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Graham cracker cake layered with creamy chocolate ganache, covered in toasted marshmallow buttercream.
Raise your hand if you can keep up with the “national food days.” Anyone? Anyone? I proudly have both of my hands down because I, for one, cannot. So much, in fact, that I completely missed the National S’mores Day mark by less than a week, and there was nothing I could do about it because that’s just not how life works any more.
There was a time I could turn over a recipe in a matter of days, but those days are no longer. No complaints, of course, just a little annoyed that my several-months-in-advance planning totally back fired on me!
I chose s’mores cake for August back in the beginning of the year when I put the Cake of The Month into action. It seemed appropriate and like it would fit seamlessly into the August calendar, so pretend this was last week… Ok?
So what’s this s’mores cake all about anyway? We’ve got 3 wonderful parts:
1) brown sugary graham cracker cake
2) chocolate ganache filling
3) a marshmallow buttercream
The inspo came from my s’mores cupcakes from 2 years ago. Since that recipe makes 12 cupcakes, I knew doubling it would make the perfect amount of batter for a double layered 8″ cake.
But, I have to say… This cake did not come together as easily as I hoped that it would. When I went to make the cake, I doubled everything except the baking powder. WOMP WOMP.
I was met with sunken, yet suuuuuper delicious, graham cracker cake layers. We solved that problem by slicing off the majority of the top and salvaging very thin layers (and a billion bites of cake scraps), which is why you’ll see the cake in my pictures has 5 layers.
Round 2 went much better than the first, and although this recipe doesn’t yield super fluffy and puffy cake layers, it does make unbelievably irresistible ones. You’ll make those heavenly graham cracker cake layers even better by layering creamy chocolate ganache between each of them.
Have you made ganache before? It’s incredibly simple. We made a lemon cream ganache (OMG) when we made lemon cream pie truffles, and we’ll be doing the same today with this chocolate ganache. All you need is finely chopped quality semi-sweet chocolate, some heavy cream, and some butter.
Heat the heavy cream and butter on the stove until the butter is melted and the cream starts to steam, then you’ll pour it over the chocolate to melt it.
Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes, then stir it gently. The slow melting process produces the most unbelievably creamy dreamy chocolate mixture you’ve ever tasted. It’s soft, luscious, and makes the perfect complement to that brown sugar cake.
Now. Onto the marshmallow buttercream. I describe my love for this buttercream in the s’mores cupcakes post, so you can read about it there if you so desire, but I have to give a little disclaimer here today.
This marshmallow buttercream will not toast exactly like a marshmallow does.
Because you’ll be using marshmallow creme/fluff, you’ll be working with a very buttery/sugary frosting as opposed to an egg white-based confection, like an actual marshmallow. That said, you can absolutely torch the top of the cake with a kitchen torch (this is the one I love), or you can leave it plain.
I totally urge you to torch it, though, for the full effect!
Even if you don’t torch the cake, you’ll have to be careful of the sides where a thinner layer of frosting than you’re used to will be key to this s’mores layer cake. Since the marshmallow buttercream is so buttery, it can slip off of the sides if there’s too much.
Load up the top, though! Most certainly!
And whatever you do, don’t torch the sides. A little bird told me that is a huge melted mess.
I was happily surprised at how much I enjoyed this cake despite all the drama it took to get to the final product. The graham cracker cake is the perfect base for the creamy chocolate ganache gracing every crevice, and the toasted marshmallow buttercream covering every bite.
And the best part is, you don’t need to start a fire to get the s’mores action happening at your house!
So let’s cheers (with our mallows) to a belated National S’mores Day, because August’s Cake of The Month is the perfect way to close out summer and make way for the next best thing… (oh yes, friends… Pumpkin is coming…)
S'mores Layer Cake
GRAHAM CRACKER CAKE
- 12 full sheets of graham crackers crushed into a fine powder (approximately 1 and ½ cups)
- 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour be sure to measure properly
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup Greek yogurt any fat content
CHOCOLATE GANACHE FILLING
- 8 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
- 4 ounces heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1-7 ounce container marshmallow creme
- 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
GRAHAM CRACKER CAKE
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Generously grease and flour (or use homemade cake release) two 8" round cake pans.
- In a medium size bowl, toss together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream both sugars and butter until light and fluffy (approximately 3 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, insuring each egg is completely combined before adding the next, and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the vanilla, and beat again until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. Turn mixer speed to low and slowly add the graham cracker in 2 additions, alternating with the Greek yogurt. Beat until completely combined.
- Pour the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Remove from oven and allow cakes to cool in the pans completely on a wire rack before removing and assembling.
CHOCOLATE GANACHE FILLING
- Place the finely chopped chocolate into a medium size bowl. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the heavy cream and butter and heat to steam. Remove from heat and immediately pour over the bowl of chocolate. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then carefully stir mixture until all of the chocolate is melted. Allow to cool completely at room temperature before using.
- In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the marshmallow creme and beat on high until smooth (approximately 2 minutes).
- With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until completely combined (approximately 1 minute).
- For more buttercream troubleshooting tips, see my book, The Home Baker's Guide to Basic Buttercream.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
- Trim cooled cake layers to create a flat surface. You can do this with a large serrated knife or a cake leveler. I cut each layer in half so I had 4 layers total. Place one layer on a plate or cake stand and cover the top with chocolate ganache. Spread evenly with an offset spatula. Repeat this step until you have used all of your layers, placing the very top layer cut surface down.
- For a sturdier cake, refrigerate at this point for about 10 minutes. When cake is slightly chilled, remove from refrigerator and spread a generous layer of marshmallow buttercream on the top of the cake. Spread a thinner layer around the sides. Use a kitchen torch to toast just the top of the cake (the sides will melt). Leftovers stay fresh, covered at room temperature up to 3 days and in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
- Make ahead: prepare cakes and frosting up to 1 day in advance. Cover cakes tightly and keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator until ready to assemble. Unfrosted cake layers may be frozen, wrapped tightly, up to 2 months.