Some of you may remember my posts/photos from last summer detailing a few of the pastries I would make for our local coffeehouse, Yeti’s Grind. The most popular pastries were usually homemade versions of nostalgic Hostess treats.
But can you really act surprised? A from-scratch version of anything will always taste better than the pre-packaged and processed one. And think of the preservatives you are keeping out of your body!
So here it is, a recipe for homemade Ding Dongs I have been a little reluctant to share because it’s that good. Dark chocolate cake, fluffy vanilla filling, and glossy chocolate glaze goodness all in one.
I use an Italian meringue buttercream to fill these but feel free to sub in your favorite vanilla frosting.
Please enjoy responsibly.
I’m also going to share some photos of beautiful Colorado in June- one of the most gorgeous times of the year. I’ve been all over lately- for both work and play- Vail, Telluride, and Breckenridge. The mountains fuel my soul.
Happy summer, friends.
How to make this high altitude adjusted recipe:
Homemade Ding Dongs
Adapted from The Pastry Queen Parties by Rebecca Rather
- Chocolate Cakes:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ¾ cup boiling water
- Vanilla Filling:
- 3 egg whites
- ½ tablespoon corn syrup
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- Pinch cream of tartar
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chocolate Icing:
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- To make the chocolate cakes: preheat your oven to 350 F.
- Stir together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a bowl whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until combined.
- Add the boiling water and whisk until batter is smooth.
- Divide the batter among 24 standard greased muffin cups, filling about ¾ full.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean, about 12-15 minutes.
- Remove cakes from the pan and cool on a wire rack about 20 minutes before filling and icing.
- To make the vanilla filling: place the corn syrup, water, sugar, and cream of tartar in a pot over high heat.
- When it starts to bubble, add the egg whites to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and start whipping on medium-low speed. You want them to be frothy and foamy.
- When the corn syrup mixture reaches 244 F on a candy thermometer, carefully remove from heat and stream the hot mixture into the whipping egg whites. Increase to high speed and whip until the mixture is thick, fluffy, and white, about 2-3 minutes.
- Reduce to medium speed and begin adding the cubed chilled butter, a few pieces at a time. Continue whipping until the all the butter is added. The filling may look like it's curdled but be patient, it will all come together. If the filling is soupy and not thickening, place the bowl in the freezer a few minutes, then continue whipping. The filling should be silky, smooth, and fluffy. Add the vanilla and set aside.
- Chocolate Icing:
- Set the chocolate in a bowl. In a saucepan over medium heat bring the cream to a gentle boil.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, stirring constantly until it melts completely.
- Stir in the corn syrup, vanilla, and pinch of salt.
- Turn the cakes upside and using a paring knife or spoon, carve a small circle out of each center. It's okay to make lots of crumbs- save them.
- Fill each cavity almost to the top with the vanilla filling either by spooning it in or using a pastry bag.
- Cover the vanilla filling using the crumbs left from carving out the centers. Just stuff them on top of each cake to "seal" the filling.
- Turn each cake over and spread the chocolate icing on top. The icing will take about 20 minutes to set. If desired, pipe some of the filling on top to mimic a Ding Dong.
- Makes 24 cakes.
Note: This recipe was adjusted for high altitude baking. To make at sea level, increase the brown sugar to 3/4 cup, the baking powder to 2 teaspoons, and the baking soda to 1 teaspoon. Baking time may vary slightly.