A rich chocolate cake with marshmallow filling, lots of chocolate frosting, and that irresistible white squiggle. Your favorite childhood treat, upgraded!

Today I’m celebrating the cookbook of my friend Irvin Lin: Marbled, Swirled, and Layered.

Irvin is a brilliant baker, award-winning blogger, award-winning photographer, and everything-else-extraordinaire. He’s also an outstanding human being and all-around good guy.

AND he invented this cake: Homemade Ding Dong Cake (He calls it something else in his book, but to me, that’s what it is).

A portrait photo of the homemade ding dong cake taken from the side of the cake. There is a slice taken out of the cake and the creme filling is exposed. The white squiggle frosting is visible on the top of the cake, on top of chocolate frosting that drips down the side of the cake. The cake is on a white cake stand that has wave-like edges. It is taken against a white background.

When Irvin sent me a copy of his book, I knew it was going to be difficult to choose what to make first.

Except not really, because look at this cover!!!

My mind was made up.

A picture of the cookbook Marbled, Swirled, and Layerd by Irvin Lin

Irvin’s creations aren’t for the faint of heart. A cake this glorious doesn’t come from a boxed mix. But I love his premise: that anyone can make fantastical creations by marbling, swirling, and layered desserts.

I know you will love it, too. You are always up for a challenge. You love cake. Especially chocolate cake with marshmallow filling.

You’ll go the distance to have this in your life.

Start with a rich, chocolatey cake. Make it a day in advance so it can cool overnight. Then, carve out a “moat” around the inside that you can use for the filling.

Notice the position of the pan. The cake is still on the tube pan insert.

A square photo of the chocolate cake with the moat cut out. Two pieces of the chocolate cake are visible in the forground and the crumb is visible. There is a paring knife in the background and a fork next to the cake.

Next, the Marshmallow Filling.

Irvin was kind enough to include a shortcut for the Marshmallow Filling. I happily took advantage of it (but I spelled out the “real way” in the recipe notes).  Use the buttery, marshmallowy deliciousness to fill the moat in the cake.

I would also like to point out that I doubled the marshmallow filling because: Marshmallow filling.

A square photo of the chocolate cake with a cut out moat filled with white marshmallow fluff filling. A paring knife is visible on the right in the background and there is a fork to the right in the foreground.

Using the cake pieces you carved out of the moat, cover the filling and flip the cake over.

The first layer of frosting is rich and chocolatey. I doubled the chocolate frosting, too.

Then, add the official Ding Dong Squiggle.

A portrait photo of the finished homemade ding dong cake. It is from a 45 degree angle, and visible is the chocolate cake, chocolate icing drizzzled over the cake falling and pooling onto the white cake stand. There is white squiggle icing on the top of the cake, crowing it in loops.

Next, cut yourself a slice!

This cake is UNBELIEVABLY DELICIOUS. It’s the best cake ever.


See Irvin’s full tutorial on his blog, too. He’s got all the step-by-step photos to help you figure it out!

And it’s just one of 150 glorious recipes in Marbled, Swirled, and Layered which I highly recommend you pick up immediately.

A closeup square photo of a slice of the homemade ding dong cake. The slice is on a small white plate that has lace edges. The plate is stacked on two on two other plates . The remaining cake is visible in the left background. There is a fork to the right and a linen napkin in the background.

Homemade ding dong cake on a white cake platter with a piece taken out.

Homemade Ding Dong Cake

A rich chocolate cake with marshmallow filling, lots of chocolate frosting, and that irresistible white squiggle. Your favorite childhood treat, upgraded!
5 from 11 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 914


For the Cake Batter

  • 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 Marshmallow 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 Chocolate 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 White Squiggle Icing:

