Elvis S’mores Cake
I know I shouldn’t pick favorites but this month is by far my favorite in this club! Kita, our lovely leader, was very kind in choosing The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman the author behind the blog Smitten Kitchen. I’ve been a reader of her blog for over two years; well before I knew what ‘blogging’ was and her cookbook has been on my to-buy list for a long time.
All the recipes in this month’s selection are very tempting; thus why I am buying the book! From the Cheddar Breakfast Swirl Breakfast Buns to the Tomato Scallion Shortcakes with Whipped Goat Cheese and this S’mores Layer Cake. I intend to make all the above soon but of course, I was naturally drawn to the layer cake. I just love making layer cakes and I couldn’t resist.
Since I’ve made traditional s’mores recipes recently (s’mores cookie bar and s’mores macarons), I wanted to switch this cake up a little bit. As always, I asked Mr. J what he thinks would be a great variation and of course, he said peanut butter. I swear this man is addicted to peanut butter and needs some therapy (just saying; PB anonymous?). But since he eats a majority of what I make, I indulged him. A few Google searches lead to the decision of peanut butter banana s’mores cake aka Elvis S’mores Cake.
I made the graham cracker cake as the recipe suggested but I smothered it with a creamy milk chocolate peanut butter ganache instead and added some freshly sliced bananas. Finally, the cake is topped with marshmallow frosting! The frosting is pretty thin and not my usual ‘cake’ frosting so it was very hard to work with and beautify.
It is not the prettiest cake I’ve made (probably the ugliest, still debating) but for now, it wins the award for the best cake ever according to the hubby. The graham cracker cake is moist and fluffy (just the way I like my cakes) and the peanut butter ganache running in the middle is perfectly sweet and is not overpowering that you lose the graham cracker and subtle banana flavors. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of peanut butter flavor here but it is well balanced.
It’s the first time I’ve ever seen Mr. J. lick his plate clean (Instagram picture). Apparently it was that good. Feel free to add more bananas as several labmates suggested they would have liked more of the banana in there.
For the Cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups honey graham crackers (not cinnamon graham crackers), finely processed into a powder
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups buttermilk, well shaken
For the Filling:
- ½ lbs milk chocolate Reese's peanut butter cups, finely chopped
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- Pinch of salt
- 1-2 bananas, sliced
For the Frosting:
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9” round cake pans with baking spray, line them with parchment paper, and grease parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add a third of the dry ingredients, then half of the buttermilk, mixing after each addition until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and continue alternating the dry and wet ingredients.
- Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans, smoothing tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes.
- Cool in pan on a rack for 20 minutes, then run a knife between the cake edges and pan before inverting each layer on a rack. Discard the parchment paper and flip the cakes back upright on the rack.
- Let cool completely. (a process you could speed up by placing cakes in the fridge).
- To make the filling: Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Combine the heavy cream and salt in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Set bowl over another bowl filled with ice water and stir until it firms up to a spreadable consistency.
- Make the frosting: Place egg whites, granulated sugar, and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting low and gradually increasing to high, until stiff glossy peaks form 4 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Use immediately.
- Assembly: Use a long serrated knife to level the top of the cakes; gently taking off the domed part. Place one cake layer face up and spread peanut butter ganache thickly over the bottom layer. Scatter the banana slices over the ganache. Place top layer over the bottom. Chill the cake for 10-15 minutes to firm up the filling so the top cake doesn't slide when decorating.
- Frost the cake by spreading a thin layer over the top and sides, covering for crumbs. Transfer to fridge for 5 to 10 minutes, and let sit. Then generously coat top and sides with additional frosting. Put the remaining frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip. Create big marshmallow dollops decoratively over the top of the cake. Dipping your finger in water between each dollop to push down the top of each where you pulled the piping bag away. With a kitchen torch on low, lightly brown the dollops, creating the toasted marshmallow effect.
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