My level of fondness for someone is often reflected in the sweets I bake for them. And as you can see from the pictures of the S’mores Cake below, this cake was baked for someone pretty special. On top of a dense graham cracker crust sits a dark, tender, chocolate cake that’s piled high with fluffy marshmallow meringue. To get that extra dark chocolate color and flavor, I used half black cocoa powder and half all natural cocoa powder. I also used a small brûlée torch to brown the marshmallow topping and give the cake a just-roasted-over-a-campfire look. The cake takes a bit of time to make because of its three different components, and the cake should be fully cooled before adding the marshmallow topping. But for the right person, it’s totally worth it.
The graham cracker crust is hiding under the thick layer of chocolate cake. This is a photo before the marshmallow topping has been brûléed.
Post-brûlée, this cake looks even more ridiculously delicious.
Here’s a close up of the cake with the graham cracker crust peeking out.
And here’s a slice of heaven. Note, after sitting out in a warm kitchen for a few hours, you can see the marshmallow topping has melted a bit and is in moderate danger of sliding off the cake.
(Adapted from Life, Love, & Sugar)
Makes one 8×8 inch cake
10 graham crackers (approximately 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 + 1/8 cup cocoa powder (Use natural cocoa powder, NOT Dutch-processed. See this link for a description of the difference between the two)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (I rarely have fresh buttermilk around so I use dried buttermilk powder)
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup water
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
- Heat oven to 325°F. Grease and line an 8×8 inch pan (make sure the sides are at least 2 inches high because the cake rises a bit) with parchment paper, making sure the parchment extends up the sides of the pan.
- In a food processor, pulse together the graham crackers, sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon (if using) until they are well mixed and come together like slightly wet sand.
- Firmly press the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. A spatula is useful in pressing the crust down.
- Bake the crust for approximately 9 minutes (it will not brown but will smell fragrant), and then remove from the oven and set aside.
- Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the egg, buttermilk, and canola oil to the dry ingredients, and mix well.
- Add the water and vanilla to the mixture, and mix well. Don’t worry if the batter looks very liquidy.
- Pour the batter into the pan over the graham cracker crust. Bake for approximately 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean with no crumbs attached.
- When the cake is done, remove from oven and allow it to fully cool.
- When the cake is cool, make the marshmallow topping. Combine the egg whites, a pinch of salt, and cream of tartar in a metal mixer bowl. Using a whisk attachment, beat until peaks form.
- Gradually add the sugar to the mixture and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.
- Using the parchment overhangs, carefully remove the cooled cake from the pan. Set it on a firm surface, and spread the marshmallow topping on top of the cake. If you’d like, use a brûlée torch to brown the marshmallow topping.
This cake is best eaten within a few hours after it’s made. If the weather gets too warm, the marshmallow topping will start to sag and slide off the chocolate cake.