Every once in a blue moon, I develop the crave and appetite for a tall, heavy, layered American cake. I think the real crave is in the assembly of one. My hands itch to stack and layer on cream or ganache between each cake and I must say, I enjoy crumb coating and coating a layered cake. It's extremely therapeutic for me since this isn't my style of dessert so doing it occasionally provides me with a great sense of calm and fun.
Unlike French desserts which I'm completely anal about because it's my craft and they have to be perfect, refined and made with precision and flair, I can take a rustic and raw approach when it comes to layered cakes. I do them without any moulds and just a spatula and turn table. The only problem is, because I like my work perfect or in a particular way, and even though I try to aim for a rustic feel to it, my hands still itch to smooth every crease or line I see. Hence I think it would be very difficult for me to do a layered cake that has cream purposefully smeared all over it for a drool worthy effect. It's beautiful though, I love looking at such designs. Just hard to execute with these hands of mine.
This is my take on a S'mores Cake. I love digestives and the idea of torched to hell and back marshmallows between each layer of cake and drizzled with a dark chocolate fudge sauce was too good to resist in my head that I just had to materialize it. This is the first time I'm doing a chocolate drip effect off the sides of my cake. I knew how I wanted it to look but didn't quite execute it the way it should have been. I meant to have the fudge sauce a little thicker so it drips but it hangs halfway. It ran a little too thin and most flowed all the way down. </3 well, next time!
Sigh. So worth my time. I'm so glad this cake turned out great. I'm not even a big fan of layered cakes as such but this was too good! It was moist, soft, the slight hints of saltiness in the digestive cream, bitterness of the chocolate fudge and the soft and slightly chewy charred marshmallows in between just came together and married beautifully.
I would like to take this opportunity to say goodbye to my Kitchenaid. It has served me well all these years, way before I even started baking and since the days I was still living in my big beautiful home in Simpang Bedok (which was a long time ago). I'm completely heartbroken because it is my life. Literally. Imagine you were a singer, and you had tour vocal chords snipped of. Same thing. I can't do jack with my kitchen aid and I'm in desperate need of a new one because I have loads of tests to do! I'm still contemplating between fixing it or just getting a new one. It might just be the latter.
Money from where though? Sponsors anyone? Hah.
It died just before I could do my meringue. It was a pain, doing it by hand and I wasted so much time on it. I couldn't leave it just the way it was though. I had an idea in mind and I had to put it out on my cake stand. Whisking like mad, there it finally was. Toasted Marshmallow Swiss Meringue.
Really loved the texture of this chocolate cake that I might possibly even incorporate it into my french pastries some day! It had an incredibly moist and soft crumb and far from being dense. It was difficult cutting this cake because of the slightly marshmallows in between but I managed a first nice slice out of it. Layers were great but messed up by the marshmallows but that is fine because the taste made up for all of that mess.
The last time I made a cake like this? That was in Paris which was almost 9 months ago. It's seldom, but every time a hit. I had this with a drizzle of milk over it; this I gotta have S'more of.
Come on. You gotta.
S'mores Layered Cake:
(some recipes adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar)
(makes one 6-inch sized layered cake, feeds 6-8)
Chocolate Fudge Sauce:
66% dark chocolate - 30g
cocoa powder - 2 tablespoons
salt - a pinch
glucose - 100g
sugar - 2 tablespoons
heavy cream - 55g
Chocolate Sheet Cake:
unsalted butter (r.t.p) - 113g
sugar - 1 cup
light brown sugar - 1/4 cup
light muscovado sugar - 1/4 cup
eggs (r.t.p) - 3 no.
buttermilk (r.t.p) - 1/2 cup
hazelnut oil - 1/4 cup
vanilla extract - 1 tsp
fudge sauce - 38g
cake flour - 1 1/4 cups
cocoa powder - 1/2 cup
baking powder - 1 1/2 teaspoons
salt - 1 1/4 teaspoon
mini marshmallows - 100g
Digestive Biscuit Crust:
mcvities digestive biscuits - 190g
milk powder - 1/4 cup
sugar - 2 tablespoons
salt - 1/2 teaspoon
butter (melted) - 57g
cream (r.t.p) - 1/4 cup
Digestive Biscuit Cream Frosting:
digestive biscuit crust - (whole recipe as above)
milk - 2/3 cup
salt - 1/2 teaspoon
butter (r.t.p) - 170g
light brown sugar - 2 tablespoons
sugar - 3 teaspoons
icing sugar (sifted) - 2 tablespoons
ground cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
egg whites - 150g
sugar - 225g
For the Fudge Sauce:
Sift your cocoa powder and combine with the chocolate and salt.
In a small saucepan, heat the remaining wet ingredients till just boiling and pour over the chocolate mixture. Whisk till combine and till all the chocolate has been melted. Strain out the mixture into a clean bowl to get rid of any cocoa powder lumps. Use as instructed or store in a jar in the refrigerator.
For the Chocolate Cake:
Preheat your oven to 180C with fan and grease a 10" x 13" sheet tray and line it with parchment paper.
Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy using a paddle attachment. Add in your eggs slowly and one at a time till well incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowls and beat on medium high for another 1 minute.
Mix the buttermilk, vanilla and oil together. With the mixer on low, stream in the buttermilk mixture. Paddle for about 5 minutes, scraping down once, until it is homogenous. You should not see any streaks of fat separating from the batter.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder together and add in the salt.
Once the batter is smooth, add in the fudge sauce and paddle on low till evenly combined. Add in the flour mix and paddle on low till just combined. Scrape down the sides once and paddle for another 30 seconds to make sure there are no lumps of flour left unmixed.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until browned and the cake springs back to touch. A knife inserted in the centre also comes out clean.
Set aside and leave to cool completely.
Using a ring of 6" in diameter, stamp out two rounds of the sponge. Using a serrated knife, slice each circle across so you have 4 pieces of sponge in total. If you prefer to use 2 thick sponges instead of 4 thin ones, you can leave it as it is.
For the Digestive Biscuit Crust:
In a food processor, pulse the biscuits till you get fine crumbs. Add in the milk powder, sugar and salt and toss to combine well.
Melt the butter and whisk in the heavy cream. Pour over the biscuit crumb mix and using a fork, toss gently till you achieve clumps of it.
For the Digestive Biscuit Cream Frosting:
Add the milk and salt to the biscuit crust as instructed above. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend till completely smooth and homogeneous.
In a bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter, sugars and ground cinnamon together till pale and fluffy. Add in the blended digestive biscuit mass and paddle till well combined. Increase the speed to medium high and beat for another 1 minute till light and fluffy. Using directly or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
For the Charred Marshmallows:
Scatter the marshmallows across a tray and using a blow torch, burn the tops of them still they're black but the bottoms remain completely white. Set aside to cool and firm up.
For the Swiss Meringue:
In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the egg whites and sugar and whisk together. Set it over a small pot of simmering water and bain marie it till it reaches about 75 degrees.
Take if off the heat and whisk on high till the meringue is glossy, shiny and stiff. Use immediately.
Place the first layer of sponge on a cake base and on a turn table. Spread a layer of the frosting on and scatter the charred mini marshmallows over it. Drizzle some of the cool chocolate fudge sauce over it and place the second sponge over it, pressing it down slightly to secure it in place.
Repeat till all the layers are done.
Crumb coat it with the frosting and place it in the freezer for about 15 minutes for it to firm up.
Coat it once more with the remaining frosting and smooth it out using a spatula. Drizzle some of the remaining fudge sauce on the edge of the cake so it drips down naturally on its own.
Make the meringue at the stage and pipe rounds of it on top. Blowtorch them.