Sunday, September 4, 2016

S'mores cake

One of my coworkers is a smoking master, who loves to invite people over to taste-test his meat experiments. And who am I to say no to science (and smoked meat)?!?

I knew he'd have the appetizers and meal covered, so I decided to bring a special treat. And what goes better with smoked meat than s'mores?


Seeing that it was the middle of winter, sitting outside and roasting marshmallows didn't seem feasible. So a s'mores cake would have to do.


Originally I wanted to try a fresh marshmallow frosting, like in the original Smitten Kitchen recipe. But seeing that we were going to his home, I wouldn't be able to make the frosting immediately before serving. So instead I made my incredibly addictive toasted-marshmallow frosting (from this chocolate cake with malted frosting and toasted marshmallow filling).


I made sure to decorate with everything that went into the cake, so people knew what they were going to get (graham crackers, chocolate, toasted marshmallows).


Buen Provecho,
Jacqueline

S'mores cake with chocolate ganache and toasted-marshmallow filling, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Note: I really enjoyed this cake, but had to agree with my taste testers that it reminded them of carrot cake (in flavor, not texture). I think it was the graham crackers + cinnamon, which reminds people of a spiced cake. Still delicious, but consider yourself warned. For less of a spice cake feel, consider eliminating the cinnamon from the recipe (though I haven't tried it without the spice). Alternatively--use a yellow or chocolate cake instead of the graham-flavored one, and simply add crushed graham crackers on top of your chocolate filling. Lots of variations, and all of them sound delicious to me!

The original Smitten Kitchen recipe was used to make 12 cupcakes. Instead, I used it to make a 6" cake (either baked in 2 pans and sliced in half to make 4 layers, or baked in 4 pans with no cutting required). Check out her post to see how she assembled the cupcakes (and to see the marshmallow frosting she used).

Ingredients

Cake
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (110 grams) graham cracker or digestive biscuit crumbs, finely processed to be a powder, from about 7 rectangular crackers
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
1/2 cup (115 grams or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken

Chocolate filling
1/4 pound (4 ounces) milk or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped small or in chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch or two of salt

Toasted marshmallow frosting
See this post

Directions
  1. Make the cupcakes: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two or four 6" cake pans (see note). I like to use Pam baking spray, then lay down a piece of parchment paper, then more Pam baking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, graham crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a larger bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.
  4. Add 1/3 of dry ingredients and mix until combined, followed by 1/2 of buttermilk, mixing again. Repeat with 1/3 dry ingredients, last half of buttermilk and remaining dry ingredients.
  5. Divide batter evenly between cake pans. Bake for 15 - 25+ minutes (depending on if you're using 4 or 2 cake pans), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cakes comes out batter-free. Let cool completely before continuing. (Note: if baked in 2 cake pans, slice each cake layer in half after cooled. If baked in 4 cake pans, no need to do anything further.)
  6. Make the filling: Place chocolate and salt in a heatproof bowl. Heat cream until simmering then pour it over chocolate, let stand for one minute then stir until smooth. Cool this mixture quickly in the freezer, but you absolutely must check in every 5 minutes (set a timer) to stir the mixture to ensure it doesn’t harden in some spots while staying warm in the center. This takes about 15 to 20 minutes total. Once cool, it will be thicker but still on the loose side.
  7. Make the marshmallow frosting: See this post.
  8. Assemble the cake: Assemble the cake as shown below. Place layer #1 of cake on a cake dish and top with about half the chocolate. Place layer #2 and top with a bit of the marshmallow frosting. Place layer #3 and top with almost all the remaining chocolate (saving some for the topping if you'd like to decorate). Top with the final layer of cake and cover the entire cake with your marshmallow frosting.




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