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Ding Dong Cake on a white cake stand

Ding Dong Cake

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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 - a cake designed to look like a Hostess Ding Dong on a white cake stand

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!

Overhead view of chocolate ding dong cake recipe

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!
Ding Dong Cake topped with chocolate candies on a white cake stand


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Tools Needed to Make a Hostess Ding Dong Cake:

This recipe was first shared in January 2016. Text and photos were updated in 2020.

Ding Dong Cake on a white cake stand

Ding Dong Cake

A decadent cake reminiscent of the famous Hostess Ding Dong snack cake!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield 16 servings



  • 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

Caramel Ganache:

  • 10 ounces dark chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 8 ounces homemade caramel sauce or best-quality store-bought caramel sauce

Cream Filling:

  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the dry ingredients & mix.
  3. Add the buttermilk, hot coffee, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until well combined 1-2 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 495Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 427mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 3gSugar: 51gProtein: 6g


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44 comments on “Ding Dong Cake”

  1. Ding-Dong Cake is a terrific way to celebrate Tom’s birthday…The cake and cream look so decadent and delicious! =)

  2. This cake looks so decadent and rich, perfect cake for a celebration!

  3. That ‘Ding Dong the Diet is Dead!’ was my first laugh of the day! So thank you for that, Liz. Now, if I could just get a slice or even a nibble to go with that, this cake looks divine.

  4. Wow, that cream layer looks amazing! Bet he loved this cake:@)

  5. Looks amazing Liz!
    Thanks for sharing

  6. The cake looks sinfully decadent and ever so tempting too!

  7. This cake is the perfect way to end that ridiculous diet lol! Looks amazing!

  8. Oh boy that looks good!!! The caramel ganache is definitely the “icing on the cake”!!! So pretty.

  9. What a fun and very impressive cake! I think you definitely made up for a birthday 2 days after Christmas Liz!

  10. So fun this birthday cake! happy belated birthday to Tom!

  11. Liz u outdid yourself!!!! LOVE!!!!! Xo

  12. Amazing birthday cake! Looks delicious!

  13. What a cake, this looks like an absolute perfect birthday dessert!

  14. My first born was also due the first week of January. But he was two weeks late so he is at least spared a birthday between Christmas and New Year. That does seem a difficult time to have a birthday and I’m sure over the years you’ve been mindful to not let the occasion slip by in a ‘too tired to be bothered’ manner. The cake is gorgeous and I love how you decorated it. It really does scream ‘celebration’. Happy birthday to Tom xx

  15. Now, that’s a birthday cake! You had me at caramel ganache!! You outdid yourself with this one, Liz!

  16. That is one decadent cake! Happy belated birthday to your bonus tax deduction baby.

  17. A work of art! I loved reading about the cream layer…nice!

  18. Know this what I call a cake. I would love this for my birthday. I would be sure to throw my diet out the window for a slice. Yum!

  19. Happy Birthday Tom ! It’s funny because my son born the 31th December juste like me, then is a great celebration for us too!! Your cake is just great ! Tom is lucky guy!

  20. I’m never disappointed with your desserts Liz, they are always OTT! You made this quite classy looking and I’m sure it was delicious. Happy birthday to Tom. It’s lovely that you go to such lengths, it’s difficult to have a birthday so close to Christmas and not lump it into one big celebration. My dear Mom’s husband’s birthday is December 18 and his very first (ever) birthday party was when my dear Mom threw him a 60th!

  21. The best way to celebrate a Birthday! Elegant and tempting.

  22. I’ve always been a huge fan of ding dongs, but this looks about 100 times even more delicious!

  23. WWOW just WOW! Pinning then baking, then eating! Looks wonderful Liz!

  24. Ha! Great line, Liz — “ding dong the diet is dead!” This is definitely a decadent cake and I can imagine how quickly it would be devoured! Tom is one lucky son!

  25. As a kid one of my favorite treats was a ding dong. I love this recipe and without a doubt will be making it. I’d like to stick my finger in the filling and just eat it. YUM!!!

  26. omigosh I am obsessed-I can see the gorgeous vanilla bean flecks and…um…there’s ganache. THAT’S IT I’M DEAD. Pinned!

  27. Oh wow that looks amazingly decadent! Love the cream filling, looks like a wonderful contrast to the rich chocolate cake 🙂

  28. Decadent is putting it mildly, this is a show stopper!

  29. This looks delicious. Do you allow the gelatin to cool before adding it to the whipped cream?

  30. O M G !!! This cake looks AMAZING !!
    I really like the cake recipe (as I think cakes with oil are much more moist and soft)

  31. Lizzy,
    My hubby would love this cake! Chocolate and whipped cream…wow, he would be in heaven.

  32. This cake is the epitome of decadence. All that cream filling is calling my name!

  33. Happy belated birthday to Tom!(…….and to me as well 🙂 we have the same date of birth Tom!
    That’s great to see The DING DONG cake with two sweeties pies on your birthday. You are very lucky Tom and sure I will do this amazing cake on my next birthday. Thank you very much for the recipe!

  34. I am making my cream and it curdled when I put in my gelatin☹️ Why?

    • Hi, Judi, I haven’t had that happen, but it’s possible you added the gelatin too quickly or the gelatin was heated beyond just melting, so it was too hot. Here’s what I’ve read: Gelatin can be tricky if it is melted too hot or if cold liquid is added to it to quickly.
      To fix, I’d strain the cream so that the gelatin bits are removed and try again by adding warm, not hot gelatin. Hope this helps!

  35. A very Happy Birthday to your boy! The Tax deduction boy… LOL This Ding Dong Cake is a moist and delicious bite. Hope your 2020 is off to a fantastic start!

  36. Wow – that is a beauty!!! It looks absolutely perfect. Happy Birthday to your son. I can imagine he loved his cake.

  37. I have never laid eyes in a Ding Dong Cake, but boy, would I love to try this! Happy birthday to Tom.

  38. This cake is pure genius! Loved Ding Dongs when I was younger, although I bet I haven’t had one in over 40 years. Now I want one, olf course. 🙂 This cake looks SO good — really fun recipe. Thanks!

  39. Just finished making this.  It looks absolutely decadent!  Easy to make but instead of using heavy cream for the filling as the recipe calls for, use heavy whipping cream.  It will give the stiffness required.  Using just heavy cream will not produce any peaks, let alone stiff peaks.  Believe me, I tried!

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