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s’more cake

Thursday, October 30, 2014

s'more cake | the vanilla bean blog
I spent an afternoon looking through cookbooks with my daughter, and she immediately gravitated toward this s’more cake. So we made it. I used my favorite chocolate layer cake, then coated it in marshmallow-like frosting and crushed graham crackers. It was a sticky mess, as the delicate chocolate cake crumbled all over the frosting, the meringue did not streak into beautiful tall peaks as I had imagined, and then the top scorched under the broiler. I was just about to shelve the recipe when I tasted a small  piece that had broken off at the edge. Instantly my mind wandered to junior high sleepovers where there was always a boxed mix and a can of frosting for midnight cake baking; summer camp nights with friends, singing around the fire and scorching our fingers while we gobbled down burnt marshmallows and melty chocolate, and that Friday afternoon in 10th grade when I started an epic cake fight in my American history class. There was confetti and smashed bits of cake covering everyone and everything and I was grounded from the car for weeks, but I never regretted throwing that first piece. In other words, this cake was amazing.
s'more cake | the vanilla bean blog
s'more cake | the vanilla bean blog
smore cake4 (1 of 1)blogsize
s'more cake | the vanilla bean blog
Imperfection has an important place in the kitchen. I had forgotten the beauty of hands, shirts, and dishtowels covered in frosting, lopsided cake layers, and chocolate crumbs scattered all over my counter in a delicious mess.

“Try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun.” – Julia Child

s'more cake | the vanilla bean blog

S’more Cake
from Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson

I used The Chocolate Cake for the cake layers. It tasted delicious, but the layers are a bit delicate and a crumb coat was rather impossible here, so it turned into a bit of a chocolate mess. If you have a favorite chocolate cake recipe you can feel free to use that instead. Following Joy’s instructions, I sprinkled crushed graham crackers between each frosted layer, and then gently pressed them into the sides of the cake to cover up all my chocolate crumbles stuck in the frosting.

This recipe will make about 5 cups of frosting. You must use the frosting immediately on the cake! You can toast the meringue with the flame of a kitchen torch, or in a 375 degree oven for about 4 minutes. Mine was in the oven for 10 minutes and hadn’t changed colors, so I stuck it under the broiler for a few seconds, and charred the top. But I like a little char on my marshmallows when I make s’mores, so I thought it was appropriate. Also, I liked how the frosting sort of puffed up after being in the oven for a bit – it made it seem more like a toasted marshmallow.

This cake is so dang good. Really.

marshmallow meringue frosting
5 large egg whites
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a large, heat-proof bowl, whisk together the egg whites, corn syrup, sugar, and salt. Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the simmering water. Whisk the mixture as it heats and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. The mixture will be fluffy and glossy and look like melted marshmallows. It’ll be sticky, too. Beat in the vanilla. Frost cake just after frosting is made.
s'more cake | the vanilla bean blog

  • Reply
    Liz @ Floating Kitchen
    Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Beautiful cake – imperfections and all. And I would have loved to see that cake fight!

  • Reply
    Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land
    Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    I love that about imperfection in the kitchen – love the memories, sarah! your description reminded me of one of my first cakes i made for my husband 13 years ago – cake mix and canned frosting, and I tried so hard to make it look “perfect” … it looked like total crap but it was well loved and eaten anyway! Love the sound of this cake too, I need to try your chocolate cake recipe…. xo

  • Reply
    Matt Robinson
    Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    Such a great cake, from the flavor to its appearance. Love it!

  • Reply
    Dani @theloveofvanilla
    Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    What a lovely quote from Julia Child 🙂 sometimes the worst looking things taste great and your cake still looked pretty fantastic to me!

  • Reply
    thelittleloaf
    Friday, October 31, 2014 at 5:29 am

    I love everything about this post – the nostalgia, the messiness, the Julia Child quote and the fact that it’s one of brilliant Joy’s recipes. On a marshmallowy note, I highly recommend getting a cheap blowtorch – it will change your life when it comes to baked alaskas and cakes like this! x

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    Friday, October 31, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Like your daughter, I would TOTALLY gravitate towards s’more cake too! This is gorgeous.

    • Reply
      Elsie
      Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      Haha, agreed!

