A delicious S’mores cake recipe, with flourless chocolate cake, a toasted marshmallow topping and a graham cracker crumble.
When you’re known to love baking, it’s hard to show up empty-handed on Valentine’s Day. This is the sweet treat I showed up with for my family this year. Channelling a S’mores, it’s a fudgy, flourless chocolate cake, topped with a generous dollop of toasted marshmallow frosting and capped off with a sprinkling of a graham cracker crumble.
This was delicious and a fun dessert to make. The flourless chocolate cake is one I’ve made many, many times and it’s my favourite flourless chocolate cake recipe. It doesn’t take a ton of chocolate and it consistently delivers that wonderful crackly top and fudgy inside. The marshmallow frosting is positively decadent. Like a melted marshmallow! And finally, the graham cracker crumble on top is a mixture of graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar, that is baked until crispy. It’s sweet and salty, with great graham cracker flavour and crunch.
For anyone wondering about making these ahead, I do have a bit of guidance. If you absolutely need to make ahead, bake the cakes earlier in the day, cool and cover. Also do the graham crumble ahead and store. Whip up the topping closer to serving time (no more than 3 hours ahead) and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Then, when you’re ready to serve, just put it all together. I used my kitchen torch to toast the marshmallow. You could slide them under the broiler as well. I suggest not too close to the heat source – just enough to colour it a bit. The benefit of this method is that you can also re-warm your cakes if you like, before you put the topping on.
Speaking of re-heating, I did try to warm some left-overs in the microwave. It was fine, except the marshmallow topping cooked a bit and became more firm, more like an actual marshmallow than the creamy topping. Left-overs were still really good next day, as well.
You can make these as individual servings, sharing size (as in one dessert/two spoons) or make one large cake in an 8-inch springform pan. As the cake doesn’t rise much, a shallower baking dish is best for individual servings. The cakes will sink in the middle as they cool. This is normal and makes a perfect place to put the marshmallow topping. If you want to be fancy, you could pipe the marshmallow topping on. I just used a spoon to place a large dollop and then dipped the end of my wire whisk into it and pulled it out to make a few spikes on the top. Not necessary, but it’s pretty when toasted.
- Flourless Chocolate Cake:
- 7 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 7 oz. (14 Tbsp. / 1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- Pinch of salt
- Graham Cracker Crumble:
- 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (plus more for sprinkling on bottom of baking dish)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp. melted butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 Tbsp. white sugar
- Generous pinch of salt
- Marshmallow Topping:
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- Pinch fine salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- To make the chocolate cake: Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line with parchment and grease an 8-inch springform pan or grease 6-8 individual baking dishes. Sprinkle an even thin layer of graham cracker crumbs onto the bottom of the pan/dishes. Set onto a baking sheet and set aside.
- Melt the chocolate gently in a metal or glass bowl over simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Once melted, then beat in the butter a piece at a time and stir until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, beat the yolks with 1/2-cup of the sugar until thick, pale, and ribbony (a hand whisk is fine for this step).
- In yet another bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the whites to soft peaks. Scatter over the remaining 1/2-cup sugar and the pinch of salt, then beat to a stiff meringue.
- Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture. Stir in a spoonful of beaten egg whites, then pour the chocolate mixture over the egg whites and gently fold together with a spatula until there are no streaks of white in the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan (or dishes) and bake - 45-50 minutes for an 8-inch springform or 15-25 minutes for smaller, individual dishes (check often!). Cakes are done when the top has formed a crust with deep cracks and the centre doesn't jiggle when moved.
- Remove from the oven. If using springform pan, run a knife around the outside edge, then let sit until cool. It will sink down and the top will crack as it cools. For individual dishes, just leave in and serve from the dishes. For a springform, remove from pan once cooled.
- To make the graham cracker crumbles: Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a small baking pan.
- In a small bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon. Combine the melted butter and vanilla, then stir in. Spread evenly onto the prepared pan. Sprinkle white sugar and salt over the top.
- Bake in preheated oven for 5-8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet and let cool. Break up any large crumbles, if necessary. Store in an airtight container once cooled, if making ahead.
- To make the Marshmallow Topping: Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
- Place the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in a clean metal or glass bowl, then place the bowl over the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Heat the egg white mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch (about 120° F. on an instant-read thermometer), about 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or beat with a hand mixer in the same bowl. Turn the mixer to medium and whisk for 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes more. Add the vanilla and whisk until just incorporated, about 1 minute. Use immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 hours.
- To assemble cakes: If desired, you can re-heat your cakes slightly in the microwave (20-30 seconds). Sprinkle a bit of the graham crumble in to the cavity area of the cake, then top with a dollop of the marshmallow topping. If desired, dip the end of a wire whisk slightly in to the topping and pull up quickly to create a few spikes of topping. (You could also pipe the marshmallow on with a piping bag, if you like). Using a kitchen torch, toast the marshmallow slightly. If you don't have a torch, you can place under a broiler briefly (not too close to the heat source) until it starts to colour. Top with a sprinkling of the graham cracker crumbles. Serve immediately.