Just when you think chocolate cake can’t get better, we stuff it with creamy marshmallow filling and top with a silky chocolate frosting. This homemade Ding Dong Cake is the ultimate kid-friendly dessert (that adults will adore, too).

Ding dong cake on a marble cake stand.

Before you ask the question I know you’re thinking, I’ll delivery the answer: Ding Dongs don’t have the white squiggle icing. Hostess Cupcakes do. But the moment I saw this nostalgic chocolate dessert recipe on the cover for the cookbook Marbled, Swirled, and Layered my friend and brilliant baker Irvin Lin, I knew I need not change a thing about its playful chocolate topping.

After the tough “research” of trying it time and time again in the Culinary Hill test kitchen, I decided to double the marshmallow filling and chocolate icing to amp up the richness of this chocolate recipe even more. Go big or go home, right? And big is the way to go when you slice and serve this Homemade Ding Dong Cake.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step by step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Ding Dong Cake Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for ding dong cake.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Dutch-process cocoa powder: Dutch-processed cocoa lends a darker color and slightly richer flavor, but natural cocoa will also work.
  • Buttermilk: You’ll need 1 cup from a carton. Alternatively, to make your own buttermilk, for every 1 cup of whole or 2% milk, stir in 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or vinegar. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, then proceed with the chocolate cake recipe.
  • Freshly brewed coffee: 1 cup of brewed and cooled coffee helps accentuate the chocolate flavor in the cake batter.
  • Light corn syrup: This helps the white squiggle score its easy-piping consistency.

Step by step instructions

Make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the sides, bottom, and center of a tube pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a round piece of parchment paper with a hole cut out in the middle. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
A tube pan with a piece of parchment paper in the bottom.
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the the flour, cocoa powder, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until uniformly combined. Set aside. 
Dry and wet ingredients for ding dong cake batter next to each other in bowls.
  1. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid into the well. Stir with a large spatula until a soft batter forms.
Chocolate cake batter in a clear bowl.
  1. Pour into the prepared baking pan (it should only come about one-third up the side of the pan).
Chocolate cake batter in a tube pan.
  1. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-55 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 3 hours, or up to overnight.
Chocolate cake in a tube pan.

Make the filling:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter and vanilla extract and beat until creamy. Add the marshmallow creme (or fluff) and beat until incorporated. 
White filling for ding dong cake.
  1. Remove the cake from the cake pan and set it with the rounded side up. To create a tunnel for the filling, using a small paring knife, cut a curved rectangle, 2 inches long and 1 inch wide, into the top of the cake, following the curve of the cake. Repeat working around the cake, cutting out rectangular pieces to make a continuous tunnel. Set the cake pieces right next to where they were cut so they can be put back when the time comes. 
Ding dong cake with a well dug out for white cream.
  1. Once the tunnel has been cut around the entire cake, fill it slightly just over halfway with the marshmallow filling. Any extra fluff may be reserved for another use.
Ding dong cake before being decorated.
  1. Cut off half of each rectangular piece of the cake from the rough side. Place the removed cake pieces in the tunnel over the marshmallow filling to plug up the cake. Repeat all the way around the cake.
Chocolate cake with a metal tube in the middle.
  1. Turn the cake over so the “flat”side of the cake is up, and the plugged side is on the bottom, and place on a baking rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.
Chocolate cake on a cooling rack.

Make the frosting:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to bubble on the sides of the pan.
Chocolate glaze in a silver saucepan.
  1. Reduce the heat to low and add the chocolate, stirring until the frosting is smooth. Quickly spoon the warm frosting over the cake. The frosting will begin to harden and crust immediately as it cools (if this becomes a problem, spoon as much as you can where you want it, and wet your fingers and use them to smooth out the frosting). 
Someone pouring chocolate glaze over a ding dong cake.

To make the squiggle icing:

  1. In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar, milk, and corn syrup and mix until a thick paste forms. Scrape it into a pastry bag with a small round tip or a zip-top bag and cut off a corner.
White frosting in a piping bag.
  1. Make some test squiggles on a piece of paper to get the feel of it.
Someone practicing white piping swirls on a brown piece of parchment paper.
  1. Squeeze squiggle loops over the top of the iced cake.
A ding dong cake on a marble cake stand.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 1 luscious chocolate cake with 12 slices (depending on how you cut it).
  • Storage: Store any extra cake at room temperature for up to 4 days.
A ding dong cake on a marble cake stand with one slice removed.

Recipe FAQs

What type of pan is best for this chocolate cake recipe?

A bundt pan will do, but the ideal vessel is a circular tube pan like you might use for Angel Food Cake.

Do I really need to allow the cake to cool after baking?

Don’t skip this step; it’s essential so the filling doesn’t ooze out and the frosting won’t melt off. At least three hours of rest time in the pan (ideally overnight) is ideal.

