Baking Project (TWD): S’mores Brownie Cake

My birthday was this past Saturday so I was pretty happy that our 2nd TWD assignment for March was a cake. But here’s the thing- if a cake is going to be my birthday cake, it’s got to be a little bit over the top. I have pride and ego riding on this. So how could I tweak a rich, chocolate almost-a-brownie cake with a rich ganache coating? Well, for one I’d take out the mocha flavor. Because coffee is not something I’m really into these days. And two- something has got to be done about the double chocolate. I like chocolate, but chocolate cake plus chocolate frosting just screams ‘overly rich’ to me. So I started looking up alternative frosting ideas.
I stumbled on this:

S'Mores Cake of the Month (2)
Hmm. A chocolate cake with a s’mores twist. This could work. At first I tried looking for a marshmallow ganache but had trouble so instead I settled on a marshmallow buttercream. I could even keep the prescribed ganache, add in some graham crackers some how and call it good!

So with my plan set, it was time to make the cake. The cake itself was pretty easy, though I admit a technique I’ve never used before in cake-making. Or brownie-making for that matter. Instead, the egg-sugar mixture is whipped up into a meringue-like substance before adding in flour. Reminded me of the macronage in macarons.IMG_0517IMG_0523

Anyway. I divied my batter into two 9″ cake pans since I don’t have any other kind of cake pan and baked for about 30 minutes. I may have over baked a little as when I pulled them out my toothpick came out super clean.

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After letting the cake cool down in their pans I then began the process of trying to get them out of said pans. Didn’t work. I was kicking myself for not putting parchment paper on the bottom. I looked up some tricks on how to remove a stuck cake. IMG_0529One suggestion recommended not cooling your cake in its pan. Thanks. I first tried letting the pans sit in hot water to supposedly loosen the greased bottom. That didn’t work. Then I wrapped a damp dish cloth around the pan and jostled it to and fro. Somehow that did work? I don’t know why but I was saved! I quickly transferred the cake to the fridge for a deeper chill.

Then I was bad. And I left the cakes in there. For over 24 hours. I totally meant to Saran Wrap them up but I got busy and forgot. By the time I remember they already started to feel a bit dry, though not horrifically so. I continued on.
It took me three days to finally get around to frosting and assembling that cake. Poor thing. Probably thought I was neglecting it.

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I eventually got around to melting down the chocolate into ganache and whipping up some marshmallowy frosting. Assembling the cake was somewhat tricky. The graham crackers in the middle created a gap in my layers which my frosting had trouble covering. So I used more graham crackers on the sides of the cake as decoration. And then, because no s’mores can be complete without some char, I whipped out my hand-dandy kitchen torch and flambéd the top portion. Et voila!

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The result?
A very very rich dessert. The good? I rarely make layer cakes so I was pretty pleased with how the cake look aesthetically. The bad?  The “cake” tasted more like a dry brownie which is my fault likely. I had hoped that the frosting would have helped that, but It didn’t really. The ugly? I used salted butter when making the buttercream as it’s all I had on hand and the salt was WAY noticeable. The frosting didn’t really taste like marshmallows at all to me so that would definitely be an improve. And also, charring marshmallow fluff buttercream doesn’t create a burnt marshmallow flavor like you’d find in a s’mores.

So even though I know the dryness is my fault, the whole thing was just a bit too much. Maybe that’s a sure sign of entering adulthood – when desserts officially become *too* sweet. Then again, my appetite has been off this week, so maybe I just wasn’t into the cake this time. My husband devoured his slice, so it clearly wasn’t terrible.

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You can check out the rest of the TWD bakers’ creation here.

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