S’mores Layer Cake

I made only a few slight changes to the original recipe in the new cookbook from the blogger behind the Smitten Kitchen blog, Deb Perelman. This is the second recipe I’ve made from the book and based on these two experiences and my multi-year devotion to following this blog, I wholeheartedly recommend everyone buy Pereleman’s book.

Servings: 16

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened, additional from greasing cake pans
4 whole eggs, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk
1-1/2 cup heavy cream
5 egg whites

1-2/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups graham cracker crumbs, ground fine (from about 12 full sheets)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1-1/8 tsp. salt, divided
1 lbs. milk chocolate, chopped
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Make cake layers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees-F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans and line with 8-inch circles of parchment paper, butter both sides of the parchment. In a small bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, and 1 tsp. salt – set aside.  In the work bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and airy. Add 4 whole eggs one at a time, mixing completely between eggs. Add half of the dry ingredients from the set aside bowl and mix on low. Add buttermilk and mix until incorporated. Add remaining dry ingredients, scrape sides of the bowl, and mix until incorporated.

Divide cake batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating half-way through baking to ensure even baking. Test with a toothpick, inserted it should come out clean when cakes are done. Cool cakes for 10 minutes in the pans, transfer to cooling racks and remove parchment paper. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Make chocolate ganache
While cakes are cooling, in a double boiler over simmering water, melt the milk chocolate and stir with a whisk to ensure melted chocolate is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream and remaining 1/8 tsp. salt. Whisk until smooth and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes, or until mixture is spreadable.

Assemble cake
Once cakes are cool and ganache is spreadable,  place a small dollop of ganache in the middle of a cake plate to secure the bottom layer. Spread half of the ganache on the top of the cake layer. Transfer frosted cake (the top layer has not yet been placed) to the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and place the top layer on the cake. Frost the entire cake with the remaining ganache. Transfer to the refrigerator again to chill for another 15 minutes.

Make marshmallow frosting
While cake is chilling, place the work bowl of a stand mixer over simmer water to form a double boiler. Add egg whites, remaining 1 cup granulated sugar, cream of tartar, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5 minutes over simmering water. Egg mixture will be thick and foamy. Remove from heat and beat on low in the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Gradually increase speed and beat for 5 to 7 minutes or until frosting is thick and shiny.

Decorate and serve
When marshmallow frosting is done and cake is chilled, remove cake from the refrigerator and cover in a thick layer of the marshmallow frosting, careful not to dig into the ganache and mix the frostings. Reserve approximately 1 cup of frosting and transfer to an icing bag. Cut a 1/2-inch opening in the bottom of the bag and decorate the top of the cake with dollops of frosting. Use a kitchen blow torch (the kind used for creme brule) and carefully toast the frosting dollops and other edges of the cake as desired. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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