Ultimate S’mores Cake


Apr 23

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

Yield 1 3-layer, 8-inch 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!

Ingredients

For the Graham Cracker Crust

  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs, about 25-27 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)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 

For the Chocolate Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups, minus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot water 

For the Toasted Marshmallow Filling (recipe source: Sweetapolita, Campfire Delight Cake)

  • 16 large white marshmallows
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 jar (about 200 g) marshmallow fluff

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream 

For the Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar, measured and then sifted
  • 1 tablespoon 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 heavy whipping cream 

For the Marshmallow Fluff (recipe source: HeatherChristo.com)

  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light karo syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or clear vanilla extract

Instructions

For the Graham Cracker Crust

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Spray three 8-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 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool while you make the chocolate cake batter. 

For the Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 360 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 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 Toasted 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 Chocolate 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 Chocolate Frosting

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for one minute.
  2. Gradually add the powdered sugar.
  3. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined.
  4. Slowly add the cooled, melted chocolate, while the mixer is on medium-low speed. Once all the chocolate is added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer on medium-low speed again and mix for another 30 seconds.
  5. Slowly add the whipping cream and continue to beat for 2 more minutes, until light and fluffy.
  6. Using a wooden spoon, mix the frosting by hand, trying to push out any air bubbles. 

For the Marshmallow 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 Chocolate Frosting

  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 cooled, 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.

9 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.