When Hostess went out of business last year, my first thought was, "Oh no! What's Dad going to do?"
You see, my father has a deep and abiding love for Ding Dongs. Given the choice between those and pretty much any other snack dessert thingy, he'll choose the Ding Dong every time. He even has a giant foil ball made exclusively from Ding Dong wrappers. Maybe it was best for him that Hostess went under, because otherwise we might have had to stage an intervention.
Still, I felt bad for the guy when I knew his favorite treat would no longer be available. So I turned to the internet for ideas.
And I found them.
Homemade Ding Dongs, people. HOMEMADE DING DONGS.
Naturally, I had to make some for him while we were all together last week. Rather than spend a hundred years making individual ones, I just made one big fat Ding Dong cake to share with everyone. We loved it.
We loved it so much that I was only able to get pics of the remains...and even then, there were vultures hovering, waiting to snitch the last bites before it was all gone.
It was surprisingly easy and really really really good and I think you should make one right now. And then share it with me. Please and thank you.
Ding Dong Cake
(recipe mostly from Smitten Kitchen)
I just used my current go-to recipe, found here and here. Deb at Smitten Kitchen includes a chocolate cake recipe that I'm sure is divine but looked like it would require more effort than the one I've used and liked before, plus it called for larger pans than I had on hand. I'm sure you could use a box mix here if you really want...but do you really want? Scratch tastes so much better. Just make sure the recipe you use gives you two round cakes to work with.
7-minute marshmallow filling
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Combine frosting ingredients with a pinch of salt in a metal bowl set
over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with a handheld electric
mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 6 to 7 minutes.
Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled. Use
frosting the day it is made.
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 stick (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
Finely chop chocolate (or use Ghirardelli chips like I did. Don't use Nestle chips; they're too waxy for ganache.). In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream,
sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until
sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking
until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting,
whisking until smooth.
Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until
spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill
frosting to spreadable consistency).
Slice one cake length-wise to create two thinner layers. Ct a circle out of the middle of the other cake. (I used a large mug as a template but would probably cut out a bigger chunk next time, just because I had a ton of filling and it was really tasty. Plus you can eat the middle bit before serving the actual cake--or save it for later if you want--and a bigger hole means more to munch on. Score!)
Place one of the thin layers on your serving platter. (If you're concerned about keeping it clean--which I wasn't--you may want to lay down strips of parchment or waxed paper under the cake to catch stray crumbs and ganache.) Place the layer with the hole in it on top. Fill the hole with as much marshmallow filling as you can. Top with the last thin layer. Frost with ganache and serve.