Ho Ho cake features layers of moist chocolate cake, cream filling and chocolate fudge frosting! It's inspired by, but tastes even better than a Hostess Ho Ho!
Why You'll Love this Recipe
This dessert is a fun throwback to the Hostess Ho Ho or Ding Dong cake childhood treats you knew and loved. Our Ho Ho cake recipe has a cake base that’s rich, moist and flavorful. The final result is an elegant dessert that look so pretty with its crisp layers. This easy cake has three parts that we give you simple step-by-step instructions for how to make and assemble it.
Instead of the usual buttercream filling, this sheet cake has a fluffy cream filling that’s light and cloud-like, and is a delicious contrast to the rich chocolate cake and frosting. Finally, we’ve topped this cake with our favorite chocolate fudge frosting. We think any dessert with this frosting is magic!
This Ho Ho sheet cake recipe is a family favorite first shared by our good friend Marilyn. We've adapted it with our own chocolate fudge frosting recipe, but we will always think of Marilyn when we eat it.
What Goes Into this Recipe
We’ve divided our ingredients into three sections: cake, chocolate fudge frosting, and cream filling.
- Cake Mix. We use a 15.25 ounce devil's food chocolate cake mix to create the base of this Ho Ho sheet cake. We alter the ingredients to make the chocolate cake even more moist and dense. Our favorite brand is Duncan Hines.
- Eggs. Large eggs work as a binder and help our batter get fluffy during the creaming process. They also help the cake rise.
- Water. Water helps blend the ingredients and adds moisture to the recipe.
- Sour cream. Sour cream adds moisture and density to the batter. It creates a tender crumb.
- Oil. Vegetable oil helps tenderize and add moisture to the cake.
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
- Chocolate chips. Semi-sweet chocolate chips add deep, rich flavor and sweetness.
- Half and half.Half and half gives a light richness and creaminess to the frosting. You could also use cream.
- Butter. Butter adds amazing flavor and richness to the frosting.
- Powdered sugar. Powdered sugar, or icing sugar, provides sweet flavor for the frosting.
Ho Ho Cake Filling
- Sugar. White sugar adds sweetness to the filling.
- Shortening. Shortening is pure fat and gives flavor to the recipe. Whipping the shortening and butter makes a fluffy Ho Ho cake filling.
- Butter. Butter adds amazing flavor.
- Evaporated milk. Evaporated milk thickens and adds creaminess to the filling.
- Vanilla. Vanilla flavors the filling.
- Salt. Salt is a flavor enhancer.
How to Make the Recipe
- Make the cake. Start with the box cake mix. Substitute ½ cup water + ½ cup sour cream for 1 cup water. Add oil and eggs. Next, cream ingredients together until cake mix disappears and then beat a full minute on medium high speed.
- Spread and bake. Spread the cake batter in greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan and bake. Cool to room temperature.
- Make the filling. For the Ho Ho cake filling, cream together sugar, shortening and butter in a medium size mixing bowl. Add evaporated milk, vanilla, and salt. Beat until fluffy, 10-15 minutes. Yes, 10-15 minutes! THIS STEP IS VITAL to give you the fluffiest filling.
- Spread the filling. Spread the filling over cooled sheet cake. Refrigerate until filling sets.
- Melting the chocolate. Heat butter and cream in a heat-proof glass measuring cup or bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds-1 minute. Immediately pour over bowl of chocolate chips and stir gently to melt.
- Blend and beat. With electric mixer, blend in 2 ½ cups powdered sugar. Beat until frosting holds shape.
- Pour frosting over cake. Immediately pour soft frosting over refrigerated cream layer.
- Spread frosting quickly. Work quickly to spread frosting over cream layer as it will begin to set. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This cake cuts easiest when cold.
- Don’t overmix. Mix cake ingredients just until combined and then about one full minute on medium speed. Overmixed cake batter will make a tough cake.
- Whip the Filling. The key to this dessert is to whip the cream filling a long time (10-15 minutes – don’t give up!)
- Use Frosting Immediately. It’s important to spread the frosting over the cake as soon as you finish making it. The frosting sets up quickly and it’s difficult to spread if you wait.
- Chill before slicing. After frosting, place the Ho Ho cake in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This will help you cut clean slices when you serve the cake and give you that crisp layered look.
- Serve at Room Temperature. While you should store this cake in the refrigerator, and slice it while it’s cold, wait to serve the slices until they have sat at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
- Make your cake mix taste homemade. To make a cake mix taste like homemade cake, we like to use a Duncan Hines cake mix to start. We follow the box instructions with some small exceptions: instead of 1 cup water, we add ½ cup water + ½ cup sour cream. Sometimes we also add one (3 ounce) package chocolate cook and serve pudding. This makes the cake more moist and gives it a homemade taste and texture. Just mix the batter as directed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this the same recipe as your other chocolate cakes?
This recipe for Ho Ho cake is a new one! A moist, dense sheet cake with a cream filling and chocolate fudge frosting.
We love our other chocolate cakes and think you will too. We have the classic Perfect Chocolate Cake recipe. You might also want to check our Cocoa Cola Cake, Chocolate Coconut Cake and Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake. They’re all delicious chocolate cake recipes!
Yes! This cake keeps really well and can be made up to three days in advance.
Absolutely. This cake recipe is fairly easy to double. Just 2x all the ingredients and follow the same instructions. You can bake it doubled in a half sheet pan (11x17-inches.)
Store this cake in the fridge. With the cream filling, the cake will stay fresh 3-4 days in an airtight container.
You can freeze this cake. We suggest slicing individual pieces then wrapping them in plastic wrap. Put wrapped pieces in an airtight container. They will keep in the freezer about three months. To serve, unwrap pieces of cake first, then bring them to room temperature.
P.S. If you tried this recipe or any other In Fine Taste recipe take a second and rate it below! We love hearing what you think. Let’s stay in touch! Sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest for more recipe ideas.
Ho Ho Cake
- 15.25 ounce package Devil’s Food cake mix
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup oil
Ho Ho Cake Filling
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup shortening
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1 (5 oz.) can evaporated milk, or ½ cup + 2 Tablespoons
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup half and half or cream
- ½ cup butter
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.
- For a box cake mix, substitute ½ cup water + ½ cup sour cream for the 1 cup water (for a moister cake). Add 3 eggs and ½ cup oil. Mix cake ingredients just until combined and then about one full minute on medium speed. Over-mixed cake batter will make a tough Ho Ho cake recipe.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cake is done when middle springs back, or a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Don't over bake.
Ho Ho Cake Filling
- Cream together sugar, shortening and butter in a medium size mixing bowl. Add in evaporated milk, vanilla, and salt. Beat until fluffy, about 10-15 minutes.
- Spread cream filling over cooled cake. Refrigerate until filling sets.
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
- Heat butter and cream in a heat-proof glass measuring cup or bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds-1 minute. Immediately pour over bowl of chocolate chips and stir gently to melt.
- With electric mixer, blend in 2 ½ cups powdered sugar to chocolate mixture, adding about ½ cup at a time. Beat until frosting holds shape. Immediately frost over cream layer. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Filling. The key to this dessert is to whip the cream filling a long time (10-15 minutes – don’t give up!)
- Chocolate Frosting. It’s important to spread the frosting over the cake as soon as you finish making it. The frosting sets up quickly and it’s difficult to spread if you wait.
- Chill before slicing. After frosting, place the cake in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This will help you cut clean slices when you serve the cake and give you that crisp layered look.
- Serve at Room Temp: While you should store this cake in the refrigerator, and slice it while it’s cold, wait to serve the slices until they have sat at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.