This is a smores lovers dream cake! This is a 3 layer smores cake with graham cracker crust, rich chocolate cake, toasted marshmallow filling, and graham cracker toasted marshmallow frosting. Topped with chocolate ganache, toasted marshmallows, and graham cracker pieces. A perfect combination of all the flavors we know and love in a classic campfire smores treat.
WHAT IS IN SMORES CAKE?
- Graham cracker crust
- Chocolate cake
- Toasted marshmallow filling
- Graham cracker and toasted marshmallow buttercream
- Chocolate ganache drip
HOW TO MAKE SMORES CAKE
Don't get overwhelmed that this cake has several different elements to it. Each one on its own is simple and easy to tackle.
You can even bake the cakes ahead of time. Once they come to room temperature cover with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to assemble.
- Marshmallows- Including the decoration, I used almost 2 (12 ounce) bags of large white marshmallows
- Marshmallow fluff- You will need a 7 ounce jar for the buttercream. Any brand will do just fine.
- Graham crackers- I prefer the honey-maid brand's flavor best but any kind will do.
- Butter- Set out butter for the frosting and filling a few hours prior to allow it to soften to room temp.
- Oil- You can use vegetable or canola oil.
- Eggs- Setting out 2 hours before baking or bring to room temp by submerging in warm water if in a pinch.
- Buttermilk- I used a low fat buttermilk from the grocery store.
- Powdered sugar- If possible sift the powdered sugar to prevent clumps and grittiness in buttercream.
- Cinnamon- This may be a surprising ingredient but it really enhances the flavor of the graham cracker crust. Trust me.
- Cocoa Powder- Good dutch processed dark cocoa will produce the best flavor. Ghirardelli does sell good quality unsweetened cocoa in most stores.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
Here is how to make the different elements of this smores cake.
STEP 1: Prepare the graham cracker crust. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and then line with parchment. In a food processor put 22-23 rectangle graham crackers and pulse into a fine crumb. These graham cracker crumbs are for the crust as well as the buttercream. Combine 2 cups graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. Stir until all the graham cracker crumbs are dampened by the melted butter. Divide evenly between the 3 pans and press down firmly with your hand or the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake for 5 minutes and cool.
STEP 2: Start on the cake. Speaking of cake, this chocolate cake recipe is based off of Cake by Courtney's chocolate cake recipe. It has been a long time favorite of mine, it is so moist and absolutely delicious. If you love cake you will love her recipes. Okay back to the recipe. Combine dry ingredients; flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine. Combine wet ingredients; Hot water, oil, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix to combine. Next, while mixing on low slowing pour wet ingredients into dry. Scraping the bowl when needed. Mix until just combined.
STEP 3: Bake and chill the cake. Pour chocolate batter into the prepared pans over the cooked graham cracker crusts and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with a few crumbs on it. Cool in pans for 10-15 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack and cooling completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in freezer until ready to use.
STEP 4: Prepare the toasted marshmallow filling. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper place 65 large white marshmallows. Place cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven, and broil the marshmallows until golden brown. Do not go anywhere and keep an eye on them! This will only take 30-60 seconds. Carefully rotate marshmallows and toast all sides. Once golden brown take out of the oven and let cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the ¼ cup butter and ½ cup powdered sugar beat together. With the mixer on low add the toasted and now cooled marshmallows and mix until incorporated.
STEP 5: Whip up the graham cracker toasted marshmallow buttercream. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper empty marshmallow fluff and broil until golden brown. Again, do not go anywhere and keep an eye on it! Once top is toasted pull out of oven and let cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter and shortening until incorporated. Then gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Scoop in the cooled toasted marshmallow fluff and ground graham cracker crumbs. Mix on low until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Gradually add heavy cream and turn mixer up to medium-high speed and beat.
ASSEMBLING THE CAKE TIPS
- Make sure the cake is cold before assembling. If not already cold, place the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes. A cold cake is easier to decorate, trust me.
- Place a small amount of frosting on the board you are decorating on. This helps to "glue" the cake in place.
- When staking the cake layers. First pipe a border of frosting around the edge and then fill with toasted marshmallow filling. This creates a border and keeps the filling from escaping out.
- Once the cake is stacked, apply a light layer of frosting around the outside and the top of the cake, this is called the crumb coat. Freeze the cake for 15 minutes to lock the crumbs into that base layer.
- Now, you can frost the rest of the cake! Since this buttercream has graham crackers and toasted marshmallows it will not be silky smooth but it will still look nice and taste amazing.
- Before adding the chocolate drip, freeze the cake for several minutes. A cold cake allows the drip to cool as it drips down. This helps prevent drips from going all the way to the bottom of the cake.
STORING AND FREEZING TIPS
How to store cake?
If you are storing the whole cake pre-sliced, you can keep it in the fridge uncovered for 24 hours. If you’re keeping it longer than that, I recommend using a cake container to ensure it doesn’t dry out. It will keep in the fridge untouched for 3 days for maximum freshness.
When the smores cake is already sliced, you can either slice the entire cake and store the slices in an airtight container, or place the entire cake in a cake container and press plastic wrap up against the sliced openings (this prevents it from drying out too quickly). Both stored in the fridge and will keep for up to 5 days.
How to freeze cake?
The smores cake can be frozen in individual cake slices or the whole cake pre-sliced.
