October 14, 2011

Pretty Little S'mores Cake

Dear friend, I figured that if we couldn't go camping this weekend, I would bring the S'mores to you.
As you may or may not know, I love to camp. I like to spend the summer days roaming around the wilderness like a nomad, looking for the perfect camp spot, ideally near a gushing river, fed by an overflowing water fall, running off a towering mountain peak. Are you familiar with the term 'flash-camper'. It's similar to a flash-packer, a backpacker who prefers not to sleep with cockroaches, nor in a 5 star abode. This is me in a nutshell. I like to bring along the finer luxuries, such as my extra-large man-bear therm-a-rest, a cooler full beer, a car full of food, a hammock, some camping chairs, a lantern, etc. You know, the good stuff. Mr. H decided that we should step up our level of hardcore by leaning more towards multi-day treks instead of luxury camping. With his newfound interest in mind, we splurged on some ultra light-weight camping accessories, when in my mind we should have splurged on an RV. This was clearly the next progression.

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. H and I went on our first big trek. We picked a hike in the Northern Cascade range with a breathtaking glacier at the end. This hike was only accessible by car, up a tiny narrow winding gravel road that scaled the edge of the mountain. Just as we begun our initial accent, a giant rock came out of nowhere and pierced the side of our tire. Mr. H pulled over to change our flat, and as soon as he kneeled down, it started rain. I, having a slight hatred of rain, wanted to turn around, but Mr. H was determined to conquer nature.

After he changed the tire and finally convinced me to hike in the rain, we hiked for 4 hours, after which we finally arrived at a beautiful meadow between two mountains. We looked around and were surrounded by wild flowers, waterfalls, and marmots. Without a map, or any real idea of where we were going, we decided to keep trucking in hopes of finding the glacier. Two grueling hours later, up a near-vertical slope, we arrived at the base of the glacier - cold, sore, hungry, and tired. We set up camp, ate some soup, and called it a night.

The next morning, the magnificent sun decided to grace us with her presence. It was sunny long enough to hike up the glacier with clear skies, in running shoes, with no crampons, and a bottle of wine as an ice axe. We made it, and the view from the top was breathtaking.

Now I'd like to take a moment to share with you some of the key lessons learned.

a) There can never be too much chocolate
b) Two pairs of socks is better than one
c) Wine bottles make excellent ice axes
d) Fluffy dogs make excellent heating pads
e) Marmots make terrifying screeches
f) Always carry an axe. It may come in handy when changing a tire

The stars must be aligned, because I've now completed a multi-day trek and didn't die. Scaled a glacier with a wine bottle and then slid down on my butt suffering only minor injuries.  And finally, combined cake and S'mores, although I guess it would've been more awesome to have made a S'mores cake while hiking. So, if you're like myself and suffer from sudden insatiable cravings for all things chocolate, particularly S'mores and cake at the same time, then this recipe is for you.

This cake is ooey and gooey, just like a S'more minus campfire smoke. For this recipe I used a ultra moist chocolate cake, sandwiched together with a toasted marshmallow frosting, all covered with a decadent chocolate frosting, and finished off with graham cracker crumbs. Amazing, am I right?

[Print Recipe]

{cake recipe adapted from Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger}

Cake Ingredients
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup, natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup whole milk
1 cup boiling water
1 - 2 cups graham cracker crumbs

Chocolate Icing Ingredients
1 1/4 cups white granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
5 ounces 99% unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Marshmallow Icing Ingredients
16 large or 9 extra large marshmallows
1 cup icing sugar
2 sticks of butter, unsalted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter the bottom of 2 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper and sides of the pans. 

2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. With a hand mixer, beat in the eggs, oil, and milk on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and mix for two minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the boiling water. Don't worry, the batter will be soupy.

3. Divide the batter between the 2 pans and bake for 30 - 35 minutes. Once done, remove the pans from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove the cake from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

4. To make the chocolate icing, combine sugar and cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Stir occasionally. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat, pour into a bowl and add vanilla. Cool the frosting until it becomes thick and spreadable. Do not ice the cake until it is completely cooled.

5. To make the marshmallow icing, turn the oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the marshmallows on top. Place the baking sheet in the oven and toast the marshmallows for one minute on each side until slightly brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.

6. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the icing sugar and butter on medium speed for one minute. Add the vanilla and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the toasted marshmallows and mix until combined.

7. In between the two layers of cake, spread the marshmallow icing. Cover the whole cake with chocolate icing.  Cover the sides of the cake with graham cracker crumbs and then an additional layer of marshmallow on the top. 


  1. Oh.My.God. It's Waldo! On a Glacier!

  2. I was totally going to write that in my post, but thought Mr. H might not appreciate it. Glad you found waldo!