S’mores Birthday Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting
The Tiny Kitchen Assistant and The Husband share a birthday week. This means that the Assistant gets very, very excited about Daddy’s birthday (“Daddy’s birthday is coming soooooooonnnn!”) because it means that there are only four more days until his birthday.
This year, his enthusiasm runneth over. With weeks to go, he started floating ideas for cool cakes for The Husband. One idea stuck squarely in his head and wouldn’t let go: s’mores cake.
Mind you, we had no idea how to make a s’mores cake. No matter: his job is to float the big ideas, and my job is to make them happen.
After much negotiating (no, I’m not going to try to make a cake that tastes like graham crackers, thank you very much), we settled on chocolate cake with marshmallow frosting and graham cracker crumbles.
I’ll say ahead of time that this cake turned out NOTHING like I expected it to, but it was still delicious. The frosting doesn’t exactly stay where you put it, so there will be a marshmallow frosting avalanche when you slice it. A delicious avalanche.
Interested? Read on.
The recipe for the chocolate cake dates back to a coworker from an early job circa 1995 or thereabouts. I can’t remember her name, but I do remember that she called it “emergency cake” for when she was having a chocolate crisis. I’ve modified it to add the graham cracker crust, which didn’t work as planned, but had a great flavor.
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 4 Tbsp melted butter
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
In a small bowl, mix together butter, sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Evenly distribute the mixture between the two pans, and press into the bottom as if you’re making a graham cracker pie crust. (It will create a thin layer.)
Sift together the next six ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer: sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.
Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, blend the wet and dry ingredients together. Mix on medium for about 3 minutes.
Add the boiling water and mix in by hand. (No, I don’t know why. Those were her instructions and I’ve always followed them.)
Evenly distribute the batter between the two pans, pouring directly over the graham cracker mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
The Marshmallow Frosting
This started out with a vague memory of a friend’s marshmallow-based cake frosting, and then took on a life of its own.
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 7-ounce jar of marshmallow fluff
- 15 marshmallows, toasted
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Crumbled graham crackers, mini chocolate chips for garnish
Set your oven or toaster oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with lightly greased foil. Add 15 marshmallows to the baking sheet, and watch carefully as they brown on top. Flip them over for even browning on the opposite side. When golden, remove from the heat.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together butter, sugar, marshmallow fluff and vanilla extract until smooth.
Toss in the toasted marshmallows. Beat until well incorporated, but allow small bits of caramelized goodness to remain.
This frosting doesn’t spread smoothly. Do your best to distribute it evenly across the top of the first cake. Add the second cake on top. Repeat the process. Sprinkle with graham crumbs and mini chocolate chips.
“This is so good! This is SO good! This is SO GOOD!” shouted the Tiny Kitchen Assistant.
“It’s sweet. Sweeter than what I normally like. But it’s really good, and looks like something you’d get at a bakery,” said The Husband.
“Mommy! You have to put this on the blog. This might be the best thing EVER!”