If freezing the entire cake do not add top decorations and freeze the for 30 min. Take out and wrap with cling wrap until fully covered. Place back in freezer freeze up to 2 weeks. Before serving, unwrap cling wrap and leave at room temperature for several hours to thaw. Decorate and serve.
When freezing individual cake slices. Wrap each slice in cling wrap and freeze up to 2 weeks. unwrap cling wrap and leave at room temperature for 1 hour to thaw before eating.
Can I make this cake into cupcakes?
Yes you can! I should do that! Stay tuned! In the meantime, half the cake, filling, and graham cracker recipe. Keep the frosting the same. It should make approximately 12 cupcakes when the recipe is halved.
Can I use different size cake pans?
Yes you can. I personally have not tested it but it should make four layer 6 inch cake or a two layer 9 inch cake.
Graham cracker crust
- 2 cups (240 g) graham cracker crumbs, about 18 rectangular crackers
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups (220 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cups (350 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cups (88.5 g) dark cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) kosher salt
- 1 cup (240 g) buttermilk at room temperature
- ½ cup (109 g) vegetable or canola oil
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (236.6 g) hot water
Toasted Marshmallow filling
- 65 large white marshmallows, toasted
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar
Graham cracker and toasted marshmallow buttercream
- 1 jar marshmallow fluff, toasted
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- ½ cup shortening
- 4 to 4 ½ cups powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like it your buttercream)
- ½ cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs, about 5 full graham crackers
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and then line with parchment. Spray again and set aside.
- In a food processor put 22-23 rectangle graham crackers and pulse into a fine crumb. If you do not have a food processor, put graham crackers in a ziplock bag and crush with hands. These graham cracker crumbs are for the crust as well as the buttercream.
- In a medium sized bowl combine 2 cups graham cracker crumbs, ½ cup melted butter, ¼ cup granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Stir until all the graham cracker crumbs are dampened by the melted butter.
- Divide evenly between the 3 pans and press down firmly with your hand or the bottom of a measuring cup.
- Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool while you make the chocolate cake batter.
- CHOCOLATE CAKE
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Combine the 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar, ¾ cup cocoa, 2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low until just combined.
- In another bowl, combine the 1 cup buttermilk, ½ cup vegetable oil, 3 large eggs, 1 cup hot water, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix to combine.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Once all wet ingredients have been poured in top mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula. Continue mixing on low to incorporate.
- Pour chocolate batter into the prepared pans (about 15 ounces in each 8-inch pan.) Over the cooked graham cracker crusts and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with a few crumbs on it.
- Cool in pans for 10-15 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack and cooling completely.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in freezer until ready to use.
- TOASTED MARSHMALLOW FILLING
- On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper place 65 large white marshmallows. Place cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven, and broil the marshmallows until golden brown. Do not go anywhere and keep an eye on them! This will only take 30-60 seconds.
- Once golden brown take pan out of the oven and rotate marshmallows to other side and broil again for 30-60 seconds. Once golden brown take out of the oven and let cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the ¼ cup butter and ½ cup powdered sugar and mix on low until incorporated then beat on medium for 2 to 3 minutes.
- With the mixer on low add the toasted and now cooled marshmallows and mix until incorporated.
- GRAHAM CRACKER & TOASTED MARSHMALLOW BUTTERCREAM
- On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper empty a 7 ounce jar of marshmallow fluff into one large mound. Place cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven, and broil the marshmallow fluff until golden brown. Again, do not go anywhere and keep an eye on it! This will only take 30-60 seconds like the marshmallows.
- Once top is toasted pull out of oven and let cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat ½ cup room temperature butter and ½ cup shortening on medium high speed until incorporated.
- With the mixer on low gradually add 4 cups powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Scoop in the cooled toasted marshmallow fluff and mix until incorporated. Taste and add ½ cup powdered sugar if the frosting needs it.
- Add ½ cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs. Mix on low until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.
- With the mixer on medium-low, gradually add ¼ cup heavy cream. Once cream has been added turn mixer up to medium-high speed and beat buttercream for 4-5 minutes.
- Place the first cake layer on a cake board, with the graham cracker crust on the bottom. Pipe the buttercream along the edge of the cake to make a border. Gently spread half of the toasted marshmallow filling over the cake layer inside the buttercream border.
- Place second cake layer with graham cracker layer on bottom on the layer of filling and repeat process for piping buttercream and fill with remainder of toasted marshmallow filling.
- Place final cake layer, with graham cracker layer on the bottom, on top of the second layer of filling.
- Apply a thin layer of buttercream around the entire cake and freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Once the crumb coat is set, finish frosting entire cake and freeze for 5 minutes while making chocolate ganache.
- Chocolate Ganache: In a microwave safe bowl add 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and ½ cup heavy cream. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave for another 30 seconds. Repeat until chocolate chips are melted.
- Pour ganache on the top middle of the cake and spread slowly to the outside edge using an offset spatula. Lightly push the chocolate ganache over the edge of the cake in places and let it drip down the sides.
- To decorate, top the cake with more toasted marshmallows, chocolate bar pieces and graham cracker pieces.
Flour- Make sure to spoon and level the flour or use a kitchen scale. Compacted flour can dry out the cake.
Room temperature eggs, butter, and buttercream create the best results. If in a pinch place eggs and carton of buttercream in hot water for a minute or two. Place butter in microwave for 5 seconds.