Ultimate S’mores Cake


Apr 23

Ultimate S’mores Cake – Layers of graham cracker crust, chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, toasted marshmallow filling, chocolate frosting and marshmallow fluff truly make this the ultimate s’mores cake!

My Love for S’mores Cakes

This post is a long time coming! I’ve diligently been testing different s’mores cake recipes for years now. Seriously! It’s been a personal mission of mine to find (what I consider) the best one. The first s’mores cake I made was Sweetapolita’s original Campfire Delight Cake, made up of dark chocolate cake layers, toasted marshmallow filling and malted chocolate frosting. To this day, it’s one of my favorite cakes, but it didn’t have a graham cracker element to it, which I felt was crucial to a s’mores cake. (In her new cookbook, “Sweetapolita Bakebook,” she made some revisions and the new recipe has graham cracker crumbs in between the layers!)
Over the last few years, I’ve tried several s’mores cake recipes, some with chocolate cake layers, some with vanilla cake layers, and some with graham cracker cake layers. I was always so excited to try the graham cracker cake layers, but was always so disappointed because the flavor and texture were always underwhelming.
I also tried a couple recipes that had toasted graham cracker crumbs in between each of the layers, but was disappointed in how quickly the graham crackers would get soggy.

Time for a Cake by Courtney S’mores Cake

Since I hadn’t found a single s’mores cake that rocked my world, I decided to create my own, inspired by some of my favorite elements from the cakes I had tried. One of these components was the Toasted Marshmallow Frosting from Sweetapolita’s Campfire Delight Cake. You guys! It’s unreal! You broil marshmallows in your oven until they’re golden brown, and then, once they’ve had a few minutes to cool, you add the toasted marshmallows to butter, powdered sugar and marshmallow cream. Unreal, right?
 
The next element I wanted to incorporate was the graham cracker. To make sure it wouldn’t get soggy, I decided to put a graham cracker crust on each layer that gets baked on its own before adding the cake batter. After the crust bakes, you just pour the chocolate cake batter right into the pans with the crust and bake again. This technique works perfectly for keeping the graham crackers crunchy.
I then decided to cover the entire cake with a silky chocolate buttercream, chocolate ganache drip, and a homemade marshmallow fluff, toasted with a kitchen torch.
So, in case I lost you, here’s how the cake stacks up: toasted graham cracker crust, dark chocolate cake layers, chocolate ganache, toasted marshmallow filling, chocolate frosting and marshmallow fluff. Is your mouth watering yet? I hope so!
All the ingredients and instructions are below. This cake definitely has a few more steps than your ordinary cake, but this cake isn’t just any ol’ cake. It’s the Ultimate S’mores Cake! Just give yourself enough time to make all the elements or spread it out over a couple days. And make sure to watch my quick time-lapse video to see how I assembled it all.

 

Ultimate S'mores Cake

Layers of graham cracker crust, chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, toasted marshmallow filling, chocolate frosting and marshmallow fluff truly make this the ultimate s'mores cake!

Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake
Keyword Advanced, Smores Cake, Ultimate S'mores Cake
Servings 1 3-layer, 8-inch cake

Ingredients

FOR THE CRUST

  • 2 cups (240 g) graham cracker crumbs, about 18 rectangular crackers  (this is best done in a food processor or blender, but can be done by placing the graham crackers in a zip-lock bag and rolling over the crackers with a rolling pin)
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter melted
  • 1/3 cup (70 g) granulated sugar 

FOR THE CAKE

  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (225 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups  minus 2 tablespoons (375 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups (88.5 g) dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g)  baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon (5.6 g) salt
  • 1 cup (240 g)  buttermilk at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (109 g)  vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (236.6 g) hot water 

FOR THE MARSHMALLOW FILLING, adapted from Sweetapolita

  • 24 large white marshmallows
  • 1 cup (125 g)  powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.1 g)  pure vanilla extract
  • 1 jar (200 g) marshmallow fluff

FOR THE GANACHE

  • 1 cup (150 g) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (115.5 g) whipping cream 

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter slightly chilled
  • 5 cups (625 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 1 tablespoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10 oz. good quality chocolate I use semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup ( 77 g) heavy whipping cream 
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping you’ll want to make an extra 1/2 batch.

