Pumpkin S’mores Cake
I needed this cake, Pumpkin S’more Cake, for a Wednesday night dinner. Looking at the recipe, it became clear that the cake had to be made in advance of Wednesday night. I preferred to make it in steps over 2 days, since the recipe had many components, but upon reading the recipe and consulting some baking experts, I decided few of the components lent themselves to that approach.
Turns out the entire cake I had envisioned was destined to fail as nearly each and every component I began to make flopped monstrously. I started baking the cake at 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon and it was finally complete at 10pm. I went to bed leaving the kitchen a mess. I had made 5 layers of cake, one batch of failed meringue, used two cans of pumpkin, and cracked nearly 18 eggs. The fact that I was especially clumsy that night didn’t help the situation.
The cake that made it to the dinner was only reminiscent of the cake I originally set out to make. I don’t hesitate to say, however, that it is likely a much more delicious version. The star of the dessert is a perfect pumpkin cake recipe (declared perfect by the queen of recipe comparisons at The Way the Cookie Crumbles). Between those layers was the perfect amount of graham cracker crumbs and soft mini marshmallows. A deep dark chocolate ganache served as the frosting and kept the cake from feeling “too sweet” when combined with the marshmallows [pure sugar] and fluffy cake.
This dessert is perfect for fall, Halloween, or the holiday season coming up. It was a huge crowd pleaser at dinner and in the teacher workroom the next day!
Pumpkin cake (adapted from David Leite via Smitten Kitchen)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pans
- 1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1¼ cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350° (175°C). Line two 8″ cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour parchment rounds.
- In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper.
- Add both eggs one at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition.
- Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour.
- Finally, beat in the pumpkin until smooth.
- Divide the batter equally between the two pans.
- Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles.
- Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on racks completely.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 9 oz. dark chocolate (at least 60+%), chopped
- 7.5 oz. heavy cream
- 3 Tbspn butter
- 1. Add the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
- 2. Cook the heavy cream and butter over medium high heat until a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over prepared chocolate. Stir until no streaks remain. Use immediately.
Graham cracker crumbs (homemade, if desired)
For the cake assembly:
Place one leveled cake layer on your cake stand or serving platter. Spoon 1/4 cup ganache over the round and smooth so that the layer is even. Add an even layer of graham cracker crumbs and dot with mini marshmallows, making sure that only one layer of marshmallows is made. Add the next cake layer. Pour/spread remaining ganache over cake. Sprinkle with additional graham cracker crumbs and marshmallows.