This is a perfect recipe, a wonderful play on the old-fashioned campfire combo of graham crackers, chocolate and toasted marshmallows in cake form.
Dark Chocolate Cake
- 1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
- 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate pieces
- 2 cups heavy cream
Brown Butter Graham Cracker Crust
- 3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 8 graham crackers (the whole rectangle)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
Step 1: First make the frosting: Place the chocolate pieces in a medium heat-proof bowl. In a small pot, bring the cream to a simmer. Pour the cream over the chocolate pieces and let sit for about 5 minutes. Whisk the chocolate and cream until smooth and shiny. Set aside to cool and thicken (this can take up to an hour).
Step 2: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8−inch round cake pans with circles of parchment paper and baking spray.
Step 3: Make the graham cracker crust: Melt the butter and cook over low heat until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
Step 4: In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers with the sugar and salt until really fine. Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl. P our the brown butter over the crumbs and gently mix together until uniform moist crumbs form. Divide the graham cracker crumbs evenly between two of the three prepared pans, pressing them down firmly with a spatula. Set aside.
Step 5: Next make the dark chocolate cake: Put the cocoa powder in a small bowl, and pour the boiling water on top of it. Whisk the water and cocoa together until smooth, and then set aside until cooled.
Step 6: In a mixing bowl or standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
Step 7: In a separate bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together. Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the cooled liquid cocoa to the batter. Mix to combine. Repeat with the remaining half of the dry ingredients and the remaining half of the liquid cocoa; mix into a smooth batter. Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Gently spread the batter over the graham cracker crust in two of the pans. Bake for 25 minutes, taking care not to overbake the cakes.
Step 8: Cool the cake layers in their pans on wire racks.
Step 9: Cover a cake plate with a few strips of parchment or wax paper. T urn out one of the cake layers with the graham crust onto the prepared cake plate, graham layer up. Put a large dollop of fudge frosting on top of the crust and spread evenly onto the round. Follow with the second layer of cake with graham crust and another layer of fudge frosting. Finally, top with the third round, which is just cake, domed side up. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour.
Step 10: Meanwhile, make the marshmallow topping: In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the eggs and salt until pale and frothy.
Step 11: Meanwhile, in a small pan, heat the sugar, corn syrup, water and vanilla bean paste over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has just reached a simmer, about 5 minutes.
Step 12: With the mixer on medium speed, add a tiny bit of the hot sugar mixture to the egg whites. You want to temper the eggs, not scramble them! Keep adding a small amount at a time until eventually all of the sugar mixture has been added. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat the topping for about 5 minutes, or until very stiff and shiny.
Step 13: Remove the cake from the refrigerator. With the remaining fudge frosting, which should be stiff and glossy, frost the top and sides of the cake in a smooth even layer. Then carefully remove the parchment from the bottom of the cake to reveal a nice clean cake plate.
Step 14: Mound the marshmallow frosting on top of the cake. (It should be stiff enough that it will stay put.) Using a kitchen torch, lightly toast the marshmallow frosting. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Heather Christo's Generous Table.