FOR THE MARSHMALLOW FLUFF

  • 3 egg whites room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.4 g) salt
  • 1/3 cup (66.6 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (300 g)  light karo syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (29.6 g) water
  • 1 tablespoon (12 g) vanilla bean paste or clear vanilla extract

Instructions

FOR THE CRUST

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch or four 6-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and then line with parchment. Spray again. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Stir until all the graham cracker crumbs are damped by the melted butter.
  3. Divide evenly between the three pans and press down firmly with your hand or the back of a spoon.
  4. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool while you make the chocolate cake batter. 

FOR THE CAKE

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
  3. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, water and vanilla.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans (about 12 ounces in each 6-inch pan or 15 ounces in each 8-inch pan), over the cooked graham cracker crusts and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out almost clean.
  6. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  7. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until ready to use. 

FOR THE MARSHMALLOW FILLING

  1. Place the marshmallows on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place on the middle rack of the oven, and broil the marshmallows until golden brown on top, about 30-60 seconds. Keep your eye on them!
  2. Remove the pan from the oven and gently turn the marshmallows over and broil them again until they are golden brown on the other side.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and powdered sugar and beat on low until blended. Add the vanilla and mix on medium speed for about three minutes
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add the marshmallow cream and (cooled) toasted marshmallows, and mix for about one minute. 

FOR THE GANACHE

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, pour the cream over the chocolate chips and heat for about 45-60 seconds. Stir, and if needed, heat for another 30 seconds to melt the chocolate chips completely. Let cool to room temperature before using.

FOR THE FLUFF

  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the eggs and salt until fluffy and frothy.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the sugar, corn syrup, water and vanilla paste. Heat over medium flame until the sugar is dissolved and just simmering, about 5 minutes.
  3. With the mixer on medium speed, add a tiny bit of the hot sugar mixture to the egg whites at a time. (Temper the eggs - don't scramble the them)
  4. Eventually, all of the sugar will be added and then turn the mixer up to high. Beat the mixture on high for about 5 minutes or until very stiff and shiny. 
  5. Best used right away. 

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and light in color, about 2 minutes.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually stream in the melted chocolate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another minute.
  3. Gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, followed by the salt and vanilla.
  4. Add the heavy cream and then turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 5 minutes.
  5. Frosting can be store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.
  6. When you're ready to frost the cake, bring the frosting back to room temperature and mix by hand with a wooden spoon to push out all of the air pockets. 

ASSEMBLY

  1. Level each chocolate cake layer, if needed, and then place the first cake layer, graham cracker side down, on a cake board.
  2. Spread half of the chocolate ganache on the cake layer and then freeze for 5 to 10 minutes to set the ganache a little.
  3. Carefully spread half of the toasted marshmallow filling over the chocolate ganache and repeat step 2 and 3 for the second cake layer.
  4. Place the final cake layer, graham cracker side down, on top and cover with a crumb coat layer of the chocolate frosting. Freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
  5. Finish frosting the cake with the chocolate frosting and then decorate the top of the cake with the marshmallow fluff, toasting with a kitchen torch, if desired.

67 thoughts on “Ultimate S’mores Cake

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  1. Hi Courtney! Just curious. If I make this cake today, but plan to eat it tomorrow, will it still taste fresh? And should I leave at room temperature? I’m not a big fan of cakes that are cold so I didn’t know if I could leave it out or not. Thanks and keep caking!!!

    1. You can definitely make it today. The only thing I would hold off making until tomorrow and adding right before you serve is the marshmallow fluff that goes on top. I don’t like my cake cold either, but I would still put it in the fridge, covered, tonight because there’s cream in the frosting. Then tomorrow morning you can put it at room temperature and let it sit out until you’re ready to serve.

  2. Hi Courtney, this cake looks fabulous! Would I be able to substitute a Swiss meringue buttercream or would it not hold up as well? And any hacks to warm the marshmallow topping without a kitchen torch? Thanks!!

