This Hostess ding dong cake combines moist chocolate cake, creamy ermine vanilla filling, and chocolate ganache icing into an upgraded version of the classic chocolate snack cakes!
My chocolate espresso cake continues to inspire new recipes; it's my most popular chocolate cake recipe! I've always loved Hostess ding dongs; they were my favorite chocolate dessert as a child!
Inspired by the not-too-sweet filling and rich chocolate flavor, this ding dong cake surpasses the original. Perfect for birthdays, holidays, or any occasion, this cream-filled chocolate cake is a childhood dream!
Why You'll Love This Ding Dong Cake
- This dark chocolate ding dong cake is a variation of my ganache chocolate cake; it has two rich chocolate cake layers, a thick layer of creamy filling, and a shiny chocolate ganache poured over the top.
- It tastes just like the original Little Debbie ding dongs.
- Perfect for any occasion- chocolate lovers will love this ding dong cake!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Coffee: Hot coffee intensifies and deepens chocolate flavor; I use it in my raspberry chocolate cake, too! The ding dong cake will not taste like coffee- use hot water as an alternative!
Sour cream: The acidity is a must to provide proper leavening and extra moisture, resulting in a super tender and moist chocolate cake. I use it in my chocolate ice cream cake for this reason.
Gelatin: This unique chocolate glaze contains powdered gelatin, setting the ganache for a shiny, elegant finish. Use any type of non-flavored powdered gelatin.
Find the full ingredient measurements and instructions in the recipe card below!
How to Make Ermine Frosting
In pastry school, we made this boiled milk frosting. This creamy frosting combines roux (boiled milk and flour) with butter. It's simple to make and less sweet than regular buttercream.
Step 1: Make the roux. In a small pot, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla bean paste and cook over medium heat until thick (image 1 below).
Step 2: Cool the milk mixture. Pour the milk roux into a bowl. Cover the top with plastic wrap, then set it aside to cool at room temperature (image 2 below).
Step 3: Cream the butter. Cream the room-temperature butter in a stand mixing bowl until light and fluffy (image 3 above).
Step 4: Beat in the cooked milk mixture. Add a spoonful of cooled milk mixture to the butter, and beat well before adding the next spoonful. Then add the vanilla extract (image 4 above).
How to Make Chocolate Cake
Before you start, line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper on the bottom, and preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C.
Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the dry ingredients and cubed butter until it resembles coarse sand (image 1 below).
Step 2: Mix in the wet ingredients. Add in the whisked wet ingredients and mix until just combined. (image 2 below).
Step 3: Bake! Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared pans and bake! Cool the pans on a wire rack, then remove the layers and let them cool completely (image 3 below).
Step 4: Fill the cake. Spread ⅔ of the ermine filling on one layer then chill in the fridge to firm (image 4 above). Place the second layer on top (upside down). Use the remaining filling to fill gaps between layers. Chill until the ganache is ready.
Step 5: Make the chocolate ganache. Combine the water, cocoa, cream, and sugar in a pot over medium heat. Boil, then stir in the bloomed gelatin (image 5 below). Do not whisk or stir vigorously!
Step 6: Cool the ganache. Strain the ganache through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl with a spout. Cover with cling wrap and let it cool to 86 F/30 C (2 hours) (image 6 above).
Step 7: Pour the chocolate ganache over the cake. Once cool, place the cake on a wire rack with a pan below. Starting pouring at the center moving outwards so that the ganache drips off the sides (image 7 above).
Step 8: Decorate! Use a piping bag to pipe the classic white swirl on top of the ding dong cake with the reserved frosting (image 8 above).
Tips for the Best Cake
- Use a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is much more accurate than cup measurements. To convert this recipe, click the "metric" button next to the ingredients title on the recipe card. If you do not have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.
- Unlike my Biscoff cake or velvet chocolate cake that can be sliced at room temperature; this ding dong cake is best sliced when chilled because of the soft cream filling.
- Mix the frosting slowly. You may be tempted to add all of the milk mixture to the butter all at once but adding it too quickly will curdle the frosting and make it separate.
