March 1st, 2011
There are a few things to celebrate today, March 1st!
In March, 5 years ago, my husband encouraged me to start a blog (not that I knew what that was then!) I had just stopped cooking professionally, and the blog gave me a place that I could collect and share all of my recipes from my days as a chef and caterer.
The beauty is that over the years, it has grown into something so much more meaningful and special to me. This blog is really a love letter to my young daughters. While I am busy chronicling our every day life in recipes, I have also filled this site with tips and information on entertaining and cooking for special occasions too.
I love it that my girls will have all of this at their fingertips for the rest of their lives. I learned so much from my own mother, and she from hers, and I want so much to share with my girls in the same way.
This leads me to another celebration today- the re-launch of my website. The site has been split into two different sections, “Heather Christo Cooks” and “Heather Christo Entertains.” I have packed in lots of new information, pictures and recipes and I hope that you enjoy!
So, finally, we get to the best part. The celebration cake! I asked myself what cake I would like to have for my own little blog birthday, and my mind started to wander. I thought of all the possible cakes out there, and then I tried to push the envelope. I came up with this S’mores Cake. I have seen S’more cupcakes, but I have never seen a cake like this before!
I used my favorite dark chocolate cake recipe (which NEVER disappoints!) and created a brown butter graham cracker layer (as good as it sounds!) and dark chocolate fudgy ganache frosting. And last, but certainly not least, the marshmallow frosting which was piled on top and lightly toasted. At the risk of sounding a little too pleased with myself (lol!) it was spectacular!!! My whole family devoured this cake on Oscar night. It is admittedly high-maintenance, but if you have a special occasion coming up- I couldn’t recommend a more fun and delicious cake!
Happy Birthday Little Blog…
S’more Cake, serves 10-12
Brown Butter Graham Cracker Crust
18 large grahams (the rectangle)
½ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
12 Tbs butter
Melt the butter and cook on low until the butter is a golden brown.
In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers with the sugar and the salt until the crumbs are really fine. Pour the crumbs into a medium bowl.
Pour the butter over the graham crackers and gently mix together until it is a uniform damp crumb.
Prepare three 8″ rounds with parchment paper rounds and non-stick baking spray.
Divide the graham cracker crumbs between two of the three prepared pans, pressing them down firmly with a spatula. Set aside
Dark Chocolate Cake
2 cups boiling water
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup soft unsalted butter
2-1/4 cup white sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbs vanilla
2-3/4 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put the coco powder in a small bowl, and pour the boiling water on top of it.
Whisk the water and coco together until smooth, and then set aside until cooled.
In a mixing bowl or standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and the eggs one at a time until they completely combined.
Sift all of the dry ingredients together.
Gently add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and half of the chocolate. Mix to combine.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients and mix into a smooth batter.
Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. Two of them, gently spread over the graham crust.
Bake the cake layers about 25 minutes, but keep a close eye on them because every cake is different.
Let the cake layers cool.
*** Note. I cooked the two graham-chocolate layers with an “even cake layers” strip around them so that they would turn out more flat. The third cake layer I left alone because I wanted it to puff up and be domed for the top of the cake.
2 cups heavy cream
1lb dark chocolate pieces
In a small pot, bring the cream to a simmer. Pour the cream over the chocolate pieces and let sit about 5 minutes.
Whisk the ganache until smooth and shiny. Set Aside.
Cover a cake plate in a few strips of parchment or wax paper.
Turn out one of the cake rounds with the graham crust onto the parchment covered cake plate, graham layer up.
Put a large dollop of ganache on top of the grahams.
Follow with another layer.
Finally top with the third round which is just cake.
Refrigerate, at least 15-20 minutes.
3 egg whites at room temperature
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup karo corn syrup
2 Tbs water
1 TBS vanilla bean paste
In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the eggs and salt until pale and frothy.
Meanwhile, heat the sugar, corn syrup, water and vanilla paste. Heat over medium flame until the sugar is dissolved and just simmering, about 5 minutes.
With the mixer on medium speed, add a tiny bit of the hot sugar mixture to the egg whites at a time. (Temper the eggs- don’t scramble them!)
Eventually all of the sugar will be added and then turn the mixer up to high. Beat the mixture on high for about 5 minutes or until very stiff and shiny.
While the marshmallow frosting is mixing, frost the cake. (Take it out of the fridge first!)
With the remaining ganache, which should be stiff and the texture of a glossy frosting, frost the cake in a smooth, even layer.
Then remove the parchment, revealing a nice clean cake plate!
Ideally, pipe a layer of the marshmallow frosting on the top of the cake and then glop the rest on top in a big mound.
Using a kitchen torch, (maybe obviously, my torch was sadly out of butane- so I tragically used matches. Slow and a little dangerous- but effective) brown the marshmallow frosting.
Slice and Enjoy!!