Growing up in the seventies on the east coast of Canada, I never ate a s’more.
We had plenty of bonfires, and ate lots of toasted marshmallows, but the only s’mores I encountered were in books.
When I finally did try my first (and only) s’more a few years ago, I found it, well, underwhelming.
I like the components – graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows – and the idea, but the combined experience seemed like a lot of work for something that was just kind-of-okay.
(Disclaimer: I don’t actually like camping. I’m a cabin and indoor plumbing kind of person. And I like toasting marshmallows more than I like eating the finished products. It could be that there is a gestalt to the s’more experience that is simply beyond me.)
When I discovered a recipe for graham cracker cake in a cookbook from 1942 that I found at a thrift shop, I wanted to revisit the iconic treat by creating an updated S’more Cake with rich chocolate ganache and a whipped marshmallow topping.
The original cake recipe called for graham cracker crumbs and no flour, which led to a heavy cake. It had good flavor, but the texture was too dense.
I added some all-purpose flour to lighten things up, and a bit of whole wheat flour for some extra character. I also subbed in brown sugar for half of the white, and reduced the number of eggs. The result is a lighter cake that still has lots of body and a good graham taste.
The ganache is a simple layer of chocolate and whipping cream. The recipe gives instructions for semi-sweet chocolate. You can substitute milk chocolate, but if you do you will need to reduce the cream to 2/3 of a cup and give the ganache a longer time to set.
The cake and chocolate are topped with a whipped marshmallow frosting. You could substitute with marshmallow fluff if you want to save a bit of time (though the frosting really does come together quickly).
If you like s’mores, you’ll like this S’more Cake.
If you don’t like s’mores, you’ll like this cake.
It’s pretty much win win.
- ½ cup / 125 ml vegetable oil
- ½ cup / 125 ml brown sugar
- ½ cup / 125 ml granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup / 125 ml milk
- 1 cup / 250 ml graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup / 250 ml all-purpose flour
- ½ cup / 125 ml whole wheat flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons / 7.5 ml baking powder
- ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml salt
- 2 cups / 500 ml chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml butter
- 1 cup / 250 ml whipping cream (35% or full cream)
- ½ cup / 125 ml granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons / 45 ml water
- 2 egg whites (or ½ cup / 125 ml of pasteurized egg whites)
- Pinch salt
- ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 177 degrees C.
- Grease a 9x9-inch / 23x23 ml baking pan, and line with 2 pieces of parchment paper that have been cut long enough to hang over edges of pan by 1 inch / 2.5 ml. Place the first piece of parchment paper so that the edges overhang, then place the second piece so that it overhangs the other edges. The paper will form a cross in the pan.
- Beat oil and sugar until fully mixed and thick.
- Add the eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly after each addition.
- Add the milk and beat until smooth.
- In separate bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt.
- Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture, and stir until combined.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes.
- Slip knife between the parchment paper and the baking pan to loosen. Using the overhanging paper, gently lift the cake onto a cooling rack. Leave the parchment paper on the cake and let cool completely.
- When the cake has cooled completely, gently lift back into the baking pan.
- Place chocolate and butter in mixing bowl.
- Heat cream in microwave or on stove top until bubbles appear around edges.
- Pour heated cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Stir cream and chocolate together. At first it will look grainy, but it will start to become glossy and thick as the cream and chocolate come together.
- If there are still unmelted bits of chocolate, heat the mixture in the microwave for 10-20 seconds, or place over a pan of gently simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted.
- Let the ganache cool for 10-15 minutes, then pour over the cooled cake that has been returned to the baking pan.The ganache will need to sit to set or firm up.
- Put sugar and water in small saucepan. Heat until the mixture comes to a simmer and the sugar has dissolved. DO NOT STIR. You can swirl the pan gently to move any clumps of sugar if needed.
- When the sugar has dissolved completely, pour the syrup into a glass measuring cup.
- While the syrup is cooking, place eggs whites in large metal or glass mixing bowl. Add the pinch of salt.
- Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
- With the beater running, slowly pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream until all the syrup has been added.
- Beat the mixture on high speed for seven minutes. Add the vanilla and beat into the frosting.
- Spread frosting over the cooled ganache.
- If you want a toasted top, place the frosted cake under the broiler for 20-30 seconds.