On Christmas Eve my family gets together and everyone brings a dish to share. Each year I generally bring a dessert. Last year I went all out and made a 6 layer chocolate mousse cake with hazelnut japonaise drenched in a layer of ganache and chocolate shavings. It was decadence on a plate. This year I desired to do something much simpler, yet still really yummy. Enter the humble Ho-Ho. (That would be the snack cake Ho-Ho, not the street walking ho-ho.)
One of the first blogs I ever stumbled upon was Brown Eyed Baker. I’ve made about a dozen or so of her recipes and after tinkering with them to suit our personal tastes I realized that I enjoyed every single one. There hasn’t been one recipe that didn’t taste good. That’s rare in my opinion, so when I saw her post for this cake, I knew I’d found what I was going to be making for our family Christmas gathering.
Do you remember when Twinkies and Ho-Ho’s were made with real ingredients? I do. Sadly, GMOs chemicals, preservatives, and artificial colors and flavors replaced the real ingredients and it seemed consumers were none the wiser. Times have changed and we’re demanding to know what is in our food and we’re educating ourselves and reading labels. Since I’m a label reader and I’ve committed our family to eating organic and trying to avoid GMOs entirely (the jury is still out if that is even possible) I did need to make a few changes to this recipe. I made my cake from scratch and I used all organic ingredients, or ingredients that were labeled Non-GMO.
Seeing that there are good, quality, organic chocolate cake mixes available I won’t share my homemade chocolate cake recipe at this time. I want to keep this recipe as simple as my brown eyed baking friend did, so we’ll use a boxed cake mix. I generally always make my cakes from scratch, but if I do use a boxed mix it won’t contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, chemical preservatives, additives, artificial flavors and colors/dyes. In short it’s an organic, GMO-Free cake mix. This does not mean that you have to follow in my footsteps. Of course I’d be thrilled if you did, but as I’ve stated before all my recipes can be made with non-organic ingredients. I didn’t go GMO free over night. My journey has spanned over a decade. It was one baby step at a time.
Alright- onto this cake which tastes like a Ho-Ho. Again people, the SNACK CAKE, not the street walker. Geesh- such a randy group of readers- tsk tsk! Seriously, what’s not to love about a dense devils food cake with a layer of sweet, creamy filling topped with a light, smooth chocolate frosting? I can’t think of anything about this cake that doesn’t sound loveable. Can you? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Aren’t you happy that pretty much everything I make is love on a plate?
This cake did take a little bit of time to assemble. There was a significant amount of down time involved- which gave me time to clean up in between steps, and put my feet up. Baking is hard work and this Kitchen Princess gets a wee bit pooped out after spending days baking assorted holiday goodies. Don’t you?
I apologize for the low quality photos that don’t do this cake justice. After making two of these for both sides of our family’s Christmas gatherings, I’d completely forgotten to take ANY pictures. So as I was sitting down to eat this slice at my Sister-In-Law’s home, I broke out the trusty iPhone and snapped these award winning photos. Alright, so I really didn’t win any awards for these photos, or the cake, but people were “mmm’ing” and “ooo’ing” while eating it and everyone said it was really good without being coerced. Not that I coerce people. I leave that to my Italian hubby and his brothers. (wink)
Chocolate Ho-Ho Cake
Recipe adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker
Time: 20-23 minutes to bake and 60-90 minutes of prep
- 1 box of organic chocolate cake mix (It should be about 18 ounces)
- Plus ingredients needed to make the cake per package directions
For the Filling:
- 1¼ cups organic whole milk
- 5 tablespoons organic all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
- 1 cup organic granulated sugar
- ½ cup organic salted butter
- ½ cup organic, non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
For the Icing:
- 3-1/4 cups organic powdered sugar
- ½ cup organic salted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 5 ounces high quality semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 tablespoons organic whole milk
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1-1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
- Mix together the cake mix as directed on package and bake in a 10×15-inch sheet pan/jelly roll pan, greased and/or floured, as instructed on the box. Cool the cake to room temperature.
- Combine the milk and flour in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding, about 7 to 9 minutes. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
- Next, cream together the sugar, butter and shortening on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the cooled flour/milk mixture and beat on high for 7 minutes- this is important so set a timer. Gently spread on the cooled cake and refrigerate until set. This took about 45 minutes for my cakes.
- In a large bowl, mix together all of the icing ingredients on medium-high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Carefully spread chocolate icing over the filling on the cake. **If your filling layer is NOT set/not firm enough your icing will mix into the filling and it won’t look or taste right.**
- Decorate with chocolate shavings or sprinkles if desired and return cake to the fridge to set for about 15 minutes. Cut, serve and enjoy.
Leftovers can be covered with plastic and stored in the fridge. You won’t have any leftovers.
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