Deconstructed S'Mores Cake

Intensive Cake Unit
by Intensive Cake Unit
1 8" cake
2 hr 5 min

Okay....well maybe I'm the only one, but grocery stores all around me seem to be trying to sell tons and tons of S'mores ingredients, so what better time than the very beginning of summer-ish weather to make a S'mores cake?

One word of warning - I filled this cake with marshmallow cream, which I'd never done before. It looked and tasted great the day I assembled and first cut pieces out of the cake....but by the middle of the next day, a lot of the filling had leaked out onto the base of my cake carrier. With the loss of structure, it was about another 18 hours before the entire remainder of the cake basically fell apart! It was unexpected, kind of hilarious, and a good learning point for me - I don't know that I'll recommend *against* filling your cake with marshmallow cream, because it was delicious ;) forewarned that a marshmallow-cream-filled cake has a fairly short stable shelf life. ;)

Okaaaay! With that out of the way - onto the recipe!

Deconstructed S'Mores Cake
Recipe details
  • 1  8" cake
  • Prep time: 90 Minutes Cook time: 35 Minutes Total time: 2 hr 5 min
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  • 350g all purpose flour (roughly 2 ¼ c)
  • 450g caster sugar (roughly 2 ¼ c)
  • 100g cocoa powder (roughly 1 ¼ c)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c /250g /16 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 350ml buttermilk (about 1 ½ ; buttermilk powder with water is an option if you can’t find liquid buttermilk at your grocery store!)
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
  • 16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
  • 6-7 c powdered sugar
  • 2-4 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 T clear vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
  • 6 oz (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips melted with 6 oz (3/4 cups) heavy whipping cream (to make chocolate ganache for drip)
  • - 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles)
  • 8-10 graham crackers, broken/chopped (save some whole & in halves/quarters for the top of the cake) 
  • 8-10 marshmallows (toast in the oven if you'd like ) 
  • about 1/4 c mini marshmallows if you want to use them around the base of the cake
  • 6 chocolate bars - I used Hersheys because that's what I ate in s'mores growing up - use your favorite! 
  • Marshmallow cream (unless you'd rather fill the cake with frosting) 
  • squeeze bottle or piping bag for ganache drip 
  • Cake leveler, cake turntable, large offset spatula, and pastry cutter/bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! (Here’s a link to the cake turntable I use)
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180C) or 320 FC (160C) for a convection oven. Grease 3 8-inch cake pans with baker's floured spray and/or line pans with parchment paper. 
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to mix for a couple minutes to help everything combine well (or sift the ingredients together). Add in the softened butter until it’s well incorporated into the dry ingredients and no lumps of butter are visible. 
Next, add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla together and whisk until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
Fill the three pans evenly - I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part, and each of mine weighed out to about 550g. Bake for 30-35 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans, and cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired, though these layers bake up fairly flat). Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting - or pipe a ring around the outer rim of the cake and fill with marshmallow cream. Sprinkle chopped graham crackers and chocolate bars over the filling. Center the next cake layer on top, and repeat the process with your remaining cake layer. 
Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer. I usually do this with my large offset spatula. Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting.
Melt chocolate chips with whipping cream in 15-20 second intervals in the microwave, stirring until smooth. (don't overheat; you can curdle the ganache and if it's too hot going on it will melt the butter in your frosting!) With a piping bag or squeeze bottle - or spoon if you'd like - slowly drizzle the ganache around the upper edge of the cake, pausing every inch or so to let more ganache fall in a drip down the side of the cake. Return cake to the fridge to set the drips.
Decorations! This is the part where you can use pictures for inspiration and do whatever you want! I started with longer/taller crackers and pieces of chocolate bar at the back, and used shorter ones working my way forward. I found toasting marshmallows in the oven on 'low broil' worked the best to toast them without burning them - I tried a brûlée torch but I had trouble browning them without turning them black or setting them on fire. :/ 
Once you're happy with the look of the cake - you're done! Can be kept at room temperature until ready to serve; considering storing in the refrigerator overnight if serving the next day.
  • Make this recipe? Let me know how it went - or find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!
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