Let me start by saying, I cannot eat this s’mores cake without singing my sugar- and butter-laden version of Britney Spears’ Gimme More, aptly retitled, “Gimme S’more.” So far my debut as a pop star has only hit the living room, but I’m considering going on tour. And trust me, if I brought this cake, you’d buy tickets. You. Totally. Would.
S’mores epitomize summer. The ultimate campfire food, these gooey treats are best eaten after a fire-roasted hot dog, on a sticky night and with no shoes on. Three simple ingredients: chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers combine to create the perfect sweet, creamy, crunchy, decadent and airy 4 x 4 inch square. For us city dwellers who still want to have ‘s’more’ summer fun but don’t have grills or fire pits to perfectly roast our marshmallows on, a kitchen torch is truly a game changer. It opens up the door for both regular s’mores and also their haute cuisine big sister, this s’mores cake (brought to you by my Tuesday night baking impulse, and apparent delirium).
To give this cake that true s’mores feel graham crackers are ground up and added to the batter to make sweet cinnamon spiced layers, chocolate chips and ample cocoa powder are used in place of chocolate bars to add depth and crunch to the chocolate layers and a sweet and stretchy marshmallow Fluff filling seals the layers together. Lastly, a light, airy meringue topping coats the entire cake. The BEST, I repeat, BEST part about making this cake is using the kitchen torch to “roast” the topping. Once you start in with the torch, you’ll be amazed that the smell is identical to that of roasting marshmallows around a campfire.
Full disclosure: When I made this cake I used large chocolate chunks and also overcooked the chocolate layer slightly. It was drier than I prefer and I felt the large chunks of chocolate made the cake too hard to cut through (you can tell in the pictures). My updates are reflected in the recipe below and I recommend you check fairly frequently for doneness; which is when the outside edge of the cake is fully set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean (it won’t come out completely clean due to the chocolate chips in the batter). You should not feel like you are inserting the toothpick into jiggly pudding. One thing to remember, the cake will set up a little more as it cools in the pan.
6-inch super s’mores layer cake
prep Time: 45 minutes
cook Time: 60 minutes (if cooking graham and chocolate cakes one after the other)
total Time: Solid 3 hours between prep, cook, speed cooling, and assembling
makes one, three layer, 6-inch cake (two graham layers, one chocolate layer), or if you choose to slice each cake layer in half horizontally, it will make a six layer, 6-inch cake, as pictured.
Graham Cracker Cake:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup honey graham cracker crumbs, finely processed to a powder (from about 7 standard graham cracker sheets)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup marshmallow cream (Fluff)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3/4–1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To Make the Graham Cracker Cakes:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or spray two 6-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and then grease the paper.
- In a medium bowl mix together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. In a large bowl—or the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment—mix butter, sugar and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Mix a third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then add the milk, then another third of dry mixture, and then the yogurt or sour cream, and lastly, the rest of the dry mixture. Mix completely.
- Divide batter between prepared cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake’s center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes on wire rack. Then invert onto rack and remove the cakes. Cool completely.
To Make the Brownie Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or spray one 6-inch round cake pan with non-stick spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and then grease the paper.
- In a large bowl—or the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment—mix melted butter, sugar and light brown sugar until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla and continue to mix until smooth. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips, stirring until flour has become completely mixed in and smooth.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges of the cake have set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out easily and with minimal batter (it will have some chocolate on it because of the chocolate chips). Cool in pan for 10 minutes on wire rack. Then invert onto rack and remove the cakes. Cool completely.
To Make the Marshmallow Filling:
- In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, marshmallow cream, vanilla, and cream on medium speed until completely smooth. Add 3/4 cup powdered sugar and salt. Mix on low speed to incorporate and then increase speed to high to beat another minute. Add 1/4 cup more powdered sugar if the filling is too runny.
To Make the Meringue Topping:
- Fill a medium saucepan part way with water and bring to a simmer. Place egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heat-proof bowl. Place bowl over simmering water and whisk mixture until sugar is dissolved and egg whites are warm to the touch, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla extract and mix to combine. Best if used right away.
To Fill and Assemble:
- Arrange one graham cracker cake layer on the center of a cake stand or serving plate. With a knife or offset spatula, spread about 1/2 the marshmallow filling across the top of the cake. Place the chocolate brownie layer on top of the filling and spread the other half of the marshmallow filling across the top. Top with second graham cracker cake layer.
- Now, spread a thin layer of the meringue topping over the top and sides of the assembled cake. Refrigerate cake for 10 minutes to set. Once set, remove the cake from the fridge and generously frost the top and sides with more meringue, reserving some for the top. Fill a piping bag, or zip lock bag with a corner cut off, with the rest of the frosting. Pipe dollops onto top of cake. Torch top with a kitchen torch. I have also heard you can set the cake under the broiler for 5 minutes to brown the top of the merengue; however I have not tried this and, if you do, I would ensure your cake plate is oven safe.