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Recipe hack: Hostess Ding Dongs with a vanilla twist

Chelsea is the author of the food blog Chelsea's Messy Apron where she shares a wide variety of recipes including family-friendly and easy meals, lots of baked goods and desserts, and plenty of healthy eats. She received her BA in Exerci...

If you don't like chocolate, which seems impossible, make these vanilla Ding Dongs

Usually when you think of Hostess Ding Dongs, you think chocolate-coated snack cakes with fluffy cream filling. Well, these bad boys are vanilla and stuffed with a decadent cream cheese frosting. Who needs chocolate?

It's so much fun to be able to make copycat Ding Dongs. This tutorial will guide you through on how to make your own snack cakes, but with a totally different flavor than what you can get in the store.

Vanilla Hostess Ding-Dong copycats

Start out by preparing a white cake mix according to the package directions. Alternatively you can use a white cake recipe you enjoy. I used a packaged white cake mix for these. Once you have the mix prepared, generously spray the snack cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop the batter into the snack cake pan. Then bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.

Homemade Ding Dongs

Once the snack cakes are done baking, transfer them to a wire cooling rack. Using a sharp bread knife, slice off the very tops. You can either save these to make something (like cake pops) or just discard them.

Now that the tops are removed, press a small, circular cookie cutter about halfway down into the snack cakes. With a spoon, scoop out the circular sections you cut out, being very careful to not scoop all the way through the snack cakes.

 Vanilla Hostess Ding-Dong copycats

Handle the small circle sections you remove carefully, and set them aside — you will use them later, after the cakes have been filled with frosting.

Fit a frosting bag with a star tip, and fill the bag with cream cheese frosting.

 Vanilla Hostess Ding-Dong copycats

Pipe the frosting into the cavities of the snack cakes, filling them to nearly full. Return the circle sections you removed back onto the cakes, on top of the frosting. Press them down into the cakes until they are level.

Flip over the cakes, drizzle them with caramel sauce, and top with sprinkles. Enjoy these delicious snack cakes.

 Vanilla Hostess Ding-Dong copycats

Vanilla Hostess Ding Dong copycat recipe

Yields 14-16

Ingredients:

  • 1 white cake mix plus the ingredients called for
  • 1 (16 ounce) tub cream cheese frosting
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream (not whipped)
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions. Generously spray the snack cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Using a cookie scoop, fill the cavities 3/4 of the way full with the batter.
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.
  4. Remove the cakes from the oven and then from the pan onto a cooling rack.
  5. Using a bread knife, slice off the tops, and either save them for another recipe or discard them. Press a small, circular cookie cutter halfway down into each snack cake. With a spoon, scoop out the circular sections you cut out, being very careful to not scoop all the way through the snack cakes.
  6. You will use the circle sections later, after the cakes have been filled with frosting. Fit a frosting bag with a star tip, and fill the bag with the cream cheese frosting. Pipe the frosting into each snack cake cavity, and then press the circle sections back on top.
  7. To a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the butter and brown sugar. Stir until well combined and the butter has completely melted. Add in the heavy whipping cream, and continue to stir until completely combined. Add in the vanilla. Remove the sauce from the heat (it will thicken as it cools), pour it into a resealable container, and place it into the fridge. Once the sauce has cooled and thickened, drizzle it over the cakes.
  8. Top the cakes generously with the sprinkles, if using.

More caramel recipes

Banana salted caramel cream dessert
Chocolate caramel pumpkin dessert
Spice cake with apple cider caramel sauce

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