Calling all chocolate lovers! Discover the ultimate indulgence with this giant ding-dong cupcake recipe, a grand twist on a beloved classic. This luxurious dessert features rich, dense double chocolate cake, with a silky vanilla custard cream filling, and crowned with a smooth chocolate ganache. It’s an exquisite combination that elevates the traditional Ding Dong to a spectacular new level, perfect for special occasions or as a sumptuous treat.

As a child, I had a fondness for the iconic Hostess Ding Dongs snack cakes, but I wanted to create a version that was not just bigger but also packed with homemade goodness. This Giant Ding Dong Cupcake is my take on transforming a simple pleasure into a gourmet experience, with each component made from scratch for a truly special dessert that’s as satisfying to make as it is to devour. You will absolutely love the moist chocolate cake, creamy filling and rich ganache.

This recipe will be a hit if you love chocolate desserts like me! You should also try my favorite chocolate cake recipe, Double Chocolate Cake.

Delicious Giant Ding-Dong Cupcake

The Chemistry of Giant Ding Dong Cupcakes

The magic in this recipe lies in the precise interaction of ingredients. The cake’s moistness comes from the buttermilk, which reacts with the baking soda for a tender rise, while the hot water intensifies the coco’s flavor, making the chocolate notes richer and deeper. The custard’s creamy texture is achieved through tempering- gradually raising the temperature of the egg yolks with the hot cream prevents them from curdling, ensuring a smooth, rich filling. The ganache topping is a study in careful heat application, melting the chocolate with cream to create a glossy finish that solidifies just enough to form a luscious coating.

How do you ensure the ding-dong cupcake doesn’t dry out during baking?

The key to mastering this rich chocolate cake is to keep a close eye on the baking time and temperature; over-baking is a common culprit for dry cakes. Using ingredients like buttermilk and eggs at room temperature can also help retain moisture. If you follow the recipe below carefully, you are sure to bake the perfect chocolate cake.

Can the custard filling be made in advance?

Absolutely! The custard can be prepared up to two days ahead and stored in the refrigerator, making assembly quicker and easier.

Delicious Giant Ding-Dong Cupcake

What’s the best way to fill the ding-dong cupcakes without them cracking?

Ensure the ding-dong cupcakes are completely cool before filling. Use a piping bag with a long, narrow tip to inject the custard gently to avoid splitting the cake.

How do you achieve a smooth ganache without it seizing?

Heat the chocolate and cream in short bursts in the microwave, stirring in between to distribute the heat evenly. If the ganache begins to seize, a small addition of warm cream can help smooth it out. Ganache pairs perfectly with these ding-dong cupcakes, much better than chocolate frosting.

What is in giant ding dong cupcakes?

All-purpose Flour

Builds structure as it absorbs liquids and expands. All-purpose flour falls in the middle of bread flour (high in gluten) and cake flour (low in gluten). It’s exactly what it is named, all-purpose, the most universal flour that can be used in most baked goods.

Granulated Sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter. It helps add moisture to your treat and helps it evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Cocoa Powder

Provides a rich, sweet chocolate flavor. Creates a dark brown color in your treat. Absorbs water in your batter or dough at the same rate as flour. That means, if you add too much, you could end up with a dried, crumbly finished product.

Baking Powder

Puffs up your batter or dough instead of spreading it out. Baking powder contains a little bit of baking soda, an acid & cornstarch. Because of this, it only needs a liquid to react. It also consists of two different acids, so it’s double reacting. It reacts as soon as it’s mixed with a moisture and then again when it’s heated up.

Baking Soda

Elevates the pH level of your batter or dough. It increases the spread in your treat and encourages browning, which gives the crispy outside and soft inside texture that everyone loves. Baking soda needs both an acid and a liquid to react. Things that will activate your baking soda are: vinegar, fruit juice, molasses, brown sugar, tartar, buttermilk and sour cream. Baking soda only reacts once, which is right when it’s mixed into your batter or dough. The soda creates little air bubbles all throughout your treat. When the air bubbles get heated up in the oven, they expand.

Fine Sea Salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt, it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your treat, making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.

