Monday, August 17, 2015

Scrumptious S'mores Cake

I came across this Martha Stewart Wedding Scrumptious S'mores Cake a few weeks ago on Pinterest. It immediately caught my attention because one, it's a s'mores cake and I loves s'mores; and two, it has a graham flour cake instead of the more traditional chocolate you usually see as the base of a s'mores cake. I knew I had to make it and compare it to the two s'mores cakes I've made - Sweetapolita's Campfire Cake and my Peanut Butter S'mores Cake. 

Before I get to my review, let's talk some more about this cake. The first thing to take note of is that it uses Graham Flour. This is a specialty item and might be hard to find. In fact, I went to three different health food stores near me and couldn't find it. Since I didn't have time to order it, I ended up substituting Garbanzo Bean Flour - a recommended substitute from the person at the health food store. There are also some recipes online for homemade graham flour, which, in retrospect, I wish I had done. Because I didn't use the exact ingredient called for in the recipe, I'm not sure if the cake would have had a graham cracker flavor at all. Mine did not. Instead, it was more of a buttery, yellow cake. A little dense, but with a good flavor. Will it go into rotation as a go-to cake for me, probably not. But I will for sure try the cake again with graham flour. I just have to know what the difference will taste like. 

Because I didn’t get that graham cracker flavor in the cake, and this is a s’mores cake and I feel like it MUST have a graham cracker element, I decided to make the graham cracker crumbs from the s’mores cake I posted last week. Instead of baking them in round cake pans, I baked the crumbs on a sheet pan and crumbled them.

There are also a lot of other components to the cake, which create a medley of textures and flavors in each bite. Don't skip out on any of them. 

Another thing about this cake - it uses Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Swiss Meringue Frosting. A meringue frosting uses egg whites as the base and can take some time to get just right. Well, it did for me, so let me offer a couple of tips to make it easier for you: 1. make sure to dissolve the sugar completely without cooking the eggs. You'll need to whisk constantly while the mixture sits over simmering water. If you don't dissolve the sugar completely, you'll get a grainy texture in the frosting; 2. whisk the egg whites on high until stiff peaks for, like the picture below.



At this point, you're done with the frosting you'll use on the outside of the cake, but for the buttercream filling, you continue to whisk in butter by tablespoons. If the egg whites aren't strong enough, the mixture will start curdle. If your buttercream starts to curdle, DON'T THROW IT OUT! Continue to whisk on high until the ingredients form back into a smooth texture. It may take 5-8 minutes, so be patients and hold back the tears.

For the toasted marshmallows, I ended up making two batches. The first batch is pictured on the right below. I didn't cook it long enough (15 minutes) and, as a result, it was still sticky in the middle and hard to break apart. For the second batch, pictured on the left, I cooked the marshmallows for 18 minutes and they turned out perfect. Once they cooled to room temperature, I was able to break the marshmallows apart easily. 




Because I added the toasted graham cracker component, I didn't use the toasted marshmallows in every layer like the original recipe. Instead, I alternated the graham cracker crumbs and marshmallows in every other layer.





Oh, and I'm a kitchen torch novice, so I didn't toast my frosting. Check out the original recipe HERE and see how gorgeous the Martha Stewart Weddings cake looks.




Overall, I really enjoyed this cake. I love the combinations of flavor and texture. However, compared to the other s'mores cakes I've made, this one isn't my favorite - mostly because I just prefer a chocolate cake than a yellow cake. I do want to try making the graham cake with the graham flour and seeing what flavor difference that makes. I think you could also substitute the graham cake with a chocolate cake and get an outstanding creation.

Try it out and let me know what you think!


Martha Stewart Weddings Scrumptious S’mores Cake

Yield: one 9-inch, 4-layer cake
(I did 3, 8-inch pans, and ended up with 5 layers because one of my layers broke. Oops)

Graham Cake
1 ½ cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ cups graham flour
3 cups cake flour
3 tablespoons wheat germ
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
1 cup honey
8 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla
2 ½ cups milk

Honey Syrup
½ cup water
½ cup honey

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 large egg whites
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons guar
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Toasted Marshmallows
5 ounces mini marshmallows

Swiss Meringue Frosting
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Toasted Graham Cracker Crumbs (my addition)
18 graham crackers, rectangle
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt


Instructions:

Graham Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch diameter by 2-inch high pans, line bottoms with parchment, butter parchment, then flour both pans, knocking out the excess flour. Set aside.
2. Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt, then whisk in the wheat germ.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer filled with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then mix in the honey. Next add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Mix in the vanilla.
4. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then add 1/3 of the milk; repeat with the remaining flour and milk, and mix until well combined.
5. Divide the batter between the two pans, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or until the centers feel firm when lightly touched. (about 25 minutes)
6. Remove from oven and let cakes cool in pans for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool, right side up. Wrap layers well if not using the same day and refrigerate for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Honey Syrup
1. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, stir together the water and honey, and heat to a simmer in a microwave. Let syrup come to room temperature before using.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1. Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
2. Attach the bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium high speed, whisk until stuff, but not dry, peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture if fluffy and glassy and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes. The bowl should be back to room temperature.
3. With the mixer on medium low, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all the butter has been added, whisk in the vanilla. 
4. Switch to the paddle attachment and continue beating on low speed until all the air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the buttercream is completely smooth. (I did not end up switching to the paddle attachment because my buttercream curdled. I continued to whisk the buttercream on high until it regained its frosting form).
5. Keep buttercream at room temperature is using the same day or store in a plastic airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to one month.

Chocolate Ganache
1. Place the chocolate into a bowl. 
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a summer. 
3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate; let stand for 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture until smooth. Let stand at room temperature until mixture is cooled, thickened slightly and spreadable.

Toasted Marshmallows
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place the marshmallows on a baking sheet lined with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper and bake until melted and golden brown, about 15-18 minutes. Remove marshmallows from oven and cool to room temperature. 
2. Once cooled, break the marshmallows into small pieces and set aside.

Swiss Meringue Frosting
1. Place egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. 
2. Attach the bowl to an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form and mixture is cool, about 10 minutes. Whisk in vanilla. Use immediately.

Toasted Graham Cracker Crumbs:
1. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor or by hand.
2. Add the crumbs, sugar and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.
3. Add melted butter and stir until all the crumbs are wet.
4. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool completely and set aside.

Assembly
1. Split both cake layers in half horizontally, making 4 layers. Place one layer on a corresponding-size cardboard round. 
2. Brush the layer with a little of the honey syrup. 
3. Spread layer with an even, thin coating of ganache, then spread on a thicker layer of the Swiss Meringue Buttercream; stud the buttercream with a third of the toasted marshmallows (or graham cracker crumbs, if using) and continue building the tier in the same manner, ending with the fourth cake layer on top.
4. Loosely spread the entire cake with the Swiss Meringue. 
5. Using a hand-held cooking torch, lightly brown the surface of the frosting like a s’more. Garnish the cake with chocolate crumbs.




2 comments:

  1. I don't know if I can read your comment anymore because it's making me way. too. hungry.

    ReplyDelete
  2. By "comment," I meant "blog."

    ReplyDelete