This Ding Dong Cake is a rich chocolate layer cake with sweet vanilla bean whipped cream filling and decadent chocolate caramel ganache. A trifecta of delicious! It’s a dessert twist on the Hostess Ding Dong snack cakes, and WOW is it delicious!
It was my son Tom’s birthday. Two days after Christmas and I was just about desserted-out! He kindly let me have free rein over his birthday dessert, so I picked this Chocolate Ding Dong Cake Recipe. Who wouldn’t love that????
Ding Dong Cake
Our oldest was due the first week of January many moons ago. The week of Christmas before his ETA, I spent many evenings working at the University Hospital where I was an oncology nurse. One night, I was pulled to another unit and waddled around taking care of my charges, not knowing little Thomas would arrive in less than 24 hours.
He was our bonus tax deduction, born before January first. But he was also born two days after Christmas. That’s a short straw! So I always need to make sure I have a super-duper, decadent dessert to celebrate. The delicious Ding Dong Cake was a diet breaker for his birthday this year!
What Is A Ding Dong?
A Ding Dong is a small chocolate snack cake with a cream filling that’s been distributed by Hostess since 1967. This Ding Dong Cake was inspired by the two major components of the packaged snack food: chocolate cake and creamy vanilla filling.
I popped over to Danielle’s blog, Hugs and Cookies XOXO, to check out her fabulous desserts, and immediately fell for her Ding Dong chocolate cake recipe. Danielle’s cake is decked out in chocolate-dipped Twinkies, truly an extravagant dessert! Even without the Hostess garnishes, it is still fancy enough to celebrate a family birthday. I know Tom was thrilled!
Tips for Making This Homemade Chocolate Cake
- Grease your pans well, and line with parchment rounds for easy removal.
- For even layers, use a kitchen scale to make sure each cake has approximately the same amount of batter.
- The ganache is very hard to cut through when cold due to the addition of caramel. It’s delicious, but be prepared to smush your slices a bit while cutting. Leave out the caramel sauce if picture-perfect slices are a concern. My family definitely doesn’t care!
- Setting the cake out at room temperature for about an hour before serving will help warm the ganache. I use a sawing motion with a serrated knife to slice and try not to exert too much pressure, letting the knife do the work instead.
- I decreased the amount of heavy cream in the filling by 1/4 cup from Danielle’s version. I found the ratio made a firmer filling. If you look at the photo above, notice that the weight of the top layer made the filling bulge just a bit. This is with the higher cream to gelatin ratio.
- Make sure to keep this cake refrigerated when you’re not indulging!
More Copy Cat Dessert Recipes You’ll Love:
- Copycat Hostess Cupcakes from Shugary Sweets — if you like this cake, you’ll also love these cupcakes!
- Homemade Hostess Cupcakes from Brown Eyed Baker
- Oatmeal Creme Pies — so much better than store-bought!
- Cosmic Brownies — I’ve never eaten the real McCoy, but my family inhaled these!
Plus try more of my Best Chocolate Cake Recipes:
- One Layer Fudge Cake
- Chocolate-Mayonnaise Cake
- German Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake
- The Best Chocolate Cake
- More Dessert Recipes
- More of the Best Cake Recipes
This recipe was first shared in January 2016. Text and photos were updated in 2020.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 3/4 cups cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup hot coffee
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 10 ounces dark chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 8 ounces homemade caramel sauce or best-quality store-bought caramel sauce
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 1 1/4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, and seeds scraped from inside the bean
- Adjust oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line 2, 8-inch baking pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the dry ingredients & mix.
- Add the buttermilk, hot coffee, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until well combined 1-2 minutes.
- Divide batter among cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out almost clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let cake cool in pans about 10 minutes then remove from pans and cool on a cooling rack until completely cooled. I froze mine at this point, overnight.
- Make caramel ganache by melting 10 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips in the microwave till melted. Stir in 8 ounces of caramel sauce and whisk till smooth. Set aside to let thicken.
- Add the cold water to a small bowl, then sprinkle the gelatin over it. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, until it has set.
- In a small skillet, add about 1/2-inch of water, and heat over medium-high heat. Place the small bowl with the gelatin directly inside the skillet. Stir the gelatin until it is melted, about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the skillet.
- In the mixer, use whisk attachment and beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean seeds. Beat on high to soft peaks. Add the melted gelatin mixture and continue to beat until stiff peaks have formed.
- Take the first cake layer and place it on a cake plate. Spread with half the ganache. Top with vanilla bean whipped cream. Chill for about a half hour to make sure the whipped cream can support the second layer. Add the second layer of cake and the rest of the ganache. Chill cake.
The cake is very difficult to slice when cold, as the ganache will firm up. Remove cake from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving to let the ganache soften up a bit. The slices may not be perfect, but they'll be delicious!
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Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 495Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 427mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 3gSugar: 51gProtein: 6g