Hot Water

Helps to bloom the cocoa powder, making the chocolate flavor more intense.

Vegetable Oil

100% fat, contains no water and has a higher melting point. This means it will not melt down in your oven, resulting in thicker cookies or brownies. It doesn’t help leaven your treat like butter can, so it can make your treat flatter and greasier.

Eggs

Adds both a protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because, when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the egg white mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking, which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick treats. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters and doughs together and help them from collapsing. Unless otherwise specified, always use large eggs.

Buttermilk

Adds moisture and helps to tenderize the gluten, creating a soft crumb and tangy flavor. It also helps rise the pH level of your batter, increasing the rise from the baking powder.

Milk

Adds moisture to the batter or dough. Milk adds protein and sugar (lactose) to your treat. It encourages browning and adds a bit more sweetness to your baked treat.

Egg Yolks

Adding extra egg yolks to your batter will add extra richness and chewiness to your cookie or brownie.

Cornstarch

Helps create a crumbly tender texture to toppings. Softens cookies, brownies and cakes. And it can also thicken sauces and fillings.

Chocolate Chips

Is a form of chocolate. Chocolate chips are not pure chocolate, they are typically made up of cocoa, sugar, emulsifier and vanilla.

Heavy Whipping Cream

Makes a softer, more spreadable frosting. When melted with chocolate it adds more fat and moisture to the mixture, resulting in a silkier blend.

Delicious Giant Ding-Dong Cupcake

How to temper eggs

  • Heat the cream, milk and sugar in a sauce pan
  • Crack and separate the egg yolks into a bowl, then whisk them up
  • Once the cream mixture is piping hot, but not yet boiling, slowly pour in about 1/4 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks while you are rapidly whisking the yolks
  • Repeat that process 5 times
  • Slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the sauce pan with the remaining cream mixture, while rapidly whisking the cream

By following this process, you will cook the egg yolks without having to worry about them solidifying.

slowly pouring the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks
slowly pouring the egg yolk mixture into the hot cream mixture

Step by Step Instructions

Cupcake

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
  2. In a standing mixer combine all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (you can use kosher salt if you do not have sea salt. Also, if you would rather, you can use a large bowl and a hand mixer instead of a standing mixer)
  3. Turn the mixer on low and add the wet ingredients, pour in the hot water (you could also use hot coffee) and vegetable oil. After you have poured both in, turn off the mixer.
  4. Add the eggs and stir until just combined.
  5. Turn the mixer on low again and pour the buttermilk in. Add the vanilla extract in after.
  6. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth.
  7. Pour the cake batter evenly into a giant cupcake pan lined with 12 fluted baking cups (cupcake liners). Try your best to divide batter evenly between the cups. If you are using the liners, there is no need for cooking spray.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the cakes and allow them to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Once cooled, remove.

Custard

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, milk, and sugar. Turn the stove top on medium heat and allow the cream mixture to scald but not boil.
  2. While the cream is cooking, whisk the egg yolks into a small bowl.
  3. Now, you are going to temper the egg yolks. Get a 1/4 measuring cup and scoop up some of the hot cream. Slowly pour the hot liquid into the egg yolk while you whisk rapidly.
  4. Repeat this process until you have done it a total of 4 times. Adding 1 cup of hot liquid into the egg yolks.
  5. Slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan while you whisk the hot cream.
  6. Allow the cream mixture to simmer and thicken.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and the pinch of salt. Whisk the mixture.
  8. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and water. Whisk until smooth.
  9. Slowly pour the cornstarch into the hot custard while you are whisking.
  10. Allow the mixture to cook until thick. Remove from heat.
  11. Strain the custard through a sieve into a bowl.
  12. Cover the custard with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge. You must chill for at least 4 hours.

Ganache

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips & cream. Microwave for 30 seconds.
  2. Stir rapidly. Repeat the heating cycle with another 30 seconds.
  3. Stir again. Continue stirring until smooth. If necessary, microwave for 30 more seconds. Be careful not to burn your chocolate.

