Halve Your Cake
Your Mindful Mouthful

Recipes

A party without cake is really just a meeting - Julia Childs

S'mores Cake

I have to apologize for really lacking on this whole posting thing. I had big plans. Then pregnancy, work, Physics class, and cross country move put a damper on things. Finally back on the East Coast though! Can I just comment on how hot and humid it is? This is really saying something because I was in LA for the past year and that is hot (easily topping 100 degrees on a given day).

But anyway – I’m back when it matters. Just in time to celebrate my BFF’s milestone birthday! Hint: it starts with a 3 and ended with a 0! This epic day called for me to make an epic cake. I met this girl when we were 8 years old, and have been through it all together, so I feel confident in saying that I know her pretty well. Did I mention that I have only been in my house for a week? So of course the obvious thing for anyone to do in my situation is take 3 days to make a cake for 25ish people. No ordinary cake would do. She is a cake snob; actually the reigning Queen to be precise. Great. Luckily, inspiration was easy. It seemed like every time I talked to her this summer she was having s’mores, talking about s’mores, or just carrying around the makings for s’mores. So, I felt it was only appropriate to continue this theme into a birthday cake to reign in the big day – and boy was this the king of cakes. Classic s’mores are 2 graham crackers sandwiching toasted marshmallow and chocolate together. So obviously, let’s blow that up onto a large scale. Go big or go home, right? End result was three layers: 2 graham cracker layers on either side of a fudgy brownie layer, separated and smothered with marshmallow icing. I put chocolate chips in the bottom graham layer, and kept the top plain. Both ways were wonderful, but the bottom resembled more of a chocolate chip cookie which is never a bad thing in my book. This is an incredibly rich and decadent cake, yet so worth it.

 

When embarking on larger cake projects, I like to spread the work out over a few days, for several reasons. 1. Makes the work a little less daunting. 2. Perhaps more importantly, gives you time to come up with Plan B if everything goes wrong, and believe me at some point in your baking career it all will. Kitchen fails are real. However, I promise, this cake was pretty straight forward.

In the end this was a cake win, and the recipe is definitely a keeper. It was the topping to a perfect day of good food and friends; by a lake on a beautiful summer day. Happy baking!

 

S’mores Cake – adapted from Bite Me More

Serves 20-25 easily

Ingredients:

Brownie Layer

1 c. butter, melted

1 c. sugar

1 c. brown sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ c. all-purpose flour

1 c. cocoa powder, sifted

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 ½ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Graham Cracker Layers

2 c. butter, room temperature

1 ½ c. sugar

1 ½ c. brown sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 c. graham cracker crumbs*

3 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking soda

3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

 

*Place 2 sleeves of graham crackers into a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin, or solid object of your choice – this yields approximately 3 cups.

 

Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

40 marshmallows

2 c. butter, room temperature

14 oz. marshmallow fluff

5 c. confectioners’ sugar

4 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Decorations

Mini marshmallows

Graham crackers

Chocolate syrup for drizzle

 

Instructions:

Brownie Layer

1.      Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9’’x13’’ cake pan with non-stick spray.

2.      In a large bowl beat together melted butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Mix in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla. Tip: if you are doing any kind of repetitive baking the KitchenAid mixer is the best invention ever, pricey, but well worth it.

3.      In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix on low until combined. Add chocolate chips and stir until just incorporated.

4.      Pour mixture into cake pan and bake for 22-25 minutes. Remember our toothpick test for doneness! (see Devil’s Food Cake post)

5.      Let cake cool for approximately 15 minutes in pan, and then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Graham Cracker Layers

1.      Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat two 9’’x13’’ cake pans with non-stick spray.

2.      Cream together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy – this can take some time so be patient; do not stop when the ingredients are just combined, let it go for another minute and this is when you will reach that light and fluffy stage.

3.      Add eggs, one at a time, and beat after each one until combined. Add vanilla extract.

4.      In a separate bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, flour, salt, and baking soda. Add this to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. If you want chocolate chips, add them at this point. (I only added to one layer, but would recommend going all the way and adding to both layers)

5.      Divide batter between 2 prepared cake pans. Bake for 22-25 minutes.  

6.      Let cakes cool approximately 15 minutes in the pan and then invert onto cooling racks, and cool completely.

Note: cake layers can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated until next day for assembly. Makes life easy!

Marshmallow Frosting

1.      In a large mixing bowl add the butter, marshmallow fluff, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla.

2.      Toast the large marshmallows over an open flame. Metal skewers are ideal, which I did not have so used wooden skewers (just be careful). This part was slightly annoying and an extra person to help is great at this point.

3.      Add the toasted marshmallows directly to the mixing bowl, and beat until everything is combined and reaches a spreadable consistency.

Cake Assembly

1.      Place one of the graham cake layers down on the serving platter of your choice. Top with approximately ½’’ thick layer of marshmallow frosting.

2.      Place brownie layer on top, repeat frosting, and then place down remaining graham layer.

3.      Coat the entire cake (top and sides) with remaining frosting.

4.      Take your bag of mini marshmallows, and coat the top of the cake in a thick layer. Note: the cake can be covered in plastic wrap and placed in the refrigerator for 24 hours at this point. The chilled cake travels great, just make sure it sits out at room temperature for a few hours before serving.

5.      To finish the decorations – in my head I had planned on using my little blow torch to toast the mini marshmallows top on and give it that nice campfire glow, however this did not happen. I was lacking in preparedness at this point and found myself with a torch sans gas. So instead, I broke whole graham crackers into pieces and scattered on the top of the cake. Drizzle the entire cake with chocolate syrup. Voilà! Congratulations, you have just made a show stopper.

CakeKathleen JohnsonCake