A layer cake salute to the seasonal summer time dessert. This Smores Layer Cake’s flavors of honey, molasses, and cinnamon balance the sticky and gooey marshmallow buttercream filling and the silky chocolate frosting.
While autumn has pumpkin, winter has chocolate, and spring has lemon, summer has smores.
This dessert sandwich is the quintessential end to a summer day. Yet I hate smores. As a child I reveled in the joy of setting marshmallows on fire. I’d let the marshmallows burn on the stick until they were charred blackened shells, a make-sift glow stick. Once the smoldering marshmallow flame subsided, I eat only the charred shell. I liked the taste of burnt things when I was younger….
Marshmallows, graham, crackers, and chocolate, none of it peaks my interest. Give me a piece of vanilla cake any day. I found it obligatory to at least try to make a blog post about smores, even if it is only this one time. Despite my dislike for s’mores I do believe this is a successful rendition of the smores flavor profile.
Here’s what makes this Smores Layer Cake different from any other Smores cake around—it is very well balanced. Rather than use a chocolate cake as the base for this Smores Layer Cake, I opted to mess around with a graham cracker cake recipe. Since marshmallow is too sweet, I knew I needed earthy and some warm spice to tame the unwanted sugar hit from the marshmallow and chocolate. Though the original recipe called solely for honey, I found that swapping half of the honey for molasses gave the cake a deeper earthy flavor that was not lost in the baking process. The honey flavor was lost after baking, but the molasses supported the floral notes of the honey.
The sour cream chocolate frosting has the same molten consistency of semi-melted chocolate bars. Biting into this cake is a textural experience. The gooey sticky marshmallow filling and the creamy silky chocolate frosting are grounded by perfectly moist graham cracker cake. You get the graham cracker flavor without the nasty dryness. But if you’re looking for the sandy granular crunch, garnish the outside of this cake with a good patting of graham cracker crumbs. You’ll then have that the sandy crunch so indicative of graham crackers.
I dispersed the Smores Layer Cake to my neighborhood post office, and it seemed to have gotten good reviews. I will seldom make a Smores Layer Cake again, but I am certain I’ll be making this graham cracker cake, maybe as the base for a key lime pie layer cake? It’ll certainly reappear on this blog again. In the meantime bake up some summertime goodness. Or if you’re like me, burn up a few marshmallows!
- For the Graham Cracker Cake:
- 1 ½ cups cake flour
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ¼ cup buttermilk, room temperature
- For the Marshmallow Buttercream Filling:
- ½ cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- Generous pinch of kosher salt
- 1 ¼ cup marshmallow fluff or crème
- For the Silky Chocolate Frosting:
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 to 3 tablespoons hot water
- ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- For assembling the Cake:
- kosher salt
- ¼ to ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Use baking spray to coat four 6-inch round cake pans, set aside.
- Whisk together the flours, cracker crumbs, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and light in color. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl down and then add the honey, molasses, and vanilla extract. Mix until combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and set the speed to the lowest setting. Add the dry ingredients in three additions and the buttermilk in two additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Give the batter a stir by hand to ensure there’s nothing sticking to the bowl.
- Divide the batter evenly between the four pans and bake for 24 to 29 minutes, rotating halfway. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with a few moist, not wet, crumbs. Let the cake layers rest in the pans for 5 minutes before inverting them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter n a medium speed until pale in color and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl down. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla, sifted powdered sugar, and salt. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute. Turn off the mixer to add the marshmallow fluff. It is a sticky process so start on a low speed and gradually raise the speed until the marshmallow in completely combined. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the cake.
- In a bowl sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Beat the butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the sifted dry ingredients, 2 TABLESPOONS hot water, sour cream, and vanilla. If the mixture looks too thick, add another tablespoon, beat until incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl down. Add the melted chocolate and then raise the speed to medium and beat for a final 2 minutes. Once made, the frosting will look very wet. This is normal, put into a container and let it set up for 30 to 40 minutes in the fridge.
- If the cake layers have domes, use a serrate knife to level off the tops. Place the first layer on a cake board and spoon on the marshmallow filling. Sprinkle some kosher salt over the filling. Repeat this process with two more layers and then top with the final forth layer.
- Since the filling is very soft, let the cake firm up in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Frost the cake with an initial coating of Silky Chocolate Frosting and let the cake set up for 10 minutes. Repeat this process 2 to 3 times.
- With the final coating of frosting use a decorator’s comb on the outside. Lightly press graham cracker crumbs on the bottom of the cake. Top with mini marshmallows.