When I sat down to plot the parties I planned for this week (ahem, there are three of them in six days!), the first thing I thought about for each was the dessert. I truly believe that summer parties should be as simple as possible, but I also feel it’s important that the sweet ending of a meal is memorable, as it’s the last taste your guests enjoy.
Now that two of the three parties have passed, I’m happy to report that this s’mores sheet cake fits the bill perfectly. A little more time consuming than the campground-inspired ice cream sandwiches I shared last week - yet easier than any pie or layer cake you could consider - this graham cracker sponge topped with marshmallow frosting, crumbled crackers, and chopped chocolate comes together quickly and can be decorated in less than fifteen minutes, making it equally as impressive as it is easy.
To be fair, the crowd I was cooking for was comprised of eleven to thirteen year old boys, who tastes aren’t overly discerning as they care far more about quantity over quality. But when there was pure silence around the table as Jackson and his friends devoured the cake, followed by cries for second slices, I knew I was on to something, and served the same dessert to Ben and his friends the following night, with similar success.
For me, oven to table cookware is an essential component of my home entertaining arsenal, so I baked this in a rectangular enamelware pan that only improved the rustic appearance of the cake. The fact that it was a single layer made it a snap to serve, and I can see that this would also be awesome for taking to picnics or potlucks, when you're in charge of a show stopping dessert that also happens to travel well.
S'mores Sheet Cake
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
For the cake:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups finely processed honey-flavoured graham crackers (about 28)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cup buttermilk, well shaken
For the icing:
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the topping:
- 100g chocolate, chopped
- 5 graham crackers, broken into tiny pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9" x 13" baking pan by greasing it with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add a third of the dry ingredients, then half the buttermilk, a third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the buttermilk, and the remaining dry ingredients, mixing between additions until combined. Scrape down the bowl, and mix again briefly if needed.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely.
5. To make the icing, place the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan of simmering water, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are warm, about 3 minutes. Transfer the bowl to an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. Add the vanilla, mix again, and use to ice the cake.
6. Preheat the broiler. Place the iced cake underneath for 1-2 minutes, or until the frosting is golden brown, creating a toasted marshmallow effect. Remove from the oven and cool. Cover with the chopped chocolate and broken graham crackers, and serve with chocolate ice cream, if desired.