Homemade Chocolate Zingers

January 19, 2015
0 Ratings
  • Makes 12 cakes
Author Notes

This is the snack cake of my childhood. If you have a newfangled specialty snack cake pan, then by all means use it. But if you're like me and without such a thing, use an 8 x 8 x 3-inch square baking pan, and then cut the cake into finger-sized pieces. Made this way, the cakes end up being a little larger than the 2-bite original, but that's nothing to complain about. —Heather Baird

What You'll Need
  • For the devil's food cake:
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee
  • For the cream filling and chocolate frosting:
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened, divided
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
  • 1 pinch salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch square cake pan.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and eggs; beat until lightened in color. Add the cocoa, baking soda, vanilla extract, and salt, then mix well. Beat in the flour in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream (begin and end with the flour). Add the hot coffee and mix until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick tester comes out clean, approximately 40 to 50 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting and cooling completely on a wire rack. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and transfer it to the freezer until it is partially frozen, about 1 hour.
  4. Level the top with a serrated knife (if needed) and cut it into 12 even fingers.
  5. For the cream filling, whisk together the milk and flour in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency. Remove the pan from the heat source and transfer the mixture to a shallow dish, and refrigerate until completely cool.
  6. In a mixing bowl, cream 1/2 cup softened butter and granulated sugar until well-combined. Add the cooled milk mixture and whip on high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, beat until well-combined. Transfer to a piping bag or a zip-top bag with the corner snipped. Cut a slit lengthwise on top of each snack cake and pipe in a little of the cream in the centers.
  7. For the frosting, place the cocoa powder, the remaining confectioners' sugar, and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat until just incorporated. Add the chocolate syrup, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and salt. Beat until well-combined. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large Cake Icer Decorator Tip (#789) and pipe the frosting on top of each cake. Alternatively, you may spread the icing on top of the cakes with a spatula, then drag the tines of a fork through it to create an authentic appearance.
  8. Store the cakes in an air-tight container for up to two days (if they last that long!).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Terri Newton
    Terri Newton
  • Heather Baird
    Heather Baird
  • lena16
  • Robin
I'm Heather, an artist-turned-baker with a passion for desserts! I write the SprinkleBakes blog - a place where I show people how to add more sparkle to their baking. I live in Knoxville, TN. with my husband Mark and two pugs named Biscuit and Churro. My book "SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist" was published May 2012.

6 Reviews

Terri N. August 14, 2019
I need some help with this recipe. I just made the cake, and I have no clue what I did wrong. First, it sunk in the middle. Then the darn thing stuck on the bottom. Yes I greased the pan. The batter looked ok till I started adding the coffee at the end.
Terri N. August 12, 2019
I have a question about the butter. For the cake, it says 1/2 pound that would be 2 sticks right?
Robin August 12, 2019
lena16 February 26, 2015
What type of unsweetened cocoa powder do you use in this recipe? A dutched European-Style (dark, alkalized) or non-alkalized (like the original Hershey's)? Thanks.
Robin February 1, 2015
How deep is the slit in the cakes? Do I remove a bit of the cake before piping in cream?
Heather B. February 1, 2015
Hi Robin,
When I make these I do not remove any portion of the cake from the center. I usually just cut within 1/4 inch of the bottom (approximate) and pipe in the filling.