  • Reply
    Sara @ Cake Over Steak
    Friday, October 31, 2014 at 8:10 am

    This is sooooo lovely. I finally finished leafing through Joy’s book during my lunch break yesterday. I want to make EVERYTHING. Your cake looks wonderful, in all of its charred imperfections. Beautiful post, Sarah.

  • Reply
    Ana
    Friday, October 31, 2014 at 8:28 am

    That looks like an amazing cake! The ‘messy’ cakes taste the best!

  • Reply
    Sacha
    Friday, October 31, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Oh, this is wonderful, Sarah. Lately I’ve found myself trying to make things prettier than I normally do when really I am a rustic, imperfect baker. I think this cake is beautiful and it sounds downright decadent.

  • Reply
    Maryna
    Friday, October 31, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Your cake is perfectly imperfect)

  • Reply
    Amanda
    Friday, October 31, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I love your optimism. But then, a great-tasting cake overlights a multitude of darknesses. Happy Halloween.

  • Reply
    Abby
    Friday, October 31, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    your writing is beautiful (as always!), Sarah, and these photos are just flawless. i love the one with your daughter and the slice of cake. 🙂

  • Reply
    Boozy Epicure
    Friday, October 31, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    I see nothing but beauty in your cake photos. Love the post and now have an unreal craving for S’mores!

  • Reply
    Lindsay | Please Pass the Peas
    Friday, October 31, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Love that you posted this cake even though it didn’t turn out looking quite the way you imagined. I see so many pictures of perfect, fancy cakes that look absolutely beautiful — but this one is actually more appealing to me. Sometimes messy really is best.

  • Reply
    Kelly
    Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    I so agree with you! Imperfection must have a place in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Kelly Holmes
    Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    I, like many of your readers, am addicted to various cooking and baking blogs. It’s one of my favorite self-care activities: losing myself in page after page of sweet and salty adventures. Sometimes I do get discouraged, though, and feel like I could never recreate the masterpieces my idols create. It is so wonderful to be reminded that imperfections can also be triumphs, and that beauty in food is oh so relative. I happen to be experiencing a particularly low moment in my life right now, and this post lifted my spirits hugely. Thank you for not scrapping it and sharing it with us instead.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Carol at Wild Goose Tea
    Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Great blog from the delicious but imperfect cake to the epic cake food fight. Made me laugh. Your daughter is sweet and the frosting is divine. And the reverse could be said and also be true—Your daughter is divine and the frosting is sweet.

  • Reply
    Jessica @ Sweet Menu
    Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    WOW! Truly gorgeous cake! And your photography – talk about stunning!

  • Reply
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
    Monday, November 3, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Who can resist a s’more, especially with homemade marshmallow?! You know that I can’t! 😉

  • Reply
    Kathryn
    Monday, November 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Well, I think this cake looks pretty perfect to me. But, most of it, it looks like it tells a story.

  • Reply
    Jordan @ The Balanced Blonde
    Monday, November 3, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Ohhh my goodness this looks and sounds ridiculously decadent and delicious! I have been in SUCH a chocolate mood all day (even more so than usual, for some reason!) so this really does sound extra wonderful. And your daughter is too adorable for words back there! Xox

  • Reply
    kristie {birch and wild}
    Monday, November 3, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Oh my goodness, this looks incredible! I have never had smores, but I really want to try this cake. I will use the excuse that I need to practice my meringue skills 🙂

  • Reply
    Anja
    Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Mmm … this looks delicious 🙂

  • Reply
    Paige
    Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    I love that you didn’t toss this. Wonderful story that also brought lost memories of high school back. Thanks so much for sharing this imperfect cake!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Charlotte
    Friday, November 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    WOW this cake looks almost black! I looove intense cocoa falvour <3

  • Reply
    Anna
    Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    ‘Imperfection has an important place in the kitchen”

    I couldn’t agree more – my kitchen is my no-judgment, flour-dusted, lopsided sanctuary. Perfection is over rated.

  • Reply
    johanne
    Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Finally found a perfect desert for thanksgiving.

  • Reply
    Heather
    Friday, January 9, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    This looks delicious! I love a marshmallow meringue and you can’t beat anything s’mores!

  • Reply
    April
    Friday, April 24, 2015 at 6:11 am

    I’m in love. I definitely have to try this recipe.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Rachel
    Monday, October 12, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Wow this recipe looks amazing!

  • Reply
    Eden Passante
    Thursday, March 3, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Wow! Looks so good! Love this idea!

  • Reply
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