Deconstructed S’mores Cake

Anyone else not quiiite willing to let go of summer just yet?

Sigh. 

Fall's in the air, guys. 

And don't get me wrong, I'm excited. The crisp weather, the leaves turning colors, pumpkin and apple- flavored *everything,* the sweaters and scarves and OHMYGOSH Halloween's just around the corner....

But what the heck even happened to the summer?? 

Okay....well maybe I'm the only one, but grocery stores all around me seem to be trying to sell off all of their s'mores ingredients, so what better time than the end of summer to make a s'mores cake? 

One word of warning - I filled this cake with marshmallow cream, which I'd never done before. It looked and tasted great the day I assembled the cake....but by the middle of the next day, all of the filling had leaked out onto the base of my cake carrier. With the loss of structure, it was about another 18 hours before the entire remainder of the cake fell apart completely. 

It was ugly, y'all. Not kidding. 

SO! I don't entirely recommend against filling your cake with marshmallow cream, because it was delicious πŸ˜‰ HOWEVER....be forewarned that a marshmallow-cream-filled cake has a *very* short stable shelf life. πŸ˜‰ 

Okaaaay! With that out of the way - onto the recipe! 

I've recently changed 'favorite chocolate cake' recipes - I borrowed, doubled, and slightly modified one from Nick at @thescranline, and it's *amazing.* Also a tad less labor-intensive than the one I'd been using, which I'm always a fan of πŸ˜‰ 

Cake: 

I doubled and slightly-modified a chocolate cupcake recipe from thescranline.com - check out Nick's site and his Instagram feed if you haven't already; he does some incredible work! 

Of note...you'll need either a kitchen scale to measure ingredients in grams OR - you can go off of the conversions I put in for you. You're welcome. πŸ˜‰ 

Chocolate Cake layers: 
350g all purpose flour (roughly 2 c) 
450g caster sugar (roughly 2 ΒΌ c) 
100g cocoa powder (roughly 1 ΒΌ c)
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp salt 
1 c /250g /16 T unsalted butter, softened 
4 large eggs, at room temperature 
350ml milk (about 1 Β½ ; I used a 2c pyrex liquid measuring cup with mL marks on the back) |2 t vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180C) or 320 FC (160C) for a fan forced oven. Grease 3 8-inch pans with baker's floured spray and/or line pans with parchment paper. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to mix for a couple minutes to help everything combine well (or sift the ingredients together). Add in the softened butter until it’s well incorporated into the dry ingredients and no lumps of butter are visible. 

Next, add milk, eggs, and vanilla together and whisk until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.

Fill the three pans evenly - I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part, and each of mine weighed out to about 700g. Bake for 30-35 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting. If you insert a skewer or toothpick and it comes out with wet batter, bake for another few minutes at a time until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely. 

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons milk
1 T clear vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt and beat until well combined.

Additional Supplies/Equipment:
- 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle
- 8-10 graham crackers, broken/chopped (save some whole & in halves/quarters for the top of the cake) 
- 8-10 marshmallows (toast in the oven if you'd like πŸ˜‰  ) 
- about 1/4 c mini marshmallows if you want to use them around the base of the cake
- 6 chocolate bars - I used Hersheys because that's what I ate in s'mores growing up - your call which kind of chocolate you use πŸ˜‰ 
- squeeze bottle or piping bag for ganache drip 
- 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, offset spatula, and bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! 

Assembly: 

Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired, though these layers bake up fairly flat). Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting - or pipe a ring around the outer rim of the cake and fill with marshmallow cream if you feel like living dangerously. πŸ˜‰ Sprinkle chopped graham crackers and chocolate bars over the filling. Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.

Crumb coats:
Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like - a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer πŸ˜‰ 
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting.

Chocolate ganache drip:
12 oz (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz (1 Β½ cups) heavy whipping cream
Meanwhile, make your ganache. Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Place whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to a boil over medium/low heat. Pour over chocolate chips and let rest for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth and silky. 

With a piping bag or squeeze bottle - or spoon if you'd like - slowly drizzle the ganache around the upper edge of the cake, pausing every inch or so to let more ganache fall in a drip down the side of the cake. Return cake to the fridge to set the drips.

Decorations! This is the part where you can use pictures for inspiration and do whatever you want πŸ˜‰  I started with longer/taller crackers and pieces of chocolate bar at the back, and used shorter ones working my way forward. I found toasting marshmallows in the oven on 'low broil' worked the best to toast them without burning them - I tried a brulee torch but I had trouble browning them without turning them black or setting them on fire. :/ Not the business.

If you like, you can add more chopped chocolate/graham cracker pieces and large or mini marshmallows at the base of the cake - or leave them off for a more simple look. 

When you're happy with your deconstructed s'mores decorations, sprinkle on some more chopped chocolate/graham cracker crumbs for good measure - and refrigerate until ready to serve! 

 

Make this recipe? Let me know  how it went - or find me on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo! πŸ™‚ 

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