a bit more easily. 

Get the recipe: Ding Dong Cake