Monday, June 11, 2007

Ask Not For Whom The Ding Dong Tolls

Making Twinkie Twins was a fun experience, but I was surprised at the comments. I had no idea that Hostess products were US only. I guess I had a hazy picture in my mind of stadiums around the globe filled with rabid soccer, excuse me, football fans with a Coke in one hand and a Twinkie in the other. OK, you probably are guessing that I am not a big traveler and that I don't spend a lot of time at sporting events of any kind. That's true. I'd rather be in the kitchen.

Anyway, back to the cakes. My husband was pleased with the Twinkies but then got a little downcast as I moved on to other baking projects. "Aren't you going to do Ding Dongs?" he asked with Bambi eyes. For some reason he loves Ding Dongs. I think it's the nostalgic fondness you can have for childhood foods that clouds your adult reasoning. I can think of no other reason why anyone would buy them. The cream filling tastes like shortening and the chocolate coating tastes like wax. A treat? I think not.

So I set about creating a wax-, shortening-, and additive-free version of Ding Dongs. I used Dorie Greenspan's Baking to make a fabulous dense, rich Devil's Food cake. I had Bavarian Cream left over from the Twinkie Twins, so I filled with that, and then covered it all in a bittersweet glaze. Each bite is intensely chocolatey, from the cake to the glaze to the chips studding the cake, and the cream gives it a nice, mellow counterpoint. Two forks up for this beauty!

Bittersweet Belles

Devil's Food Cake

1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 sticks (10 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup boiling water
4 oz. semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

1- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. Butter two 8 x 2 inch round cake pans, dust hte insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

2 - Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

3 - In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugars and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate. When it's fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk in 3 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.

4 - Mix in the boiling water. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with the rubber spatula.

5 - Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. (I used a cake tester.) Transfer the pans to a cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

6 - While cooling, make bittersweet glaze (recipe below)

7 - When cooled, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to slice each layer horizontally in half.

8 - Place the single layers on a baking sheet and cut into circles, using either a cookie cutter or, as I did, a tuna can with both ends cut off. (Wash thoroughly!) I got 3 circles out of a cake layer. If you used a smaller cutter you might be able to get 4.

9 - Onto a round cut from the bottom half, spread a generous layer of Bavarian Cream then place a round cut from the top half on top of the cream.

10 - Spread the cooled glaze onto the top and sides of the cake. Place into the refrigerator to firm up. Because of the Bavarian Cream, these should be stored in the refrigerator. Garnish as desired.

Bittersweet Glaze:

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream, sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat, pour the cream over the chocolate and wait 1 minute, then whisk very gently, in ever-increasing circles, until the chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Leave the glaze at room temperature until it is thick, but still pourable, a state it may take up to 4 hours to reach.

I waited a bit too long, I think. I waited almost the full 4 hours and my glaze has more of a frosting consistency. But it's still delicious!


Lydia said...

I have to admit to a fondness for Ding Dongs, too. Never was a Twinkie girl, but I loved the Butterscotch Crumpets (I think that's the name) that were Twinkie-like. These Ding Dongs look even better than the originals!

myriam said...

lynm, OHMYGOD, that is a hell of a cake. i love it! must make some of these as i faint just by hearing the word "devils food cake". adorable, thanks for the recipe!

Helen said...

Never had a Twinkie, never had a Ding Dong, but hubby was very keen on educating me!!
Loooks outrageously good.

Melinda said...

Yes, those look very nice. I can hardly wait for your version of Hostess Snowballs. I loved removing the domed cover marshmallow all in one go as a child. No such thing here in England, darn.

Nora B. said...

Such pretty little cakes!

Anh said...

Beautiful beautiful cake! I wish I lived closer to you! ;)

Thanks for sharing the childhood fav sweet. I really enjoy reading your posts.

Gabe said...

So many oh so yummy recipes, oh so little time to bake and so little grace for my hips.

kick boxing here i come.

**doffs her cap and vanishes*

DianneM said...

I did extra yoga to make up for the Ding Dong. Oh my gosh, I didn't think I would eat it all and then...hey where did it go?

Thanks for sharing the delectable treats!

DianneM said...

Ok, I just realized you used a tuna can for your cookie cutter. All those years I used a drinking glass. That is a very good idea; inspired!

Freya and Paul said...

I have no idea what a ding dong is (at least, the US version) but these baby cakes look absolutely amazing and I want one right now!

Kristen said...

Holy moly! There is a recipe out there for these? Oh my... This is next on my cravings list! Wow! Looks great.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I have never heard of ding dong, Lynn, but your version looks fabulous!
I'm stunned by how beautiful and delicious they look - and I wish I could have those cake scraps. :)

Jerry said...

I love Zebra cakes. Never a fan of twinkies or ding dongs, maybe its because they were never in the house. :) Sadness.

Brilynn said...

Those look amazing, and about 1 million times better than a real ding dong.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Lydia - I've never heard of butterscotch crumpets. Hmmm, sounds interesting.

Myriam - Thanks! Heady praise from a chocophile such as yourself.

Helen - You and your hubbie have such cross-cultural fun. I think he comes out ahead, though, with your fabulous pastries.

Melinda - I'm not sure if I can tackle Snowballs. How does one recreate that rubbery topping?

Nora - Thanks!

Anh - I would love it if you lived closer. I'd be delighted to share kitchen treats with you.

Gabe - you will love kick boxing. Are you going to Sarah's gym?

Dianne - So glad you enjoyed. It was worth the extra yoga, wasn't it?

Freya and Paul - Thanks! I hope you get a chance to bake them.

Kristen - Thanks so much. I hope to see them on your page soon.

Patricia - Not to worry, the scraps did not go to waste. They went to waist. ;-)

Jerry - I always thought Zebra cakes were fancier than plain Twinkies. I'm sure it would be easy to make that on the Twinkie Twin recipe.

Brilynn - You're so sweet. I'll trade you one for a slice of your amazing blogday cake!

Gabe said...

I wish I could but unfortunately it's too far of a drive for me to go from my house. I live 15 minutes east of Redmond. I was really hoping to do it with her but I'm most likely going to be joining a gym in Issaquah that will be only 20 minutes from my house.

**doffs her cap and vanishes**

Kelly-Jane said...

Never heard of a dingdong, but I know I want one! They look really fabulous!

Peabody said...

Oh I bet these are fantastic!

Barbara said...

OMG they look so good! I have to make them.