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


  • 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, combine the flour, cocoa powder, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a balloon whisk, ,vigorously stir until the ingredients are uniform in color and fully blended. Set aside. 
  • In a medium bowl, place the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and beat together with a fork. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid into the center. Mix with a large spatula until a 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 marshmallow filling, place the salted butter and vanilla extract into the bowl of an electric mixer. 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. Create a tunnel in the cake for the filling by first making a "moat": with 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 moat. Place the cake pieces right next to where they were cut, so they can be put back when the time comes. 
  • Once the moat has been cut around the entire cake, spoon the marshmallow filling into the moat, filling a little more than halfway. You may not use all the fluff, but that's okay, reserve it for another use.
  • Cut off about half of each rectangular piece of the cake from the rough side. Replace the remaining cake pieces in the moat 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 cake stand or serving plate.
  • For the chocolate frosting, combine the powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in a medium pan. Cook over medium heat, 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 is a bit finicky and will begin to 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. 
  • For the white squiggle icing, mix the powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup in a bowl and mix until it forms a thick paste. Scrape it into a pastry bag with a small round tip, or a zip-top bag and cut the smallest amount of a corner off. 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 barely adapted from Marbled, Swirled, and Layered by Irvin Lin. Reprinted with permission.
To make homemade marshmallow fluff:
  1. In the bowl of a electric mixer, place 4 egg whites and ½ teaspoon cream of tartar. Beat until soft peaks form, then stop the mixer.
  2. Combine 1 ½ cups of granulated sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup, and 1 ½ cups water in a medium sauce pan and cook over high heat until the syrup reaches 245 degrees on a candy thermometer (the firm ball stage). Remove from the heat.
  3. Turn the mixer back on to medium speed. Slowly drizzle a little bit of the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites, avoiding the moving whisk. Raise the speed to medium high and continue to drizzle.
  4. Once it's all added, continue to beat for an additional 7 to 10 minutes, until the marshmallow fluff is stiff and glossy white. Scoop the fluff into another bowl and let cool completely.


Calories: 914kcalCarbohydrates: 167gProtein: 7gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 534mgPotassium: 301mgFiber: 4gSugar: 130gVitamin A: 590IUCalcium: 111mgIron: 3mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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    1. Hi Ursula, the dimensions are 10.38″ x 10.38″ x 6″. It’s Nordic Ware brand. I hope this helps! Thanks.

  1. Megan the cake was amazing as so many others have said, yet I have a question…
    Why the squiggle on a Ding Dong cake? Only the Hostess Cupcakes have squiggles.5 stars

    1. Hi Carol, that mistake is mine alone. My mom pointed it out to me too, back when I originally posted this, but the damage was done! The photos were taken. In my head, I thought both desserts had squiggles. D’oh! Sorry about that.

  2. My mom wanted a Ding Dong cake for her birthday but we’re gluten free. I made it with modifications and even our gluten folks had no clue! LOVED it! Super moist. Tastes like the real thing (as best I remember). It’s rich so you don’t need a big slice to be satisfied. THANK YOU!!5 stars

    1. Hi Adrienne, you are SO WELCOME! Although it sounds like you did all the work with your GF substitutions – AMAZING! I’m impressed. Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment and I’m glad you enjoyed the cake. :)

  3. I’m late commenting but this is AMAZING. Thank you so much for posting about it!! I love that you doubled the marshmallow filling. I was all (how come her marshmallow filling looks so good)? Ha!5 stars

    1. Hi Kathy, I TOTALLY understand your fear here. I am NOT a coffee drinker. I hate the stuff. You don’t taste the coffee though. It just gives the chocolate cake a deeper, richer flavor. Seriously. And if you want, you could make the coffee really weak just in case. But no, I don’t want a cake that tastes like coffee. Thank you for your question!

  4. I can’t wait to try this! One question, have you written the recipe to reflect the doubled marshmallow filling or did you double what is written?

    1. Hi Sarah! I have written the recipe to reflect the double marshmallow filling and chocolate frosting. So, if that sounds good to you, just make it as I have written it. If you want it the original way, cut the marshmallow filling and chocolate frosting amounts in half. :) I hope you love it. IT’S THE BEST! Thank you for your question. :)

  5. This looks amazing! This needs to be in my house now. No actually then Ill eat the whole thing. This needs to be made a brought to a party so I can eat and leave it!5 stars

  6. My goodness Meggan, this looks absolutely amazing – just like the picture on the front of the book.

    Well done. You know me, I would never have the patience (or the time at the moment!) but it’s a perfect challenge for you!5 stars