Monday, June 10, 2013

Giant S'more Cake

I love planning and putting together birthday parties for my kids. We have a tradition to invite our whole immediate families to our children's first birthday. Since my daughter was born in the summer, I thought it would be perfect to throw an outdoor/camping themed party. I haven't had a chance to blog about the whole party, so stay tuned.

I wanted to have a s'more bar, so I thought it would be perfect to make a giant s'more for her birthday cake. I found the original idea on the Not Just a Housewife blog. I took those concepts and created my version of the S'more cake. I loved her idea for making the homemade graham cracker. The dough was so good and it was perfect being made in advance. It's a really great recipe and worked nicely for the cake.

I made (2) 9-in round chocolate cakes since we were going to be serving a lot of people. Although the giant graham crackers are so cute and even taste delicious, I didn't think people would want a big hunk of cracker with their cake, so I opted for a graham cracker cream filling. I have to tell you, the filling was to die for. I'm not usually a big graham cracker fan, but it totally worked with this cake. I wanted the cake to look like a real S'more, so I opted for marshmallow frosting (AKA "7 Minute Frosting") that could be toasted with a kitchen torch (thanks to my awesome friend, Missy, for that great idea). I also wanted the chocolate to look melted, so I thought chocolate ganache would be a perfect addition for that. 

So I didn't do a practice run with this cake before my daughter's birthday, so this was all trial and error. The flavors were so yummy, but there were a few aesthetic hiccups that I had to figure out the day of the party. So fortunately for you, you can learn from my mistakes. The biggest problem is that I made the graham crackers way to big and they were too thin, so they were kinda droopy when the top was placed. I did them a little bit smaller than a standard baking sheet. The next time I make this cake I will make them each about 10"x10". That way they are slightly bigger than the cake, but you won't have to deal with any droopage. :) Also, always always ALWAYS work with frozen cakes when you frost them. That prevents all of those little cake crumbs from getting in your frosting. It's especially important when using the marshmallow frosting. Seriously, frozen cakes are so much easier to work with.

So here's what you need. I'm going to separate it into each component:

(2) 9-in round chocolate cakes, baked and frozen

Homemade Graham Crackers: (slightly adapted from Not Just a Housewife)
-1 C butter (2 sticks)
-1 C brown sugar 
-1/2 C dark corn syrup
-1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
-1 1/2 tsp baking soda
-4 C all-purpose flour
-4 TBS cold water

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla together in a medium mixing bowl. Add baking soda and flour and mix until incorporated. Add 2 TBS of water and continue stirring. Add a TBS of water at a time until you have a dough-like consistency. My flour was more dry, so I used all 4 TBS of water. 

2. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. Do not skip this step or the dough will be super messy to work with. 

3. Take a piece of parchment paper (mine is the size that fits a standard baking sheet) and sprinkle a little flour on op. Take half of chilled dough and begin to roll it out. You want it about 1/4" thick. Roll it out bigger than you need so that you can cut clean, crisp edges. Cut your rolled dough with a pizza cutter into a 10"x10" square. Repeat for the other cracker. 

4. Take a wooden dowel and make an impression in the middle of the dough. Then take the end of the dowel and make the circular impression to resemble a real graham cracker. 

5. Transfer the piece of parchment paper with the rolled out dough on top and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes until cracker is golden brown. If you bake less time then you'll have a softer texture, so make sure to bake enough time to ensure a cracker-like consistency and so that it doesn't fall apart when you assemble your big S'more. Remove from oven and allow the cracker to rest 5-10 minutes before transferring the parchment paper (with the cracker on top) to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before assembling your cake. 

Graham Cracker Filling:
-(1) 8oz. cream cheese, room temp
-3/4 C canned marshmallow cream
-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
-1/2 C prepared marshmallow frosting (the same you are using for the cake)
-2/3 C graham cracker crumbs, finely processed in a blender or food processor

1. In a small mixing bowl combine cream cheese, marshmallow cream and vanilla on medium speed until well-combined. Then add marshmallow frosting and graham cracker crumbs until combine. Refrigerate until you are ready to fill your cake. 

