Dec 28

Slicing the Ho Ho cake
We’re currently in Utah visiting family, hoping to get a bit more of this, so that the girls can build the snowman that they’ve been hoping for, before we head home next week:
Snowy SLC, Utah
On Sunday we had a mini birthday party for all of the family members who had birthdays this month or have birthdays coming up in the next two months.  I decided to make a chocolate cake, since the three adults have birthdays soon (me included) all love chocolate.  As I planned out the cake in my head, I knew I was going to use my favorite Devil’s Food Cake recipe.  But what to fill and cover it with?  Then I remembered a recipe for buttercream that I’ve been meaning to try making for months.  The recipe is from Robyn of Food Chronicles, and it is unbelievable—creamy and light as a cloud.  I tasted the buttercream in several forms atop cupcakes made by S’mee for the bakesale booth I was in charge of at the Daylon Run/Walk & Carnival last May. (*Side Note: Daylon came home last week! Miracles really do happen!)  Those cupcakes were DIVINE, and part of their magic was the buttercream.  As I assembled the cake in my head—heavenly buttercream sandwiched between layers of dark devil’s food cake—I thought of Ho Hos (a rolled chocolate cake filled with cream and dipped in chocolate made by the Hostess company).  It has been years since I’ve eaten a Ho Ho, but I guess the vision of dark chocolate cake combined with creamy filling triggered happy memories of a young Rachael enjoying a Ho Ho and then carefully licking any remaining traces off of her fingers.  With that thought in mind, I decided to create a cake that would be a more grown-up and sophisticated version of a Ho Ho.
Blowing out birthday candles
I made three layers of Devil’s Food Cake, then sandwiched the buttercream in between the layers and then put the cake in the fridge to chill briefly.
Assembling the cake
While the cake was chilling, I toasted some sliced almonds and made a semi-sweet chocolate ganache.  Then I spooned the ganache on top of the cake and carefully pushed it over the edges so that it began to drip down the sides.  I finished the cake off by sprinkling the top with the toasted almonds.
Adding the chocolate ganache and toasted almonds to the Ho Ho Cake
The cake ended up being even better than I had hoped, but this cake is not for the faint of heart.
A slice of Ho Ho Cake
Three layers of dark moist devil’s food cake filled with creamy buttercream and topped with rich chocolate ganache and toasted almonds is a serious cake. As I finished off my piece of cake that evening, I found myself licking my fingers, and I smiled—grownup Rachael had found her new Ho Ho.
Decadent Ho Ho Cake

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Ho Ho Cake

Makes approximately 14 servings

Recipe Notes: This cake is very moist, so be careful when removing it from the cake pans.  You can substitute a variety of toppings for the toasted almonds—crushed candy cane, fresh berries, chocolate curls, etc.

For the Devil’s Food Cake: (adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2008)
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder, sifted
2 cups ice water

For the Buttercream: (adapted from Food Chronicles buttercream recipe)
5 cups confectioner’s sugar
scant 1/2 cup hot/boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups (5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup sliced almonds

For the Chocolate Ganache:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup whipping cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9.5 inch cake pans. Dust with granulated sugar.

2. Make the cake batter: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium size bowl. Using a mixer, beat the sugar and butter together in a large bowl until well blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the yolk. Add the cocoa and beat well until well blended. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternatively with the ice water in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mix and beating until just blended and smooth after each addition. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops.

3. Bake the cakes: Bake the cakes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in the pans on cooling racks for 15 minutes, then invert the cakes onto the cooling racks and cool completely.

4. Make the buttercream: Put the confectioner’s sugar in a large mixing bowl. With the electric mixer running on its slowest speed, slowly add in the hot/boiling water. Then add the vanilla and salt and mix well. Add the butter and continue mixing on slow for about 20 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-slow and mix for another 20 seconds. Then turn the mixer to medium-high and let the buttercream mix for 15 minutes.

5. Begin assembling the cake: Place one cake layer on a platter, bottom side up. Spoon a little less than half of the buttercream over the cake, spread evenly to the edges. Top with a second cake layer, bottom side up. Spoon the same amount of buttercream over the cake layer, spreading it evenly to the edges. Top with the third cake layer, bottom side down. Chill the cake for about 30 minutes before adding the chocolate ganache.