A slice of ding dong cake on a gray plate.

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More chocolate favorites

A ding dong cake on a marble cake stand.

Ding Dong Cake

Just when you think chocolate cake can't get better, we stuff it with creamy marshmallow filling and top with a silky chocolate frosting. This homemade Ding Dong Cake is the ultimate kid-friendly dessert (that adults will adore, too).
5 from 20 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs 5 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Servings 12 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 915

Ingredients 

For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee cooled and lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks) room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 or 13 ounces store-bought marshmallow creme or fluff (size varies by brand)

For the frosting:

  • 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces 60% cacao dark bittersweet chocolate

For the squiggle icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
  • 2 teaspoons whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Instructions 

To make the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the sides, bottom, and center of a tube pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a round piece of parchment paper with a hole cut out in the middle. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the the flour, cocoa powder, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until uniformly combined. Set aside. 
  • In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid into the well. Stir with a large spatula until a soft batter forms.
  • Pour into the prepared baking pan (it should only come about one-third up the side of the pan). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-55 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 3 hours, or up to overnight.

To make the filling:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter and vanilla extract and beat until creamy. Add the marshmallow creme (or fluff) and beat until incorporated. 
  • Remove the cake from the cake pan and set it with the rounded side up. To create a tunnel for the filling, using a small paring knife, cut a curved rectangle, 2 inches long and 1 inch wide, into the top of the cake about halfway between the center hole and the outside edge of the cake, following the curve of the cake.
  • Cut into the cake about two-thirds deep, and use the knife to lift the rectangle out from the cake. If the hole isn't deep enough, use the knife to scrape out more cake, but don't cut all the way through to the bottom.
  • Repeat working around the cake, cutting out rectangular pieces to make a continuous tunnel. Set the cake pieces right next to where they were cut so they can be put back when the time comes. 
  • Once the tunnel has been cut around the entire cake, fill it slightly just over halfway with the marshmallow filling. Any extra fluff may be reserved for another use.
  • Cut off half of each rectangular piece of the cake from the rough side. Place the removed cake pieces in the tunnel over the marshmallow filling to plug up the cake. Repeat all the way around the cake.
  • Turn the cake over so the "flat"side of the cake is up, and the plugged side is on the bottom, and place on a baking rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.

To make the frosting:

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to bubble on the sides of the pan.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the chocolate, stirring until the frosting is smooth. Quickly spoon the warm frosting over the cake. The frosting will begin to harden and crust immediately as it cools (if this becomes a problem, spoon as much as you can where you want it, and wet your fingers and use them to smooth out the frosting). 

To make the squiggle icing:

  • In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar, milk, and corn syrup and mix until a thick paste forms. Scrape it into a pastry bag with a small round tip or a zip-top bag and cut off a corner.
  • Make some test squiggles on a piece of paper to get the feel of it, then squeeze squiggle loops over the top of the iced cake.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Dutch-process cocoa powder: Dutch-processed cocoa lends a darker color and slightly richer flavor, but natural cocoa will also work.
  2. Buttermilk: You’ll need 1 cup from a carton. Alternatively, to make your own buttermilk, for every 1 cup of whole or 2% milk, stir in 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or vinegar. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, then proceed with the chocolate cake recipe.
  3. Freshly brewed coffee: 1 cup of brewed and cooled coffee helps accentuate the chocolate flavor in the cake batter.
  4. Light corn syrup: This helps the white squiggle score its easy-piping consistency.
  5. Yield: This recipe makes 1 luscious chocolate cake with 12 slices (depending on how you cut it).
  6. Storage: Store any extra cake at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 915kcalCarbohydrates: 167gProtein: 7gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 520mgPotassium: 302mgFiber: 4gSugar: 130gVitamin A: 590IUCalcium: 112mgIron: 3mg
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Comments

    1. Hi Hanna! Angel food cake pan – yes definitely. That’s what I used. Regular bundt pan – yes I think so, but I haven’t tried it myself. But I don’t see why not? Thank you so much for your question!

    1. Hi Sandra! I’m no expert at high-altitude baking but I found this excellent article by King Arthur Flour.
      https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html
      1. Lower the temperature of the oven by 15 degrees (to 335 degrees F).
      2. Shorten the baking time by 10 to 15 minutes total (just start checking the cake after 40 to 45 minutes).
      3. Remove 1 tablespoon per cup of sugar, so measure out 1 1/2 cups of sugar and then remove 1 1/2 tablespoons.
      4. There are some suggestions for liquids which will depend on your actual elevation. You can take a look at that.
      5. Depending on your actual elevation, you may need to add a little more flour. You should definitely check out that article!
      Thanks for your question Sandra, until this moment I had no idea how involved high-altitude baking was! Good luck.

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