Ding Dong Cupcakes
The inspiration came from a Ding Dong Cake recipe from the All Recipes Website. It’s true. The recipe calls for a boxed Devil’s Food Cake Mix and a box of instant pudding. I’ve made this recipe a few times because I LOVED Ding Dongs as a kid and can’t help but think making a ding dong is nothing short of magical. I thought a cake was too much of a good thing; the All Recipes Website directs you to scoop out the center of the cake and fill in the center with a ton of filling. Don’t get me wrong, the filling is my favorite part of the ding dong but I enjoy is a balance between the chocolate cake and the filling.
I travel by subway. Scratch that. I travel on crowded subways most days. It’s hard to find that happy place when a stranger is up in your business on the train. Instead of making a hard to carry cake, a tripping hazard, I decided to make cupcakes instead. They’re easier to package and you can’t go wrong with a cupcake. What better than to have a tasty, chocolatey mess of a mini-cake to call your own?
The first few times I made the recipe, I made the cake from scratch using a Devil’s Food Cake recipe from David Lebovitz’s Sweet Life in Paris Food blog. The recipe is written using metrics and thankfully, he included a link to help make sense of the conversions. Why the U.S. never began using the metric system, I do not know. Well, I have a hunch. My high school biology teacher was wrong, by the way. He swore that we could use the metric system or we would be in a world of hurt. I think it was his clever to get us to study?
I’ll break this entry up into three parts: the cake, the filling and the chocolate ganache-like frosting. The cake recipe makes a 9-inch cake, 12 large cupcakes or about 16 smaller cupcakes. Clearly, I prefer the jumbo-sized cupcakes. If you want the devil’s food cake recipe, follow the link to David Lebovitz’s site. I’m making some changes to the recipe to make it more cupcake friendly.
Devil’s Food Cake
one 9-inch cake or 12-16 cupcakes
Ingredients for the cupcakes:
9 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 (3.9 ounce) package of instant chocolate pudding mix*
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup strong coffee (or water)
½ cup whole or low-fat milk
*Instant pudding mix is from the All Recipes Ding Dong Cake Recipe
1. Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line two cupcake pans with standard muffin baking cups.
3. Sift together the cocoa powder, instant pudding mix, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.
4. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat together the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. (If using a standing electric mixer, stop the mixer as necessary to scrape down the sides to be sure everything is getting mixed in.)
5. Mix together the coffee and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, the add the coffee and milk. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients.
6. Divide the batter evenly into the two cupcake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
The trick to making it a “Ding Dong”? Add the instant pudding mix.
I have to be honest, my coworkers wolfed down both versions of the recipe and if you’re in a hurry, skip the made from scratch cake part and use the devil’s food cake mix. I know the pastry gods are going to strike me down, but what the heck? Here goes:
- 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
- 1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 1/4 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Line cupcake pans with baking cupcake liners.
- In a large bowl, stir together the cake mix and instant pudding.
- Make a well in the center and pour in the eggs, oil and water.
- Mix until well blended.
- Scoop evenly into the prepared cupcake liners.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack before removing from pan.
- Once cooled, insert an apple corer into the top of the cupcake and remove a small amount of cake from the center of the of the cake. Discard or save for another use (or eat up – it’s good!).
- Brush crumbs off the top of the cake with a pastry brush.
- To make the filling, whisk together the flour and milk.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened.
- Set aside to cool completely.
- Beat the 1/2 cup shortening, butter, sugar and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy (2-4 minutes).
- Add the milk mixture and continue to beat for 4 more minutes.
- Spoon about a third of the filling into a pastry bag. If you do not have a pastry bag, snip a small triangle piece of plastic off the corner off a zipock bag and voila! You now have a pastry bag.
- Squeeze the filling into the center of the cupcakes until the filling expands into cake and reaches the top (I filled my very full and created the bump on the top of the cupcakes). Did I mention that I love the filling?
- Combine the chocolate chips, 1/4 cup shortening, corn syrup and water in a microwave safe bowl.
- Heat on high for 30 seconds, remove, stir mixture.
- Continue to heat the mixture until it is almost melted and smooth.
- Since the mixture is hot, the chocolate will continue to melt as you stir. Once it is entirely smooth, you are ready to glaze the cupcakes.
- Take a cupcake by its bottom (!), tip over and dip the top of the cupcake into the warm chocolate mixture.
- Cover the top of the cake and smooth over the sides.
- Refrigerate until serving.
I didn’t include photos of each step in the process, but it is a pretty straight forward recipe and hopefully it’s easy to follow.
If you’re really motivated to make your cupcake look like a hostess cake, use white frosting and create a spiral on its top. Happy eating!
Let me know if you have questions or comments! BBB