    1. I haven’t tried SMB with this cake but I think you’d be able to use it, no problem. You could do the marshmallow topping without toasting it. I’m not sure there’s another option to toast it.

  3. I noticed you only used one cake acrylic disc when you frosted this cake. Is there a reason? I find that when I use my discs the part I hate the most is taking it off the bottom board. It’s just so much easier when the cake is already on the drum! Does using one disc make a difference? Also I noticed you weren’t using parchment under your top disc? It’s not hard to get the top disc off without out?!? Thanks for everything! You’re an inspiration!

    1. I sometimes just use one board too, but I don’t have a problem getting the cake off the bottom disk because the cake is also on a cake board so I just slide a knife under the cake board. I do add frosting on top of my cake before the top disk goes on. In my videos, you’ll see I actually put the top disk on right after the crumb coat has been set. I just haven’t had good luck with the parchment on top and trying to take it off.

  4. Hello! I have a couple of questions. I am fairly new to your site/instagram, so I don’t know if these things are questions you have been asked before. 1) You have two methods for making the chocolate frosting in the instructions. Is there one you prefer?? 2) I have 3 9″ cake pans and 3 7″ pans. I notice that most of your recipes are for 8″ pans. Do you recommend using 9″ pans and reducing cook time or using 7″ and reducing the amount used or increasing cook time? Thanks!!!

    1. So it’s actually a chocolate ganache and a chocolate buttercream – a filling and a frosting. You’ll want to use both in this cake. As for size of pans, that will just depend on how you want the layers to look. They’ll be thinner if you use the 9″ and thicker if you use the 7″. That will just be up to your preference.

      1. Sorry, just to clarify, in the instructions I see it goes: for the graham cracker crust, for the chocolate cake, for the toasted marshmallow filling, for the chocolate ganache, for the chocolate frosting, for the marshmallow fluff, for the chocolate frosting (again). I’m making the cake for my dad’s birthday and I want to make sure I’m doing it right!

  5. hi, this looks amazing.
    for the end, you don’t specify when/how to get the chocolate drips – is that leftover ganache?
    also, you said you had tried a bunch of recipes. did you try the banana smores sweetapolita one? wondering if you loved that one too??

    1. No, I’m sorry I didn’t specify. It’s 1/2 cup dark chocolate to 1/2 cup heavy cream. I haven’t tried the banana s’mores cake. I didn’t even know about that one and I’m actually posting a banana nutella s’mores cake soon!

  6. I absolutely love your cakes! I am making the smore cake and wanted to find out if the toasted marshmallow filling can be made ahead of time and if it should be stored in the fridge and brought to room temperature for use?

  7. Hi!
    I know you freeze your cakes and the separate elements regularly, but I’m specifically concerned about the freezing and thawing of the cake layers causing the precious graham cracker crust to get soggy. Any thoughts? I want to bake the cake layers, freeze them in your double plastic wrap/foil method and then assemble at a later date. Will I ruin the crunchy crust? 😐

  8. Hey Courtney,

    I am making this cake right now and I have used all of my ganache in between the layers. Do you make more ganache to do the chocolate drizzle?
    Thanks!

  9. Hi Courtney! What size cake boards did you use for the cake assembly? What size disk is your cake safe acrylic disk?

  10. First off, this looks fantastic! But with so many things (marshmallow fluff and so much chocolate), does the cake end up being sickly sweet?

  11. I made your Chocolate Cherry Pie Cake last week for my sister’s birthday and it was, no exaggeration, the best cake I have ever tasted. And beautiful! So I am making this one this weekend for my son’s birthday. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks for the recipes!

  12. Made this cake a few weeks ago. Halved the recipe and made a 3 layer 6in cake. The halved recipe is perfect for the size. It was fantastic. Many compliments from coworkers. My only “issue” is that it’s too chocolate-laden for my personal taste. I did forget the marshmallow fluff on top, which I know would have helped balance everything. The toasted marshmallow filling is LIFE. Will absolutely make again, just maybe without some of the chocolate for myself.

