Homemade Ding Dongs

By Chef Megan Joy / June 23, 2013

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.

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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.

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How to make this high altitude adjusted recipe:

Homemade Ding Dongs
Adapted from The Pastry Queen Parties by Rebecca Rather

5.0 from 2 reviews
Homemade Ding Dongs
Recipe type: High Altitude Baking
 
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. To make the chocolate cakes: preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Stir together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the boiling water and whisk until batter is smooth.
  5. Divide the batter among 24 standard greased muffin cups, filling about ¾ full.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean, about 12-15 minutes.
  7. Remove cakes from the pan and cool on a wire rack about 20 minutes before filling and icing.
  8. To make the vanilla filling: place the corn syrup, water, sugar, and cream of tartar in a pot over high heat.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Chocolate Icing:
  13. Set the chocolate in a bowl. In a saucepan over medium heat bring the cream to a gentle boil.
  14. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, stirring constantly until it melts completely.
  15. Stir in the corn syrup, vanilla, and pinch of salt.
  16. Assembly:
  17. 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.
  18. Fill each cavity almost to the top with the vanilla filling either by spooning it in or using a pastry bag.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.

About the author

Chef Megan Joy

12comments
Lisa Drake - July 5, 2013

Hi, Megan! My name is Lisa, and I found your blog after googling “high altitude baking”. My husband, kids, and I just moved from Texas to Colorado this last month, and I don’t know the first thing about baking in the mountains, but I’m learning! Thank you for your beautiful site and recipes! I have started a small blog to keep friends and family up on our happenings, and I have added your blog to my favorites list. 🙂
thingsherelately.com

Reply
    Chef Megan Joy - July 5, 2013

    Hi Lisa, welcome to the Rockies! Thank you for adding HAB to your list, I will be sure to pay your blog a visit. Looking forward to baking with you 🙂

    Reply
Summer - August 23, 2013

I’m so excited to find this site! I love to bake for my family and friends but I get frustrated trying new recipes that don’t turn out since I live in denver. I made these cupcakes and was thrilled that they came out with the perfect dome! I’m wondering if I could use this same recipe in either 2 rounds or a 9×13? I’m sure the time would need to be adjusted, but would the temp?

I’m so excited to try more of your recipes, thanks.

Reply
    Chef Megan Joy - August 25, 2013

    Hi Summer! You can certainly use this recipe in other types of pans. Fill the pans 1/2-2/3 full, and bake at the same temperature until the center springs back when lightly touched. Happy baking 🙂

    Reply
Lynne - September 29, 2013

I made this in layer cake form for my hubby’s birthday and it was amazing. Thank you!

Reply
Michi - September 20, 2014

Hi Chef Megan,

I want to make this into a layer cake as I’ve completely failed at the high altitude chocolate cake recipe that seems to be the only one I can find online. It’s a modified version of the Hershey’s chocolate cake. The cake sank in the middle and did not stay together when cut to make layers. would I adjust the oven temp? do you suggest any other changes?

Reply
    Chef Megan Joy - September 20, 2014

    Hi Michi,

    Have you tried this recipe yet? Or is the failed cake recipe you’re referring to the Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe you found online? This recipe is already adapted for an altitude of 8,300 ft or so. The biggest thing to consider when baking at altitude is your chemical leaveners like baking soda and baking powder. If your altitude is above 8,300 ft, then use slightly less of the baking powder and baking soda than called for. If your altitude is below 8,300 ft, then use slightly more of the baking powder and baking soda. I usually adjust in 1/8th-1/4th teaspoon amounts when increasing or decreasing for different altitudes. For baking at altitude, I recommend baking cakes in an oven at 325-350F. Hotter than this and your cake will burn, lower than this and your cake will take forever to bake. This particular recipe has been tested at 350 F with good results.

    Reply
Michi - September 20, 2014

My cake failure was the Hershey’s chocolate cake adapted for high elevation. I’m in Boulder at 5400 ft. I will give this one a whirl. I like the Hershey’s bc I had all the ingredients and it’s fairly easy. The middle just never rose.

Reply
Nancie - December 21, 2015

Hi Megan – out of curiosity, do you use natural or Dutch process cocoa powder for this recipe?

Reply
    Chef Megan Joy - December 21, 2015

    Hi Nancie, currently in my kitchen I have Cacao Barry “Extra Brute” cocoa powder, which is dutch process/alkalized. It gives my chocolate baked items nice color and full flavor. Happy baking!

    Reply
Eileen Carafiol - February 4, 2016

Hi Megan: When working with sugar/corn syrup for meringue, buttercreams, etc. do you adjust the temperature the mixture has to reach depending on your particular altitude? In other words, is 244F (on a candy thermometer) the correct temperature for 6,000, 8,000? Thanks a whole bunch.

Reply
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