Chef Grace is at it again with a delicious, decadent cake mashup that marries chocolatety devil’s food cake and everyone’s favorite summer treat, s’mores.
Growing up, devil’s food cake was the go-to birthday cake in my house. My grandmother had a fool-proof recipe that was one of my dad’s favorites and she passed it on to my mom, who made sure we all got to enjoy the recipe the way my dad did when he was growing up. While it wasn’t uncommon to make devil’s food cake for the end to an ordinary Sunday night dinner, we usually reserved my grandmother’s special cake recipe for birthdays. We have many September birthdays in my family, so, needless to say, we ate a lot of cake.
As we finish up August and head into September, I can’t help but think of devil’s food cake. Here, I’ve given traditional devil’s food cake a summery twist by adding a s’mores element that feels very natural since the classic “seven-minute frosting” is just like a marshmallow.
Get ready to end summer on a sweet note!
S’mores Devil’s Food Cake
For the cake
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for pans
½ cup hot coffee
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus extra for pans
2¼ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
For the seven-minute frosting:
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¼ cup water
6 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the graham cracker crumble:
2 package graham crackers
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 stick butter
½ teaspoons salt
4 oz dark chocolate
For the cakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Set 3 stick of butter out to soften at room temperature. With additional butter, grease three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, then line bottoms with parchment rounds. Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to bottom of each pan and turn pan to coat bottoms and sides (it will stick to the butter on the pan). Once coated, tap out any excess cocoa powder. Set pans aside.
2. Sift cocoa into a large bowl, and whisk in hot coffee. Set aside to cool, about 10 minutes. Once cool, add milk and vanilla and stir to combine.
3. Fit an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Add softened butter and mix on medium speed until creamed, 2-3 minutes. Adding ¼ cup at a time, mix in sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
4. While butter and sugar cream, sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl (by this time your cocoa mixture is probably cool enough to add the milk).
5. Crack eggs into a medium bowl. Using a fork or a whisk, mix lightly. With mixer on low, add eggs to butter and sugar mixture, a few tablespoons at a time, until butter, sugar, and eggs are well incorporated.
6. Add ⅓ of flour mixture to bowl with butter and egg mixture, then mix at low speed until incorporated. Add ⅓ of cocoa, coffee, and milk mixture and continue mixing to combine. Repeat twice more until all ingredients are well combined and batter is smooth.
7. Divide batter evenly between three prepared pans. Bake, rotating pans halfway through for even baking, until a cake tester inserted into center of each layer comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Once baked, transfer pan to wire racks and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, turn cakes out of pan, and return to wire racks, tops up, until completely cool.
For the frosting:
1. While cakes bake, create a double boiler: fill a medium pan with water 2 inches up the sides. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low to maintain a simmer.
2. To a large heat-proof mixing bowl add, granulated sugar, egg whites, corn syrup, and salt. Place bowl over pot and stir to dissolve sugar and combine ingredients, 1-2 minutes.
3. Using a hand mixer (or a whisk if you’re up to the challenge!) whip mixture at high speed until glossy, soft peaks form, 5-6 minutes.
For the graham cracker crumble:
1. Place graham crackers in a large plastic bag. Using a small pot or your hand, crush graham crackers into pea-sized pieces.
2. Place butter in a medium heat-proof bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until melted. Add sugar, salt, and graham cracker pieces. Mix until well combined and all graham cracker pieces are coated in butter.
3. Spread graham cracker crumbles in a thin, even layer on a baking sheet. Transfer to over alongside cake until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before assembling cake.
1. Roughly chop dark chocolate and place in a small heat-proof bowl. Microwave in 10-second intervals until melted.
2. Using a serrated knife, level cakes by gently cutting off the dome of each baked cake (save this for a snack!). Place the first cake, cut side down on serving platter. Top with ⅓ off frosting, spreading in an even layer and allowing frosting to overflow down the sides of the cake. Sprinkle over ⅓ of the graham cracker crumbles, then top with second cake, cut side down. Repeat with another layer of frosting and another layer of graham cracker crumbles, topping with the last cake, cut side down.
3. Finish cake with a final topping of frosting, then drizzle with melted chocolate in whatever design you’d like. Garnish with a final sprinkle of graham crumbles.
Recipe contributed by Plated Recipe Development Manager Grace Pescatello.
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