Saturday, March 8, 2014

Royer's Pie Haven Ding Dong

"Vitamin Fortified!"
So, all of us have eaten a Hostess Ding Dong, right? Don't lie; yes, you have. When I was little, I used to like to try to peel off the chocolate coating and save it for last.

Recently, an outlet of Round Rock's Royer's Pie Haven opened in a corner of what used to be Toy Joy (which is sadly closing forever today) on the northwest corner of Guadalupe and 29th street in Austin. Ever since I'd looked through their menu*, I've wanted to visit, but we've never been there at a time when it was convenient to go in for a bite.

Yesterday, however, Daphne and I did stop in specifically to purchase something I'd read about on their website: A "homemade" Ding Dong. They describe it thusly: Chocolate cake filled with butter cream icing and dipped in double fudge!

Well. Hello, gorgeous!

First of all, I have to give mad props to pretty much everything that was in their bakery case. The pie pops (think of the popular cake pops, but with pie stuff in them instead), the pie-wiches (think oatmeal creme pies, but homemade and with different varieties of cookies), the whole pies... It all looked delicious and very tempting, except that I had tunnel vision.

I was bent on a Ding Dong. I didn't realize it'd be heart-shaped! That made it even better.

This is after the cake lived in my backpack for a mile-long walk home. I think it held up pretty well!
See the red checkered liner paper? That is what the whole cafe looks like. It's all cute and shabby chic and would be a nice place to hang out for coffee (if you like that kind of thing) and pie... And allegedly, they have sandwiches and stuff, but why bother?

Anyway, as a testament of love for my husband, I did not, in fact, tear into the Ding Dong as soon as I got home. Nay, I put it on the shelf for six long hours, until he'd gotten home, we'd had dinner, and we were all ready to enjoy it (hopefully) together. We cut into it, and here's the cross-section.

They keep the Ding Dong refrigerated, and with good reason. It's very delicate at room temperature, but that is, of course, the best way to eat it. If you bring one home, though, I'd recommend cutting it while it's cold, because our cutting it when it was warm and without having prepped the knife by dipping it into hot water caused the top layer of chocolate to slide off. Fortunately, we salvaged it.

The chocolate coating is actually not very sweet at all. Neither is the buttercream frosting, which is both lighter, consistency-wise, and milder than typical cake frosting. The chocolate cake is spongy and moist and is probably the sweetest component of the Ding Dong. Individually, they're all good, but together, it's really something special. The suggestion is nostalgic, but the flavor is so much better. I told James, "I don't have that plastic coating around my mouth like with a real Ding Dong!"

Bottom line: This snack is an adequate dessert for three people, if you've eaten dinner, or two people if you're in the middle of the afternoon and need a substantial nosh. It costs $10, or $10.83 with tax. Obviously, you could get three BOXES of actual Ding Dongs for about the same price, but they're not nearly as good (even if they happen still to be vitamin fortified). You can also get three fancy cupcakes for about the same price. But I think it's worth splurging on an elevated Ding Dong (that sounds dirtier in writing than it did in my head) every once in a while.

I was about to say that I'd purchase another one, and I might... but first I want to try the Salted Caramel Pie-wich. Who's with me?

*according to their menu, it's "pa-CAN," not "PEE-CAN." Thank you very much. (Although, I say it more like "puh-CAHN." A pee can is where you go when you don't have a proper toilet. Dang hillbillies.)

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