To fill cake: Place one cake layer down on frosting pedestal. Add graham cracker filling in the center of cake. Use a knife or an off-set spreading spatula and spread out the filling in an even layer to the edges of the cake. Place the next layer on top and then proceed to frosting the whole cake with marshmallow frosting.  

Marshmallow Frosting:
-1 1/2 C white sugar
-1/2 C water
-2 egg whites
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. cream of tartar 
-1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1. In top of a double boiler combine all ingredients. Stir until ingredients are just combine. If you are using pure vanilla extract, your mixture will look brown. Don't worry; after you beat your frosting it will become white and glossy. While water is heating, beat all ingredients with an electric mixer at high speed for about a minute.

2. Place top of double boiler over rapidly boiling water and beat at high speed until mixture forms soft peaks (peak tops fold over). This took me about 3-4 minutes.

3. Remove pan from heat and transfer mixture into a separate mixing bowl. Continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks form and mixture becomes glossy and thick enough to spread. This took about 2-3 minutes.


4. Frost your filled cake. I like using a rotating cake pedestal for this step. If you aren't an expert at frosting a cake, don't worry because this frosting is forgiving and I think that adds to toasted look of being a marshmallow. In fact, I actually purposefully made the cake have some imperfections in the frosting so that I could get some toasted dimensions on the outside of the cake. 

5. Once you have frosted your cake, take a kitchen torch or a heavy-duty torch on the lowest setting possible to toast the outside. Be careful not to burn the cake. I practiced a few times with a spoonful of frosting before trying to toast the cake. You don't have to toast the top of the cake since it's going to be covered in ganache, but I did anyways so that I would have an even look once the ganache was on. I didn't want to have to battle melting ganache. 

6. Once your cake is toasted, top with cooled ganache and drizzle in on the sides so that it resembles melted chocolate. Make sure the ganache is barely warm or you will melt the frosting. 

Chocolate Ganache:
-4 oz. semi-sweet baking chips
-4 oz. heaving whipping cream

1. Combine baking chips and whipping cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir mixture. If chocolate is not melted entirely, continue microwaving on high for another minute, stirring in 15-30 second intervals. 

2. Allow the ganache to cool so that it's barely warm to the touch. If the ganache cools too much it will become thick like frosting. If the ganache cools too much before you need it, just microwave it 10-15 seconds and stir before you drizzle. Make sure cake and ganache are chilled before assembling the cake.

Assembly of Cake:

1. I like using Wilton Cake boards. You probaly want to get a 10" circle or an 11x13 rectangle. I used the latter since my crackers were a lot bigger. You just need something that you can lift when the cake is assembled to transport it to where it will be displayed. 

2. Place one large cracker on the cake board. Carefully lift the cake and place on top of graham cracker. Carefully place the 2nd graham cracker on top. 

Cut, serve and enjoy! I wouldn't taken a picture of a slice of the cake, but it got eaten too fast! :) Here is the cake with the S'more bar.

Happy Baking!

Here's the printable recipe.


  1. I'm making this for my daughter's birthday tomorrow. It looks so delicious, I hope I can do it justice. :) Question: how do you cut the cake when serving? Did you take off the graham cracker and just put a piece of it on each plate or did you slice through it?

    1. Hi Libby! I'm excited you are going to make it. I took off the top cracker and then just cut the cake like normal. I actually didn't serve it with the cracker because the filling was so graham crackery. I basically just make the giant graham crackers for aesthetic purposes. I'm sure you could just break off a small piece and stick it on the top and that would be super cute.

      Let me know how it turns out! I think you'll love it! :)

    2. It was a hit! All her friends raved over the cake. It was the perfect topper for the camping party. Thank you so much for sharing your modifications. I think this is the best version I've seen!

    3. Libby, I'm so glad it turned out well for you! That was one of my favorite cakes to make. I'm glad it was a hit! :)