For those of you who are not in the know, Ring Dings are chocolate cakes filled with white cream. They are similar to a Yodel or Frosted Hostess Cupcake. If I were to guess, I’d say the recipe for each of these delights is probably the same– same chocolate cake, same white filling, same chocolate coating. Yet, there is something about a Ring Ding these other tasty little snacks lack, something to do with the filling.
The hippie side of my mother prevented us from having any of these sorts of things growing up. Instead of Fruit Rollups, we were blessed with sticky, flat, 100% fruit things, for instance. These imitation fruit rollups could be found at the local health food store. I’ve found them once again in Whole Foods, and they are still just as disgustingly fiber filled wads of sticky pressed fruit.
Ring Dings though, can’t be replicated and sold as a health food. Or at least, the local health food store never had any. How then could I have ever developed a craving for these little cakes?
There was one inevitable day out the year we would end up eating Ring Dings. Once a year, for Mother’s Day, my father and brother and I would end up cooking dinner. The meal required a trip to the grocery store, a once yearly trip my father would make. I think nostalgia played a role, but Ring Dings would always appear in the shopping cart.
Years passed since the last childhood Ring Ding and now. Ring Dings are not the easiest snack cake to come across and they are after all, laced with toxic Transfats. But then there they were sitting on the deli shelf between prepackaged pound cake and coffee rolls. I bought a pair the other day, consuming them after a rather ordinary deli meat sandwich. The chocolate coating, softened in the heat, stuck to my fingers. The cream spilled out from between the layers of cake with each bite. For a moment I recalled fond childhood memories of the elusive Ring Ding.
I’ve had better cream filled chocolate cakes from gourmet cafes and bakeries. I probably could, given the ingredients, bake my own. But then there are the Ring Dings, sitting on shelves of convenient stores and neighborhood delis. What is it about prepackaged snack cakes that make them so irresistible?