Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ho Ho cake

Let me clear up something right now -- this is not a Christmas cake.  Get those visions of a rotund man in a red and white suit out of your head.  If I wanted you to think of Santa, I would've named it a Ho ho ho cake.  Everyone knows that Santa's hos come in threes.

...um.  You know what I mean.  No disrespect, Mrs. Claus.

Anyway.  While this isn't specifically a Christmas cake, it could be one.  It could also just as easily be an Easter cake.  Or an Earth Day cake.  Or a "hey it's Tuesday!" cake.  Maybe that's what I should've titled this post because, by Tuesday, aren't we all totally over that Monday morning resolution to eat really healthfully and purge our systems of all junk and sugar?  Mm hmm.

But there's something about a Ho-Ho cake that piques one's interest. This kind of Ho-Ho.  The extinct kind.  Or, to some folks, a Swiss roll.  Chocolate sponge cake rolled with creamy vanilla filling and a hardened chocolate shell.  Everybody loves 'em!

That's why you shouldn't wait for a special occasion to make this cake.  It's easy.  Really, really easy.  And it's meant to be shared.  It's the kind of cake that you'd expect your grandma to just have for no good reason.  This is the kind of cake that would make an entire lunch table of elementary (or high school) kids totally jealous of the lucky recipient.  It's a cake that just makes people happy.  And that's all anyone should ever want from a cake!

It's also the kind of cake that may result in a sugary dusting of your cell phone.  Oops.  But that's not the point.

The real point is this cake.  Chocolate cake with creamy vanilla topping and chocolate icing.  How bad can that be?!

Thank goodness this makes one giant cake because it's also a gotta-go-back-for-seconds-and-thirds-cake.  It's moist and decadent without being dense or too rich to enjoy.  You know, to justify seconds and thirds.

Just enough cake.  Just enough icing.  Just enough happiness to make any day a little better.  :)

One year ago: Roasted carrots and onions with goat cheese
Two years ago: Crock Pot chicken taco chili

Ho Ho Cake
(adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

A few notes: I halved the original recipe with great success.  Measured out the cake mix, which amounts to 3 cups dry, and used 1 1/2 cups, saving the other for later cupcakes or use.  Per preparation instructions on the box, I halved those ingredients, too, and poured the batter into a 10x12-inch glass baking dish for 25 minutes.  Finally, if you use unsalted butter, just be sure to add a pinch of salt into the filling and icing.

For the cake:
1 box (18.25 ounces) chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge)

For the filling:
1 1/4 cups milk
5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening

For the chocolate icing:
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
2 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the cake per the instructions in the box, and pour batter into a 10-x15-inch jelly roll pan that's been coated with nonstick spray.  Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, make the filling by combining the milk and flour in a small saucepan over low heat.  Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding.  Set aside to cool to room temperature. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream sugar, butter, and shortening on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add cooled flour milk mixture and beat on high for 7 minutes.  Spread on the cooled cake and refrigerate until set, at least 30 minutes.

Make the icing by mixing together all of the ingredients in the large bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium high speedy until creamy and smooth.  Spread over the filling on the cake (dollop on top to minimize mixing of filling and icing, but it's not a national emergency if they do blend) and serve.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days.  Enjoy!


  1. Great looking cake. Terrible looking cell phone!

  2. I hear you can still get Hostess snacks in Canada. But having tried this, I can say it's even better.