Okay, if you’ve been following along, you saw my earlier post for what I believe might be the best chocolate cake ever. It is a version of a ding dong cake, made with a dark chocolate fudge cake, layered with a fluffy white filling, and topped with decadent chocolate ganache. Well…things just got serious.
We were invited to a party at my aunt’s house today, and I was trying to think of something to take to eat. My oldest daughter suggested that we turn the ding dong cake into a cupcake. It sounded great to me, so we decided to give it a shot. Oh. My. Goodness. You have GOT to try these cupcakes. They are seriously incredible. And, don’t worry…even though they look difficult, even if you are not an experienced baker, you can do this. I know we might have just met. Online. But really, trust me. Give it a chance. Your friends and family can thank me later.
All you have to do is prepare a Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix, following the directions on the box. Instead of a cake, place cupcake liners in regular sized muffin tins and bake them according to the directions on the box. You should get 24 cupcakes from a box of cake mix. Go ahead and make two boxes of them. You’re definitely going to want more than 24 of these! Once they are finished baking, remove them from the pans and let them cool completely. Or, if you get tired and want to go ahead to bed, proceed with the next step without letting them cool like I did.
Make your filling while the cupcakes are baking. For the filling, you will need to cream together a stick of softened (not melted) unsalted butter and a package of softened cream cheese. After these are mixed thoroughly, add three cups of powdered sugar, one at a time. Finally, you will remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to fold in one eight ounce container of thawed whipped topping.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, look around and see if you have a melon baller. If you do, it is probably buried deep in a drawer because chances are you don’t actually use it for melons very often. You might even be in the process of decluttering your home like I am and have it packed in your six-month holding box and have to dig it out. Don’t worry, though. Once you’ve tried these cupcakes, you’re going to be using it again soon. If you don’t have one, an ordinary teaspoon or teaspoon measuring spoon will work, too. You need to scoop out the center of the cupcake so that you can fill it with the creamy filling. Begin by cutting a circle in the diameter you plan to use. If you are using the melon baller, just insert the large side into the cupcake and twist to make a complete circle. Scoop out the filling, keeping the top part of the cupcake in tact.
Take the part that you scooped out and, using a serrated knife, slice about 1/4 inch off the top of the part you removed from the cupcake. This will be the part you put back over the filling to cover it back up. Don’t worry about matching these up to the exact cupcake they were removed from because it won’t matter. Just slice off your tops and set them aside. Feel free to eat the leftover parts you removed from the center of the cupcakes. I won’t tell anyone. You might want to wait and stick a little of the filling on them though for an even better treat.
Okay, now take some of the filling and put it into a pastry bag, or if you are like me and don’t remember whether or not you threw your pastry bags away in your great kitchen clean out, just use a freezer ziploc bag. Make sure you use a freezer bag, though, because the sandwich bags tend to explode. Trust me…I’m speaking from experience. If you’re going to pastry-bag route, any large tip will do. You won’t see this, anyway, once you put the cupcake topper back into place. If you’re using the freezer bag, like I did, cut a small bit off the bottom corner of the bag. Twist the bag over the top of the filing so that it doesn’t get squeezed out of the top, and start to fill your cupcakes. You will need to fill them to just below the top.
Now comes the hard part…you need to cover them and place them in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight so that the filling hardens and “glues” the cupcake lids on top. You should have a LOT of filling left over. I placed mine in the refrigerator in the ziploc bag and used it for decorating the tops. I still had filling left over, so I’m going to dip strawberries in it later. 😉
Once the cupcakes have set (preferably the next morning), you need to make a batch of chocolate ganache. Heat a cup of heavy cream and a tablespoon of butter over medium heat, stirring until it just begins to boil. Meanwhile, pour a bag of semisweet chocolate chips into a medium sized bowl. Once the cream is starting to barely bubble all over the top, pour it over the chocolate chips. Use a whisk and stir it until the chocolate is completely melted. It will look like you have don’t something wrong. Don’t worry…just keep whisking. When it is ready, it will be a beautiful, shiny, smooth chocolate. Get the cupcakes out of the refrigerator. Take each cupcake and dip the top of it into the ganache, turning once to coat it all. As you lift it, twist it slightly so that the chocolate smooths itself on top. If any of the top isn’t covered, you can use a spatula to dip a bit more ganache onto it and spread it gently around to cover it all. Put these back into the refrigerator to let the ganache harden. You can certainly serve them at that point, or you can use the leftover filling to make decorations on top. I did some random swirls, but you could easily do a letter or monogram or even polka dots. I just like the little hint that there is a filling inside. If you have any ganache left over, put it into a glass jar and stick it into the fridge. It is a great dip for fruits. Just warm it for a few seconds in the microwave first!
Ding Dong CUPcakes with Chocolate Ganache
- 2 boxes of Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix, prepared as directed into 48 cupcakes
- 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups of powdered sugar
- 1 8 oz. container of Cool Whip
- 1 bag of semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon of unsalted butter
Prepare the cupcakes according to the directions on the box. Allow them to cool completely.
To make the filling, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Once it is fully incorporated, fold in the whipped topping.
Using either a melon baller or teaspoon measuring spoon, scoop a circular indention from the middle, leaving the piece you are removing in tact. With a serrated knife, slice the top off the piece you removed and set it aside. Put the filling into a pastry bag or freezer ziploc bag with a small piece cut off the bottom corner. Squeeze the filling into the indention until you almost reach the top. Take the tops you sliced off the pieces you removed, and put one back onto each cupcake to cover the filling. Press it down so that it is even with the rest of the cupcake top. The tops should hide the filling inside the cupcakes.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight so that the filling hardens and “glues” the cupcake lids in place. The next day, prepare the ganache by placing the bag of chocolate chips into a medium bowl. Heat the heavy cream and tablespoon of butter over medium heat until it starts to develop small bubbles all over the top. Pour it over the chocolate chips. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache looks smooth and shiny. Remove the cupcakes from the refrigerator and dip the top of each one into the ganache to coat. Use a spatula to fill in any places that do not get coated and to smooth the tops when needed. Place the cupcakes, uncovered, back into the refrigerator until the ganache is hardened. You can serve them at this point, or decorate the tops with the leftover filling. If you have ganache left over, use it (and any remaining filling) to dip fresh fruit into! *I had a lot of filling left over. Store the leftover cupcakes, filling, and ganache in the refrigerator.