S'Mores Cake Layers:
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!)
350g all purpose flour (roughly 2 ¼ c)
450g caster sugar (roughly 2 ¼ c)
100g cocoa powder (roughly 1 ¼ c)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c /250g /16 T unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature
350ml buttermilk (about 1 ½ ; buttermilk powder with water is an option if you can’t find liquid buttermilk at your grocery store!)
2 t vanilla extract
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 buttermilk, 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 550g. Bake for 30-35 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans, and cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
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 (if using unsalted butter)
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.
- 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles)
- 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 )
- 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 - use your favorite!
- Marshmallow cream (unless you'd rather fill the cake with frosting)
- squeeze bottle or piping bag for ganache drip
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, large offset spatula, and pastry cutter/bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! (Here’s a link to the cake turntable I use)
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. Sprinkle chopped graham crackers and chocolate bars over the filling. Center the next cake layer on top, and repeat the process with your remaining cake layer.
Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer. I usually do this with my large offset spatula.
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 ½ 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! 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 brûlée torch but I had trouble browning them without turning them black or setting them on fire. :/
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. I almost mixed just a bit of chocolate ganache with some extra frosting to hold my decorations in place!
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!