I love s'mores. There's just something about sitting around a crackling fire, roasting a marshmallow and being in nature. Roasting a marshmallow until it's a perfection of gooey inside and lightly browned outside is an art. None of that charred blackened, blow out the burning marshmallow for me, thank you very much. The inspiration for this nutella s'mores cake stems from the s'mores bar at my wedding. It had homemade (by yours truly) bourbon vanilla bean marshmallows and chocolate espresso marshmallows. Nutella was among the various toppings guests could assemble their s'mores with. I was so busy dancing the night away and mingling with guests that I didn't even get to try my creations. Such a bummer!
I knew that I did not want the stress of making the cake for my own wedding and happily sourced that out, but I did want a personal touch on some of the food, so homemade marshmallows became my experiment. However, so much for no stress as when I tested the marshmallows here in Colorado, they turned out great every time. The wedding was being held in St. Louis, so the week before I traveled back to my home town outside St. Louis and was immediately hit with crazy humidity. I had to throw so many marshmallows out due to too much moisture in the air. Not stress free. At. All. Alas, I figured out the marshmallow problem (just in time before my dad was about to spend a fortune ordering gourmet marshmallows from some online store so he didn't have to deal with my mom and I freaking out anymore) and all was well.
So, when I had a backyard bbq in June (complete with rain and 60 degree weather-thanks Colorado) I decided I'd like to recreate that nutella s'mores flavor from my wedding in a cake. I started with a rich chocolate cake with the addition of coffee to enhance the chocolate flavor. I then made a swiss meringue mixture for the marshmallow-a pillowy, sweet and sticky confection that I would put between the layers of my chocolate cake. Graham cracker crumbs sweetened slightly and mixed with butter were also added between the layers to give some crunchy texture to the soft cake. Everything was finished off with a delicious nutella buttercream and more of the marshmallow mixture which was toasted with a torch.
I will warn you, this is not a quick dessert due to the many components of this cake. But, the payoff is the most delicious cake reminiscent of a toasted s'more, complete with gooey marshmallow and crunchy graham crackers. I will also warn you that this is an indulgent dessert and may need to be followed up with a jog around the neighborhood :-). I will promise that it is totally worth the effort and makes an impressive showpiece while being delicious as well.
How to assemble the Nutella S'mores Cake
The assembly of the cake is not too difficult if you follow the steps. You'll make and bake the cake and while it is baking, assemble the other components. After allowing the cake to cool and leveling the cake off if it domed up during baking, you will start layering the cake. Begin with one layer of the cake and place on a cake stand. I think the easiest way to assemble is to have the frosting and the marshmallow mixture in a piping bag. No need to run out to purchase a fancy piping bag however, just pop the fillings into a zip top bag and snip off a corner. Piping a ring of frosting around the edge of the first layer will keep the marshmallow from oozing out the side of the cake. Then you pipe in the marshmallow and follow that with a sprinkle of the graham cracker crumbs. Repeat this on top of the next cake layer and then seal with the final layer. Nutella frosting goes all over the sides and top of the cake and then you can be creative with the remaining marshmallow. I used different piping tips to pipe dollops of marshmallow in a random pattern on top of the cake and then used a blowtorch to toast the tops of the dollops. Totally optional of course but it does make quite the statement!
This cake is definitely special occasion worthy and will impress your friends and family! Happy baking!
Nutella S'mores Cake
- 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cups + 2 tbsp sugar
- ¾ cup cocoa powder dutch process
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup hot brewed coffee
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Graham Cracker Crumbs
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs about 10 sheets
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter softened slightly
- 1 cup nutella
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 ½ tbsp heavy whipping cream
To prepare the cake
- Spray 3-9 inch pans with cooking spray and then line bottom with parchment. Heat oven to 365 degrees.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Combine milk, oil, eggs and vanilla in another bowl.
- Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Add the hot coffee and stirto combine.
- Pour the batter into pans, dividing evenly. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpickcomes out of the center clean. Cool in pans about 10 minutes, then transfer the cakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.
To prepare marshmallow
- Combine egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heat proof bowl set over a pot of gentlysimmering water (I used the stand mixer bowl to reduce amount of bowls needed).
- Heat the mixture, while stirring constantly, until an instant thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer, mix onhigh speed until stiff, shiny peaks form, about 5 min. Mix in the vanilla.
To prepare graham cracker crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing well. Place crumb mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Once slightly cooled, crumble into pieces.
To prepare nutella buttercream
- Cream the butter, sugar, and nutella together until combined. Add vanilla and whipping cream and beat on high until light and fluffy.
To assemble the cake
- Once cooled, level the cakes using a knife. Fill 2 piping bags or zip top bags with the nutella frosting and the marshmallow.
- Place the first cake layer on a cake plate. Pipe a thick ring of nutella buttercream around the edge of the cake. Pipe and fill the marshmallow mixture into the center of the cake. Sprinkle about ¾ cup of graham cracker crumbs over the marshmallow and nutella buttercream. Place the second cake layer and repeat the above steps. Place the third cake layer on top. Using the nutella buttercream, coat the outside and top of the cake. Decorate the cake with any remaining graham cracker crumbs and marshmallow. If you have a kitchen torch, toast any marshmallow on the top of the cake.
- The easiest way to transfer the frosting and marshmallow into piping bags or zip top bags is to place the bag inside a tall glass with the top of the bag folded over the edge of the glass. Spoon in the frosting/filling and then unfold the top of the bag from the edge of the cup and push the frosting/filling down to the bottom of the bag. If using a zip top bag, snip the corner of the bag last.
- To easily frost a cake without getting crumbs in the frosting, place a thin layer of the frosting over the entire cake and then refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to an hour to chill. Then apply a thicker layer of frosting over top of the thin layer, smoothing as you go.
- You could make this in 3-8 inch pans but they will be slightly more full and thicker layers.