Or perhaps it just requires an introduction that goes something like: Gluten-free devil’s food cake + moist graham cracker crumbs + marshmallow fluff for days = heaven. Yup, that would do.
While this cake needs no introduction, I will tell you how it came to be.
Late Saturday night, Brad and I were preparing to go out of town to have dinner with my future in-laws the next day and we realized that we hadn’t thought of dessert yet! We needed something substantial since my family, his sister and her boyfriend, and his family would be there and cupcakes weren’t going to cut it. My thoughts immediately turned to chocolate cake. Then again, more often than not, I’m thinking about chocolate cake. Oh well. After debating for a bit about what kind of cake to make – buttercream frosting? chocolate frosting? fruit filling? Then, I thought about my s’more cupcakes and decided to make a s’more cake for a few reasons:
1.) I had everything I needed in the house already
2.) Um, s’mores are delicious!
3.) If it can be done in cupcake form, why not in cake form?
I would be lying if I said that the first reason wasn’t my main motivation for dreaming up this cake.
I almost didn’t make this cake because I didn’t have any gluten-free graham crackers and I didn’t want to go to the store, to buy some boxes of g-free graham crackers, and walk out with $15 less than I walked in with. But I almost did – even though I hate to venture out to the store for one or two items, I do it more often than I should. Jumping in the car and going to the store is convenient and easy, but doesn’t really foster creativity and frankly, it makes my bank account a little sad. Instead of defaulting to the formulaic run to the store, I decided to make my own graham cracker substitute. And it was easy, and delicious, and a bit more healthy. And didn’t cost me an absurd amount of money.
Conceptualizing and baking this cake made me realize that we are often tempted to become slaves to convenience at the expense of our creativity. I’m really going to try and create things from what I have on my pantry shelves, in my garden, and in the fridge. Lackadaisical baking and cooking just will not cut it anymore. Plus, it is much more fun to think, create, and experiment than it is to succumb to easy solutions. Sure, I can go and grab ingredients for a whole new dish anytime I want, but where’s the fun in that?
Gluten-free S’more Cake
Yields: more than enough for a 2 layer cake!
adapted from Joy the Baker
280g g-free flour mix (I used the one I posted here).
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch-process)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot brewed coffee
1/2 cup buttermilk (or whole milk or coconut milk- I just happened to have buttermilk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Generously butter two round cake pans. Line bottom of cake pans with parchment paper and butter the paper. Dust with a bit of g-free flour and shake out excess. You don’t want these cakes to stick!
2. Sift together the flour mix, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
3. Mix together cocoa powder and hot coffee in a medium bowl and whisk until there are no lumps and you have a smooth, velvety mix. Add in vanilla and buttermilk. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
4. In your stand mix, cream together the sugars (brown and white) with the softened butter until pale and fluffy.
5. Add in eggs, one at a time, making sure they are fully incorporated before adding the next egg.
6. Add in flour mix and chocolate mix alternating in 3 batches, starting and ending with the flour mix.
7. Divide mix evenly between two pans, shake out air bubbles, and bake in the middle rack of the oven for about 25-30 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
8. Cool cakes completely on a rack. Run a butter knife around the edges to loosen before layering. Cut a little bit off of the top of one cake to make a flat surface and turn out onto serving dish, cut side up.
Moist Graham Cracker Filling:
2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup of honey, scant
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Melt you butter and set aside.
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together until fully incorporated.
Viola! A moist almond filling that tastes and looks like graham crackers. So easy!
9. Spread filling on bottom layer with your hands by gently placing the crumbs down and pressing until they form a layer. Be gentle, you don’t want to rip the bottom cake!
10. After you a distributed the filling on the bottom cake, place the other cake, right side up, on top of bottom cake with filling.
Use this Marshmallow Fluff recipe to make the frosting!
11. Frost cake with fluff (I recommend putting a thin layer of frosting all over the cake first, wiping your spatula between each spread to crumb coat the cake then go back and spread a generous layer on the top and sides of cake).
12. Break out that kitchen torch and toast some fluff!
Refrigerate and let come to room temperature before serving.
* You can also make the cakes and filling the day before and make the fluff the day you plan on serving the cake!