Drake’s Ring-Ding-Type Dessert Snacks, Gluten-Free

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This recipe was originally published in 2015

Excerpt from Nicole Hunn’s book Gluten-Free Classic Snacks.

Drake’s Ring Dings—or Hostess Cupcakes, for that matter—have a moist, dense, devil’s-food-style cake with a smooth, creamy filling, all covered in a thick layer of rich chocolate glaze. While I was growing up, they were always my favorite chocolate snack cake.

A couple of companies make special pans for homemade snack cakes like Ring Dings. Among them are Wilton (theirs is called a 12-Cavity Spool Cake Pan) and Fat Daddio (theirs is called a Choco Creme Snack Cake Pan or a Classic Chocolate-Covered Wheel Cupcake pan). 

But a standard 12-cup muffin tin works perfectly well. In fact, Nordic Ware makes a standard 12-cup aluminum muffin tin with wells that are relatively straight-sided. They’d make lovely homemade Ring Dings.

These snack cakes are best enjoyed within 2 days of being glazed, but they will keep up to a month wrapped individually I freezer-safe wrap and frozen. Defrost at room temperature. The chocolate coating may bloom a bit over time, but it won’t affect the taste at all.

For more delicious gluten-free recipes on brand-name treats you love, purchase Gluten-Free Classic Snacks

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cup (327 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature
  • ½ cup (120 g) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (280 g) all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • ¾ cup (60 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups (10 2/3 fluid ounces) warm water
  • 1 tablespoon (7 g) unflavored powdered gelatin
  • ¼ cup (2 fluid ounces) water
  • 2 cups (16 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons (14 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons (56 g) virgin coconut oil

Directions

1Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease 12 single-serving wells of an appropriate snack cake pan (or a standard 12-cup muffin tin) and set it aside.

2In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, place the butter and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

3Add the sugar, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla, beating to combine after each addition. In a small bowl, place the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the dry ingredients and water to the bowl of wet ingredients alternatively, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing to combine well after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling the wells two-thirds full.

4Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out mostly clean, 13-15 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing them. Slice off the rounded top of each cake to make a flat top and place on a wire rack, cut-side down, to cool completely.

5While the cakes are cooling, you can start on the stabililzed whipped cream.

6There are two secrets to making perfect homemade whipped cream: temperature and speed. The heavy whipping cream must be well chilled, and even the bowl you are whipping the cream in should be chilled, for best results.

7The speed of the stand mixer or hand mixer used to whip the cream should be medium (I turn my stand mixer to 4 and my 5-speed hand mixer to 3, which will create a more stable whipped cream). But the only way to create a whipped cream that is truly going to be stable enough to use as filling for snack cakes—and that will stay stable at room temperature—is to add some gelatin.

8Incorporating standard, heat-soluble powdered gelatin into fresh shipped cream can be a bit tricky, as the gelatin must be bloomed in water and then heated to melt. Simply allow the bloomed, melted gelatin to cool until it is no longer hot to the touch. It should incorporate into the whipped cream fully.

9If you're looking for the easiest way out, however, use cold-water-soluble powdered gelatin. Simply mix it into the water as described below, but do not heat it. It will dissolve completely in the water. Then, continue with the instructions as written. This whipped cream can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for two to three days, at which point it may begin to separate a bit. It does not freeze well on its own, but freezes fine when used as a filling in snack cakes.

10If using heat-soluble powdered gelatin, bloom it by placing it and the water in a small, heat-safe bowl, and then stirring it gently to combine. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature until the gelatin swells. Place the gelatin mixture in the microwave and melt at 60% power for 20 seconds until melted. Set the gelatin aside to cool briefly. For cold-water soluble gelatin, simply place the same amount of gelatin and the water together in a small bowl, and stir gently to combine.

11In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, place the chilled cream and whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Add the cooled gelatin and beat until thickened, about 3 minutes.

12Once the cakes have cooled, create a well in the center of the cut side of each cake with a 3/4-inch round cookie cutter, cutting off the bottom with a knife (reserve the removed cake pieces). Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch plain piping tip and pipe about 1½ tablespoons of filling into the open well in each cake. Cover the filling in each cake with a previously removed cake piece. Invert the cakes and place them back on the wire rack, placed over a piece of parchment or waxed paper. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper and set it aside.

13In a small, heat-safe bowl, melt the chocolate and coconut oil for the glaze using a double boiler. Allow the chocolate to sit at room temperature until it begins to thicken a bit. Immerse the filled snack cakes, one at a time, in the glaze: Press down on the cake with the tines of a fork, then flip it gently in the chocolate. Pull the cake out of the chocolate by slipping the fork under it and bobbing it on the surface of the chocolate a few times before pulling it along the edge of the bowl and carefully placing it on the prepared baking sheet. Allow the chocolate glaze to set at room temperature.

Each serving contains calories, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, protein.