6. Make the toasted almonds: In a medium pan, dry toast the sliced almonds over medium-high heat until slightly golden. Transfer to a cool plate to prevent the nuts from continuing to cook.

7. Make the chocolate ganache: Place the chocolate in a medium-size bowl. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring the cream to a strong simmer. Remove the cream from the heat and pour it over the chocolate chips, and let it stand for a couple of minutes. Then slowly stir, or whisk, the chocolate and cream together until it is smooth and glossy. Let the ganache rest for 10 minutes before using it to glaze the top of the cake. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top of the cake. Let the cake chill briefly before serving.

8. Finish assembling the cake: Spoon half of the ganache on the middle of the top layer of cake. With the back of a spoon, slowly spread the ganache over the top of the cake. Spoon the rest of the ganache onto the middle of the top layer of cake. Use the spoon to gently spread the ganache so that it begins to spread over the sides of the cake and down the sides. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Ethan December 28, 2010 at 12:14 pm

that looks incredible. I love how you let your inner child loose, but reigned her in slightly to make an adult version of your ho ho!
p.s. licking chocolate off of fingers is acceptable at any age!


Paula December 28, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I’d be Ho Ho Ho-ing all the way to the cake plate and back until it was empty! This looks delicious.


Fuji Nana December 28, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Oh yum. It’s only 14 weeks until MY birthday. Maybe if I lose a pound/week between now and then, I can have you make it for me.


marla {family fresh cooking} December 28, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Rachael – you have outdone yourself with this one! This is a ho ho like none other. Hope you all had an amazing b’day celebration together. xo


Liz the Chef December 28, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Wow – what a creation! Lucky you can all celebrate together! Come home safely – another big storm blows in SoCAL after midnight…


Abigail (aka Mamatouille) December 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Oh my word! I want to have my birthday somewhere in your vicinity! :) That looks gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think I ever had a Ho-Ho but I can imagine by looking at this cake.


[email protected] December 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Oh my goodness… I think I am looking at the next cake I will be making!!
This looks truly decadent and a perfect way to celebrate a birthday!


Barbara Bakes December 28, 2010 at 5:03 pm

A slice of this cake would make me jolly for sure! It looks scrumptious! Looking forward to seeing you soon!


Erika - In Erika's Kitchen December 28, 2010 at 7:39 pm

I am SO hoping you’re bringing back a piece of this cake for me!


Brian December 29, 2010 at 7:46 am

YUM!!!!!! :)


Diane {} December 29, 2010 at 9:34 am

Looks delicious and you certainly described is just like a Ho Ho…mmm I remember them since childhood and would love a bite of this!


Heather (Heather's Dish) December 29, 2010 at 10:05 am

i’ve never loved ho ho’s but i think this cake is screaming my name!


Barbara | VinoLuciStyle December 29, 2010 at 10:22 am

My idea of a perfect cake! Love chocolate cake but not with chocolate frosting but yes, I could do buttercream and ganache…I can and will do! Should I say it? Yummalummahoho (cause dingdong just doesn’t seem right)!


Paula - bell'alimento December 29, 2010 at 12:31 pm

And I didn’t think I could love you anymore ; ) swoon!


Jennifer December 29, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I love ho hos and this looks like the perfect adult version. Wish I could take a piece out of the computer screen.


Maria December 29, 2010 at 6:17 pm

WOW-now that is a cake! Hats off to you! Did you save me a piece? :)


Darla @ Bakingdom January 8, 2011 at 8:06 am

Ooooo! My birthday is very, VERY soon…and this looks like just the thing I need to make sure it’s a very happy birthday! Thanks!!


Karen May 13, 2012 at 7:22 pm

I made this cake to take to our Mothers’ Day dinner. It was a hit and got rave reviews!! I got the recipe from Best Friends for Frosting featuring your recipe.


chanda blower October 12, 2013 at 11:12 am

I have made this twice, going for a third this weekend for a potluck for work! It is amazing, always comes out just right! And it never lasts long, it’s devoured in my house!


Rachel September 18, 2014 at 3:18 pm

I modified this recipe into cupcakes, use the icing as the middle cream and did the chocolate ganache ontop and WOW my family now says I make better cupcakes than hostess! Thanks for the recipe!


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