Friday, September 7, 2012

S'Mores Cake {Recipe}

It is sad that summer is coming to an end... but don't fret. You can have S'Mores all year round with this very sweet, very sticky, very s'mores-y (yes, made that word up myself) cake.

What You Need (for the Crust):
3 cups crushed graham crackers (2 sleeves)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter

What You Need (for the Cake):
6 oz. chopped Hershey's milk chocolate
3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (divided)
2 cups all-purpose flour1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3 eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk + 1/2 cup water at room temperature

What You Need (for the Icing):
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla

Make the Crust:
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter with a fork until coarse crumbs form.

Line two 8" or 9" round cake pans with parchment paper. (Not waxed paper!) Spray the sides of the pan with cooking spray.
Pour one half of the crumbs into each pan.
Use a flat-bottomed glass to press the crumbs into a tight crust.

Set pans aside.

Make the Cake Batter
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees (F).

In a small saucepan, combine the milk, 3/4 cup of brown sugar and chopped chocolate.
Heat over medium-low heat until the chocolate is all melted.
Set aside to cool.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine butter (softened) and remaining 3/4 cup of brown sugar. Mix on medium-low speed for 2-3 minutes, or until fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well with each addition.

When the chocolate sauce is lukewarm or cooler, pour that in to the egg mixture, and mix well.
Add the flour mixture, and mix on low speed until incorporated.
Finally, add the buttermilk, water and vanilla. (I usually combine it all into one measuring cup and pour it all in at once.)
Mix well, on low speed, until the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter between the two pans. (Be careful, if you are using 8"x2" pans, you may want to measure 2 cups of batter into each pan.) Because of the crust on the bottom the pans can't hold as much batter as they usually do.

Bake the cakes in the oven for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Remove the pans to a cooling grid for 10 minutes.
BEFORE removing the cakes from the pans, run a knife around the edge to help keep it from sticking.
Invert the cakes onto the cooling grids, and cool completely.

Make the Icing
*Note: Do not prepare the icing until the cake is cool. If you whip the icing too far in advance, and let it set, it gets all runny and gooey.

In a heatproof bowl, combine egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar.
Place over a simmering pot of water, and heat until a candy thermometer reads 160-degrees (F).

Add the vanilla, and whip on high speed for 6-10 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.

Assemble the Cake

Level the cakes. (See my post about using a cake leveler here.)
Place the bottom layer, graham-cracker side down, on your cake plate.Spread a generous amount (about 1/2-1 cup of icing) on the bottom layer. Leave about 1/4" around the edge so that the crumbs don't eek out.
Be aware that this cake is crumbly. This can be a pain when you're icing it (especially because the marshmallow icing is extra sticky). Wipe as many crumbs as possible off of your cake plate before you start icing. It helps minimize crumbs in the icing.
The good thing is that when you toast the icing, it can hide those crumbs, as well.

Spread a thick layer of icing all over the cake. You want the icing thick for two reasons: to help hide the crumbs and to allow you to make lots of pretty peaks all over it when you're decorating.
(Click the link for my complete tutorial on icing a cake.)

To make the peaks, once the cake is fully covered with icing, use the tip of the spatula, and pull straight away.

The peaks can get pretty high... so you just have to decide how you want it to look.

Using a kitchen torch, toast the icing.
If you don't have a torch-- which I don't, this is a friend's-- you could also use the broiler in the oven. However, if you use the broiler, BE SURE the cake plate is oven-safe!

This looks pretty cool just like this, I think.

If you want, you can also add some chocolate shavings or some Hershey segments on top.

Because of the graham cracker crusts, you will need a sharp knife to cut the cake.

One kind of strange thing is that the icing tends to "dry out" a little as it sits out. It is super sticky at first, but if it's not too humid, it will dry out - like a meringue - within 24 hours.
But it is super sweet, and really tasty either way.

Click the Links Below to See:
Rich Chocolate Cake Recipe (this recipe is for a darker chocolate cake)
How to Ice a Cake
Other Cake Recipes and Ideas
Other Chocolate Recipes and Ideas

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