  13. This seems silly, do you sift the flour before measuring or after? I had read years ago to always sift first but there seems to be some recipes now that don’t sift the flour.

  14. Hello,
    I was wondering how I could adjust the recipe and bake time for either two 9inch layers? or I was thinking I would try three 6inch layers?

  15. Hi Courtney, this cake looks unbelievable and I can’t wait to try it! How could I adapt this recipe for 6” pans? Would half the recipe be enough for 3 6” layers? Or would the recipe as written give me 4 6” layers? How high do you fill your cake pans? Would the bake time change? And is the bake temp of 360 correct? Sorry for all the questions but I don’t want to mess up what I’m sure is an amazing cake!

    1. The recipe is made for 4 6inch pans or 3 8inch so use the recipe as written! Use a food scale to measure how many ounces go in each pan so they are all the same. Bake time and temp will be the same, just keep an eye on it!

  16. Sorry but one more question. I want to decorate this cake for a Christmas party and need the frosting to be white. What flavor frosting (besides chocolate)would compliment the cake and filling flavors without making it all taste too sweet? Vanilla American buttercream? Marshmallow buttercream? Vanilla Swiss Meringue?

  17. This cake is by far the best cake I have made and I have been baking for years. Brought it to a family Xmas party and said it was the best cake they have ever had and there were a lot of family to please. So thank you!!!

  18. I was wondering what kind of cocoa powder you use-dutch processed or just unsweetened? Since the recipe calls for baking soda I was thinking dutch, but you hadn’t specifically mentioned it so maybe it’s the other?

  19. Courtney, I’m new to your site and am so excited to start trying your reipes. (I just had a wedding cake made from a combination of your recipes – simply divine!) Part of what makes them so beautiful is the presentation. Where do I find acrylic cake discs? Thanks for the help!

  20. Hi Courtney, I plan on making this cake for my son’s birthday next week but I don’t need such a large cake. Any suggestions as to how I could modify the recipe to make a 3 layer 6″ cake? Would halving the ingredients work? Thank you for your wonderful recipes and tutorials. Wish I lived closer so I could take one of your classes!

  21. Can you bake any cake batter on a graham crust? Or would this only work with specific types of batter?!

    P.s Your cakes are to die for!!!

  22. I loved loved loved the texture of the crust in the cake. It was amazing. The cake was very rich, so a small piece was enough for me. I very much look forward to trying the Creme Brûlée one next!

  23. This is a life changer! I made it for our tenth anniversary (COVID 19 self isolating edition) and I can’t imagine that I’ll ever taste anything as amazing! Thank you!!!

  24. 4 stars
    I made this and it came out great! Thank you for the recipe, it’s a fun cake. In the cake batter itself, I had a bit of a problem getting my wet/dry ingredients to mix well with each other without over-mixing the batter, but the end result seemed fine regardless.

  25. This cake looks extraordinary, and I am planning on making it for my husband’s birthday this weekend. I do have a question regarding the graham cracker crust on the cake layers-does it make the cake difficult to cut/cause the fillings to squish out when cut? Or is it tender enough to cut through without squishing the cake? Thank you!

      1. 5 stars
        I made the cake this weekend, and we shared it with my husband’s family for his birthday. It was PHENOMENAL!!! Thank you for sharing!

  26. 5 stars
    I’ve made this cake 3 times and every time I serve it people say it is the best chocolate cake they have ever had! I was wondering if I used this chocolate cake recipe (without the graham crust) as cupcakes, what baking time would you suggest?

  27. This looks amazing! I plan on making this for a July 4th get together. What’s more American than s’mores! Should I torch the marshmallow fluff right before we eat it or can I do it ahead of time?

    Can’t wait to eat this! S’mores are my favorite. 😋😋😋

  28. Hi Courtney!

    Would I be able to use cake flour instead of AP flour or will they cake get soggy because of how light cake flour is? Also how many days in advance can I assemble the cake without it getting soggy? I want to make it for my bf’s birthday this Friday but wanted to start early.