Homemade ding dongs: A small batch chocolate cupcake recipe stuffed with marshmallow fluff and topped with an easy chocolate ganache frosting.
I had one of those weeks where I just needed a bite of junk food. Well, 4 bites…err, 4 whole cupcakes.
I went to Texas for a quick trip, but landed in Urgent Care with Camille for a double ear infection. Everything is fine; we’re back home now after a slight delay, but man, it was a hard week. I don’t handle sleep deprivation too well (it’s funny how little they talk of this in baby-prep classes), and I’m still struggling to catch up.
So, I need comfort in the form of a mini chocolate cake. And not just any chocolate cake. I want it to be a cupcake stuffed with fluffy marshmallow cream, as in a homemade ding dong! In order to get to that hidden bit of marshmallow heaven, I want to bite through the thickest, richest chocolate ganache frosting. Specific/nitpicky/annoying, I know.
So, I rolled up the sleeves on the denim shirt I wear about 4 days out of the week, and made a small batch of chocolate cupcakes and turned them into homemade ding dongs. My recipe makes just 4 cupcakes. Since this is Dessert for Two, I figure two people can hold a cupcake in each hand, and have two big grins on their face. Ergo, 4 cupcakes = 2 servings. It’s the only kind of math I’m good at.
I’ve made a lot of chocolate cupcakes in my day, and I have some wisdom to pass on:
- Hate me forever, but cupcakes are softer when they’re made with oil instead of butter. Unless, of course, you eat the cupcakes hot right out of the oven. Or, another exception is when the cupcake batter contains sour cream. But, in general, butter hardens at room temperature, making a cupcake too firm.
- My go-to small batch chocolate cupcake recipe doesn’t require eggs. No real reason; I just found all the lift I need in buttermilk + baking soda.
- If you don’t have buttermilk, add a splash of vinegar (like, 1/2 teaspoon) to your milk about 5 minutes before you need to use it. You can also thin-out some sour cream with milk instead. Or, yogurt! We have options here!
I saved a small scoop of strawberry marshmallow fluff after making my strawberry rice crispy treats, and used them as the filling in these cupcakes. But, plain vanilla marshmallow cream is excellent, still. It’s also way more authentic to regular ding dongs, and you can use any leftovers in my quick peanut butter marshmallow cookies. So is that little white frosting curlicue thingie that should be on the top, but I’m not about to attempt that. Forgive me?
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
- 4 teaspoons neutral oil (like canola, grapeseed or vegetable oil)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
For the filling and frosting:
- 1/4 cup marshmallow fluff (any flavor)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup chopped chocolate (milk, bittersweet, whatever you like)
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 350, and line 4 cups with cupcake liners in a muffin pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the espresso powder (if using), oil, vanilla and brown sugar.
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the oil mixture, and mix well.
- Then, add half of the buttermilk and continue to stir.
- Finally, add the remaining flour followed by the buttermilk, and stir everything until evenly combined.
- Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups.
- Bake for 16-17 minutes, until the tops spring back and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with only moist crumbs clinging to it.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely.
- In a small bowl, beat together the marshmallow fluff and butter until light and fluffy.
- Scrape the marshmallow mixture into a piping bag (or plastic bag with the tip cut off), and insert a large frosting tip.
- Pipe the marshmallow filling into the center of each cupcake. (See photo for reference).
- Watch the surface of the cupcakes carefully as you pipe the marshmallow filling inside--it will slightly puff up when it's at capacity.
- Next, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in 30-second pulses in the microwave. Dunk each cupcake upside down in the melted chocolate, and let set before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 168mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 1gSugar: 23gProtein: 3g