Knock knock! Who’s there? Ding dongs! Homemade Ding Dongs, that is.
These light-as-air chocolate cakes with a marshmallowy filling and a rich chocolate coating are bound to bring on some nostalgic food memories. Many a kid grew up with Ding Dongs (or similarly-composed Ring Dings) playing a regular role in their school lunch adventure. But if your palate has grown up with you, it’s possible that you’ve outgrown the commercial version.
This homemade version of Ding Dongs has all of the right textures and flavors in all of the right places, but is made using fresh, quality ingredients. They have the form of a childhood treat, but a flavor that adults and kids alike can enjoy. No doubt about it: these chocolatey discs are bound to bring a smile to your next snack time.
Homemade Ding Dongs recipe
Makes about 12
For the cake:
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/3 cups whole milk
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff (homemade or store bought)
For the topping:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces coarsely chopped dark chocolate
Make the cakes. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease, flour, and line with parchment paper two round cake pans.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until combined and fluffy. Pause the mixer.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing briefly after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
Alternately add the flour mixture and the milk in 2-3 increments each. Stir on low until the mixture comes together into a smooth, lump-free batter.
Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.
Bake for 25-30 minutes (rotating the pans at the 15 minute mark), or until a cake tester inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven, and loosen the edges of the cake with a sharp knife. After a couple minutes, invert the cakes on to wire racks and let cool completely.
Once cooled, level the cakes. Cut out as many circles as you can, using a 2.5 or so inch round cutter, or the rim of a glass. I used a wine glass to do this for an extra classy touch.
Note: You will have leftover cake scraps. May I propose making cake pops with the leftovers?
Once you have as many cutouts as possible (12 or so — give or take depending on how large the circles are), place the mini cake rounds on a baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut a circle in the center of each round. Do not cut all the way to the bottom. Extract the core of cake, and spoon 1-2 teaspoons of marshmallow fluff in the center. Place the little cake “plugs” on top of the marshmallow filling. If they’re a bit messy, don’t worry.
Invert the cakes so that the marshmallowy side (the ugly side) is facing down. Brush off any excess crumbs on the sides. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes. This will help the cakes firm so that they are easier to finish with ganache later.
Make the ganache. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the mixture comes together into a smooth and creamy-textured mixture.
Remove the cakes from the freezer, and ice the cakes with ganache. Since the cakes are chilled, the ganache will begin to firm rather quickly after it hits the cake, so work confidently and as quickly as you can.
Store leftover cakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days; the cakes can also be frozen for up to a month.