I made this 3-ingredient cake for a friend's milestone birthday bash last year, and have been looking for a good excuse to do it again, so when another friend's big day rolled around, I volunteered to bring a Ding Dong Cake. It's silly, super easy and shockingly good. It will make you feel like a junk-food-eating kid again.

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Caramel is the glue that makes this Ding Dong Cake such a treat. Photo by Sonja Groset

I can't quite remember what inspired me to try and create this multi-layered stack of sweetness, and I wasn't sure if I could pull it off, but sometimes it's kind of thrilling to take a leap without knowing if you'll look like a genius or a fool. Fortunately, I got some on point advice on building this edible structure from the party's host, Maxime Bilet. He's one of the authors of Modernist Cuisine, and while that scholarly tome is about a million miles from anything to do with Ding Dongs, he was happy to offer the key advice that you need a stack up the middle, so there's something for the other snack cakes to lean on.

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This 3-ingredient cake makes you feel like a kid again. Photo by Leslie Kelly

Caramel sauce is the reason this whole thing works, adding depth and mellowing out the tooth-achingly sweet of the Ding Dongs. Use the best caramel sauce you can find. Yes, you could make a caramel sauce from scratch, but in a pinch, there are very good versions available at most supermarkets. I'm hooked on Leche de Cabra Cajeta Quemada, made with goat milk. It comes in a squeeze bottle, which makes for easy "decorating" of the stack of Ding Dongs. The reason decorating is in quotes is because there's really nothing to it. While it might look a little globby when it first hits the "cream" filled chocolate coated cakes, it goes gooey in a matter of minutes. In other words, assemble shortly before serving.

Sprinkles provide the big, showy finish and a little bit of welcome crunch. Don't skimp. Stick a few candles in your masterpiece and get ready for a bunch of oooo's and awww's, and a very happy birthday.

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This Ding Dong Cake is super easy to make. Photo by Leslie Kelly