Guys, I’m back, I’m back!! I’m back with a very special cake I made to celebrate my graduation from pharmacy school! After 6 long years of studying, I can finally be a full-fledged pharmacist. To celebrate, a cake needed to be made… it had to be chocolate, of course, and bourbon just had to be involved! 😉 I made it even better by making it s’mores themed.
When brainstorming what I wanted for this cake, I just decided I needed chocolate bourbon cake layers, because I love bourbon, and I made a chocolate bourbon cake a while back for my dad and loved it. Back when I made this campfire delight cake, I loved that filling, so I went with a toasted marshmallow buttercream filling. I love my chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, so that had to be the outside. Crushed graham crackers in both the filling and sprinkled on the outside, and we’ve got ourselves one perfect s’more style chocolate cake.
This may sound a little involved to make, and I felt a little bit crazy as it got taller and taller as I assembled it, but I promise it isn’t hard at all! I always make the cake layers one day, make sure they’re nice and cold by either freezing or keeping them in the fridge, and then make the frostings and assemble it on the second day. If you have trouble with the assembly (as I definitely have many, many times when I first started making cakes), don’t worry about it at all; nobody will care what it looks like once they taste it!
Hope you guys enjoy this cake, and I’m definitely hoping to more regularly update here now that I’m all done with rotations!
What is your favorite kind of cake (or dessert) to celebrate with?
- 2 1/2 cups unrefined sugar
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (can use half white whole wheat)
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 3/4 cup oil (I used grapeseed)
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1 cup hot water or coffee
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 16 marshmallows
- 2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-7 oz. jar marshmallow cream (198 g), also called marshmallow fluff
- 7 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup unrefined sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup graham crackers, crushed (about 1 sleeve)
- toasted marshmallows, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line the bottom of 3 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, and butter the paper and sides of the pan. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs, buttermilk, oil, bourbon, water/coffee, and vanilla extract, and mix on medium-low speed for about 2 minutes, until fully incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the 3 prepared cake pans, and bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool. I find it's easiest to invert the cake pan onto a plate covered in plastic wrap, then inverting the plate onto the wire rack so that you don't end up breaking the cake into pieces since it'll still be warm at this point. Once cool, tightly wrap, and place in the freezer or fridge to chill for up to 2 days.
Place the marshmallows on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Broil the marshmallows in the oven until nice and brown on top, between 30-60 seconds. Remove pan from oven and gently turn the marshmallows over, and broil until they are golden brown. Watch closely while they are under the broiler, as they can burn very quickly!
In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on low until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix until well blended. Add the marshmallow cream and toasted marshmallows, and mix on low for about 1-2 minutes, until well combined and fluffy.
Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Set aside to cool.
Bring a saucepan filled with 2 inches of water to a simmer. Place the egg whites and sugar into a heat proof mixer bowl, and place above the water. Whisk the sugar and egg whites until warm to the touch and the sugar is dissolved.
Place the bowl back on the mixer stand, and whisk on medium-high speed until you have stiff, glossy peaks, and the mixture is cool, about 10 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium-low, and add the butter, one piece at a time, mixing until fully incorporated between each piece. If it appears curdled at this point, keep mixing until it becomes smooth again. Add the vanilla, melted chocolate, and salt, and mix until well combined.
Switch to the paddle attachment and beat for about 2 minutes to remove air bubbles.
If you’re a visual person, there’s a great step-by-step swiss meringue buttercream post at Sweetapolita.
Take the chilled cake layers and place one layer on a 8-inch cake board, glued into place by a pea sized amount of frosting. Place half of the marshmallow buttercream filling in the center of the layer, and spread with a small offset spatula to about 1/2 inch away from the edge of the cake. Sprinkle generously with crushed graham crackers and press down gently to "glue" in place. Place the second cake layer on top, repeat with the other half of the filling and crushed graham crackers, and top it with the final cake layer.
Place a generous dollop of the chocolate buttercream frosting on top of the cake, spread evenly with an offset spatula, working down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake (this is the crumb coat). Chill in the fridge until set, about 30 minutes.
Once set, remove from fridge and add another large dollop of the chocolate buttercream on top of the cake and spread the same way, adding another coat of frosting. Scrape off the excess frosting with a straight blade spatula and smooth out. Sprinkle the outside with the remaining crushed graham crackers. Toast a couple more marshmallows under the broiler if you'd like to use them as garnish on top!
Chill in the fridge until about a half hour before ready to serve. Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days (or at room temperature, covered, for up to 2 days).
This cake will also freeze well, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months - good luck keeping some to freeze!