For convenience, prepare the components for the ding dong cake in advance. Bake the cake layers, wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Store the cooked milk mixture in the fridge too. On the next day, bring both to room temperature before assembling.
Definitely! I would make halve the chocolate cake recipe, as it makes a lot of batter. For the bake time, I recommend checking on them after 18-20 minutes!
Yes! Store the cake as a whole or as slices (wrapped in plastic wrap) in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 1 month.
Yes! I recommend choosing a denser chocolate cake mix (like devil's food cake) for a similar texture and flavor to the homemade chocolate cake.
This recipe uses the reverse creaming method which relies on a low protein flour (cake flour). Using "homemade cake flour" or all-purpose will result in a tough and dense cake.
If your frosting is loose, it might be due to warm butter. Check your butter's temperature; the best range is between 64-68°F. Overmixing can also make it overly fluffy; mix just enough to incorporate the boiled milk.
Ding Dong Cake
- 2 cups cake flour *See notes below for measuring*
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup dark brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 6 ½ tablespoon cubed unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream room temperature
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup whole milk room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot coffee
- ¾ cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
Chocolate Ganache Glaze
- 2 ½ tablespoon water
- 4 teaspoon powdered gelatin
- ⅔ cup water
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, milk, flour, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisk constantly until it is a very thick pudding. Pour into a container, and cover the surface with plastic wrap (directly to touch the surface). Cool to room temperature.1 cup granualted sugar, 5 tablespoon all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, 1 cup whole milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper on the bottoms and set them aside.
- In a stand mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix in the cubed butter on low for 3 minutes until it resembles coarse sand.2 cups cake flour, 1 ½ cups granulated sugar, ½ cup dark brown sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, ¾ teaspoon baking soda, 6 ½ tablespoon cubed unsalted butter
- In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. In another bowl, whisk together the hot coffee and cocoa powder.1 cup sour cream, 2 large eggs, ½ cup whole milk, ¼ cup vegetable or canola oil, 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 cup hot coffee, ¾ cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
- Add the egg mixture and coffee/cocoa mixture to the bowl. Mix on low until just combined. Scrape the sides and bottom to ensure thorough mixing.
- Distribute the chocolate batter into the cake pans (740 grams). Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Let the pans cool on a wire rack before assembling. While the cakes cool, finish the ermine frosting.
- Use an electric mixer or stand mixer to beat the butter until it is light and fluffy.1 cup unsalted butter
- On medium speed, fully beat in one spoonful of the milk mixture. Wait until combined before adding the next. Then add the vanilla. Mix until combined. See notes below for details on this step.1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Trim cake domes. Place one layer on a platter. Set aside 2-3 tablespoon of frosting for decoration. Spread ⅔ of the frosting on top. Chill until the frosting is firm. Place the second layer upside down. Use remaining filling to fill gaps, aligning with cake layers. Refrigerate until the ganache is ready.
- Bloom the gelatin in the water until it becomes a rubber consistency.2 ½ tablespoon water, 4 teaspoon powdered gelatin
- Whisk the cocoa, water, and cream in a saucepan until paste-like. Add sugar. Over medium heat, gently stir (avoid vigorous mixing to prevent air bubbles). When it begins to boil, remove it from the heat, and gently stir in gelatin to dissolve.⅔ cup water, ⅔ cup heavy cream, 1 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder, 1 cup granulated sugar
- Strain the ganache into a bowl with a spout. Cover with cling wrap, pressing it onto the surface to prevent skin from forming. Cool at room temperature for 2 hours until it reaches 86°F/30°C.
- When the glaze is ready, remove the cake from the fridge and place it on a rack with a tray underneath to catch the excess glaze.
- Pour the glaze on the top center of the cake, moving out to the edges so it falls down the sides of the cake. Pour confidently in a thick stream to avoid quick setting and drips!
- Let the glaze firm up for 10 minutes. Once set, use the rest of the ermine frosting to pipe a line of white swirls across the middle center of the cake. See the post for a visual example.
The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.