Assemble

  1. Before you assemble, it is important to let the custard and cake cool. Spoon chilled custard into a pastry bag with a Wilton 12 piping tip.
  2. Carefully insert the tip into the center of each cupcake and squeeze the custard in until the cupcake looks a bit chubbier. Be careful not to squeeze in too much, or it will all come pouring back out. Once you feel a bit of resistance, you are done.
  3. Spread the warm ganache on top of the filled cupcake with an offset spatula. Allow the ganache to set before serving.
Delicious Giant Ding-Dong Cupcake

Storage Tips

Store the completed ding-dong cupcakes in the refrigerator due to the custard filling. They will stay in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Let them come to room temperature before serving to enjoy the full flavor and texture for the best results.

Freezing Options

For longer storage, freeze unfilled ding-dong cupcakes for up to a month. Thaw, then fill and top with ganache before serving.

Making Ahead

Prepare the custard and the chocolate cake a day in advance. This breaks up the preparation time and ensures each element is ready to assemble smoothly.

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Why make giant ding dong cupcakes?

Envision you holding a platter of beautifully crafted homemade ding dongs, yes just like the Hostess Cupcakes, its glossy ganache topping glinting under soft lighting. Biting into one revealing its luscious custard core. This is an elegant and decadent dessert, an exciting project for any home baker looking to impress with their culinary skills.

Recipes You May Love

Giant Ding Dong Cupcake Recipe

Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Assemble: 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Rich, dense, moist double chocolate cake filled with vanilla custard and topped with chocolate ganache.

Ingredients 

Cupcake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cup hot water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla Custard

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp water

Ganache

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions

Cupcake

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
  • In a standing mixer combine all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • Turn the mixer on low and pour the hot water and vegetable oil in. Turn off the mixer after you have poured both in.
  • Add the eggs and stir until just combined.
  • Turn the mixer on low again and pour the buttermilk in. Add the vanilla extract in after.
  • Continue mixing until the batter is smooth.
  • Pour the batter evenly into a giant cupcake pan that has been lined with 12 fluted baking cups.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the cake and allow to cool in the pan. Once cooled, remove.

Custard

  • In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, milk, and sugar. Turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the cream mixture to scald but not boil.
  • While the cream is cooking, whisk the egg yolks into a small bowl.
  • Now, you are going to temper the egg yolks. Get a 1/4 measuring cup and scoop up some of the hot cream. Slowly pour the hot liquid into the egg yolk while you whisk rapidly.
  • Repeat this process until you have done it a total of 4 times. Adding 1 cup of hot liquid into the egg yolks.
  • Slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan while you whisk the hot cream.
  • Allow the cream mixture to simmer and thicken.
  • Add the vanilla extract and the pinch of salt. Whisk the mixture.
  • In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and water. Whisk until smooth.
  • Slowly pour the cornstarch into the hot custard while you are whisking.
  • Allow the mixture to cook until thick. Remove from heat.
  • Strain the custard through a sieve into a bowl.
  • Cover the custard and place it in the fridge to chill. You must chill for at least 4 hours.

Ganache

  • In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips & cream. Microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Stir rapidly. Repeat the heating cycle with another 30 seconds.
  • Stir again. Continue stirring until smooth. If necessary, microwave for 30 more seconds. Be careful not to burn your chocolate.

Assemble

  • Take chilled custard and spoon it into a piping back with a Wilton 12 piping tip.
  • Carefully insert the tip into each cupcake and squeeze the custard in until the cupcake looks a bit chubbier. Be careful not to squeeze in too much or else it will all come pouring back out. Once you feel a bit of resistance, you are done.
  • With a frosting spatula, spread the warm ganache on top of the filled cupcake. Allow the ganache to set before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 899kcal Carbohydrates: 116g Protein: 11g Fat: 46g Saturated Fat: 21g Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g Monounsaturated Fat: 12g Trans Fat: 0.1g Cholesterol: 106mg Sodium: 524mg Potassium: 447mg Fiber: 6g Sugar: 82g Vitamin A: 844IU Vitamin C: 0.3mg Calcium: 170mg Iron: 5mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.

Delicious Giant Ding-Dong Cupcake