Wednesday, August 22, 2012

S'mores Cake

Let me start by explaining this picture. What you're looking at is rich chocolate cake, layered with toasted marshmallow filling and topped with graham cracker buttercream. It's a perfect version of indoor s'mores.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m completely obsessed with s’mores recipes. This will come as no surprise to the people who follow me on Pinterest. It doesn’t help that Pinterest has provided me with an even bigger opportunity to collect s’mores recipes.

The thing about s’mores recipes is that only about one in every ten really turns out to be any good. I did finally find an awesome s’mores cookie recipe a couple weeks ago. I’ve also experimented with s’mores cakes and cupcakes before, without a lot of success. Most of these used a graham cracker cake, which never seemed to turn out very flavorful. About a week ago on Pinterest, I found a cupcake recipe that used chocolate cake and incorporated the graham crackers with a graham cracker buttercream. I decided to try this approach.

The cupcakes that I got this idea from are located here. I also used their chocolate cake recipe, which turned out excellent. The cupcake recipe used a cream cheese frosting. I’m more a fan of traditional buttercream than cream cheese based frostings, so I used the concept of the graham crackers with a different buttercream recipe. I also changed the marshmallow filling, which I’ll explain in a minute.

I started with the chocolate cakes. I was working with three round 9 inch cake pans. NOTE: You will need to use 1.5 times this recipe to get three cakes. I made the recipe as is and baked two cakes, then made a half batch for my third cake.

Chocolate Cakes
Cake from Your Cup of Cake

1 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Grease two 9 inch round cake pans. Mix sugar, brown sugar and oil for about 3 minutes. Add sour cream and vanilla extract and mix well. Add eggs one at a time and mix only until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients and boiling water to sugar mixture alternating between the two. Pour into pans and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until cake passes the toothpick test.

Note: I had really liked how the marshmallow bits had turned out in the cookies. I made one extra cake with marshmallow bits swirled through the batter, but didn’t like how it turned out. The bits didn’t add much flavor or color.

Once the cakes were cool, I began the marshmallow filling. My base was my go-to recipe for vanilla buttercream, only with vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean paste. Instead of marshmallow crème, which is typical in marshmallow frosting recipes, I decided to try for a real toasted marshmallow taste.

Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream

1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
15 large marshmallows

Mix cream, vanilla and salt together in a small bowl. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar until completely combined. Add the cream mixture and beat for 3 or 4 minutes until fluffy and smooth.

Put marshmallows on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place marshmallows under oven broiler for approximately two minutes, or until they just start to brown. Watch these carefully, as they will brown quickly.

Let marshmallows cool for a couple minutes, then beat into frosting mixture. (If marshmallows are too hot, they will melt the sugar in the frosting and it will lose its fluff.) NOTE: I would double this recipe next time. I would have liked a thicker marshmallow layer, but the marshmallows were a last minute idea and I didn’t have enough of them.

Spread marshmallow mixture on top of two of the cake rounds and assemble the cake.

See those tiny light brown flecks? Don't worry, those are just pieces of the real toasted marshmallow flavor.

Now it is ready to frost.

I used the same vanilla buttercream recipe for the graham cracker buttercream. First, I took some graham crackers and placed them in a Ziploc bag. I ran a rolling pin over the bag until the crumbs were very fine.

Graham Cracker Buttercream

2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4-1 cup graham cracker crumbs

Mix cream, vanilla and salt together in a small bowl. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar until completely combined. Add the cream mixture and beat for 3 or 4 minutes until fluffy and smooth. Add in graham cracker crumbs and beat for another minute to combine.

Once the graham cracker frosting was spread on the cakes, I used some marshmallow bits to decorate the top. I also added some chocolate shavings for a little color.

I will definitely be making this cake again, only with a little more marshmallow next time.

S'mores Cookies

So, I’ve finally found a really good s’mores cookie recipe. It’s taken a lot of searching and failed attempts. For all the s’mores recipes I’ve discovered, it can be unusual to find one that actually works out.

One of the biggest issues with s’mores cookies is the marshmallows. Lots of cookie recipes tell you to throw in some mini marshmallows. The problem is that when these cook, they melt and get super sticky and chewy. Usually they just end up stuck to the pan.

What intrigued me about this recipe is that it used marshmallow bits. Here’s a picture so you know what I’m talking about.

The only place I’ve found these so far is Target, but please let me know if you’ve seen them elsewhere. They work so well in these cookies. Take a look at this:

I really don’t have a lot else to say about this recipe than MAKE THESE COOKIES. You won’t regret it. They may not be the prettiest cookies you’ll ever see, but they taste incredible. Besides, real s’mores are far more messy than pretty.

HERE’S THE LINK FOR THE GOOEY S’MORES COOKIES RECIPE. Since I made these directly from the Kevin & Amanda blog, I’ll just direct you there. (The only difference being that I used regular graham crackers instead of cinnamon, and I used a Ziploc & a rolling pin to make the crumbs instead of a food processor.) I noticed some of comments mention making them as bars, which I guess I’ll have to try next time.