S’mores Showstopper Cake
This 3-layered showstopper of a cake is a crowd-pleaser! The light, yet very chocolatey sponge layers are sandwiched with a creamy ganache filling. The entire cake is then covered with fluffy marshmallow frosting with a little toasting in places for that feeling of sitting cosily near a fire, toasting marshmallows on the ends of sticks. This cake is luscious, yet it’s also deceptively light. A perfect end to any meal.
For the ganache filling
- 300g good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 175ml double cream
For the sponge layers
- 340g plain flour
- 130g cocoa powder
- 2¼ tsp baking powder
- 2¼ tsp baking soda
- 525g caster sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 375ml milk
- 190ml light flavoured oil (olive, sunflower or canola)
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 375ml boiling water
For the marshmallow frosting
- 4 egg whites
- 215g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- The ganache filling will need time to firm up so make this a few hours before you plan on baking the cake, or better yet, the day before.
- Place chocolate in a heat resistant bowl. Heat double cream in a small saucepan on medium high heat just until it starts to bubble around the edges. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir with a whisk or fork until all of the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Tip: If the chocolate has stopped melting, place bowl over a pot of steaming water, continue to stir until all the chocolate has melted.
- Leave at room temperature to cool, about 30 minutes, then cover bowl with clingfilm and chill in the fridge until it’s firmed up but is still a spreadable consistency. Tip: If you’re making this the day before, leave in the fridge overnight. A couple of hours before baking, leave at room temperature to soften. Depending on the temperature of your room, you may need to give the ganache a few 5 second blasts in the microwave to help soften it further, stirring after each blast to make sure it doesn’t split and that it softens evenly.
- For the sponge, preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan assisted/gas 4. Grease three round 18cm (7 inch) cake tins and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Sieve together the flour, cocoa powder and raising agents in a large bowl. Whisk in caster sugar and salt.
- In a medium sized jug, whisk the eggs with the wet ingredients except the boiling water.
- Add the jug of wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk or electric mixer until mixture is smooth. Slowly add the boiling water and mix until well combined. The batter will be very liquid.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared cake tins and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, between 1hr10minutes to 1hr15minutes.
- Remove from oven and leave to cool completely on wire racks, still in their tins. Before assembling, turn out from tins and remove parchment paper from the bottom of sponges.
- For the marshmallow frosting, using an electric mixer, whisk the room temperature egg whites in a scrupulously clean bowl until they become frothy. Start on a low speed then increase to a medium speed.
- Still whisking, add 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time about every 30 seconds or so. Increase the speed of the mixer as you slowly add more sugar.
- When all the sugar has been whisked in and the marshmallow is glossy and holds stiff peaks, whisk in the vanilla. Use immediately.
- To assemble, use a bread knife to cut off the tops of the sponges to level them off neatly. Make sure each one is the same height as the others and that the tops are level. Place one of the sponge layers on your serving tray. Tip: You can tuck a few pieces of parchment paper under and around the sponge to help keep the serving plate clean while frosting.
- Spread half of the ganache filling on the sponge and smooth it with a palette knife or spatula. Place the next sponge on top of the ganache, making sure it’s sitting level. Gently press the sponge down, then spread the remaining ganache on top, smoothing the surface as before. Place the last sponge on top, cut side down. Gently press down to make sure it’s sitting securely on the ganache.
- Cover the cake with ¾ of the marshmallow frosting using a palette knife or spatula. You can make the sides smooth or do swirling patters. Spoon the remaining frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe kisses of marshmallow all over the top of the cake.
- If you have a blowtorch, toast sections of the marshmallow all over the cake. Otherwise, leave it untoasted. Remove pieces of parchment paper if you had them tucked under the sponge.
- To decorate, we used chocolate shavings, fresh raspberries and gold sugar, but you can decorate however you prefer. Use sugar pearls or pomegranate seeds, perhaps strawberry halves or broken up pieces of cookies. Use your imagination and have fun!
- Keep cake at room temperature until ready to serve. Best enjoyed on the same day as assembly.
- If you want to get ahead, you can bake the sponge layers up to 2 days ahead of time. Once they’re completely cool, places each layer between 2 pieces of parchment paper then into separate freezer bags. Make sure the freezer bags are sealed well, then leave in a cool dark place until day of assembling your cake. The ganache can be made up to 1 week ahead of time, store in the fridge until needed. Follow instructions in recipe to soften before use. The marshmallow frosting will need to be made on the day of assembly, but you can assemble the cake in the morning, ready to serve after lunch or dinner.