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 14 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:

  • 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


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 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
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Shop the products

more products

Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through these links.

Culinary School Secrets
Pro-level tricks to transform your cooking!

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.

You May Also Like

Questions and Comments

Thank you for your comments! Please allow 1-2 business days for a reply. Our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am PST to 5:00 pm PST, excluding holidays. Comments are moderated to prevent spam and profanity.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    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.
      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.

View all comments