Summertime is synonymous with so many fun, warm-weather activities. A perfect August day in my book consists of relaxing at the swimming pool, grilling a tasty alfresco dinner, and ending the evening campfire-side with a s’more – or two. So today, in honor of everyone’s favorite summertime dessert, I bring you a decadent and delicious S’mores Cake!
This dessert marvel features a deep chocolate cake, layered with a crunchy graham cracker crust and gooey milk chocolate ganache – perfectly reminiscent of the quintessential s’more texture. Then, to provide the ideal balance of sweetness and lightness, we top the cake with marshmallow buttercream and ultra-fluffy vanilla meringue. It’s sweet enough to satisfy the deepest dessert craving, but not too sweet that you’ll leave with a tooth-ache. Perfect for adults, and kids, alike!
Plus, it gets better. The pièce de résistance of this s’mores cake, you ask? Hand-torched meringue, providing that deep, toasty finishing touch. The slight smokiness elevates the meringue’s flavor to give a beautiful sensory depth. After all, you cannot have real s’mores without a fire, right?
Don’t worry if you have never used a kitchen torch before. This was actually my first time, too! And, if accident-prone me can do it, you definitely can! I’ll walk you through all the steps to get set-up and share my exact products to give you all the confidence you need! Trust me, it’s SO easy, I’m a little disappointed I hadn’t tried it sooner!
So, grab your aprons, and peruse the tools and ingredients list below the video. Once you’re prepared to start baking, use my recipe near the bottom. I’ll warn you – this cake is addicting! I know you’ll love and crave it as I do, too.
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S’Mores Cake, Anyone?
Check out my short video tutorial, illustrating the method and decorating process. If you love dramatic, close-up food shots, and slow-mo (unintentional) pyrotechnics, you’ll definitely want to watch it – LOL.
Baking & Decorating Tools
To execute the baking and decorating of this cake properly, you’ll need to gather a few tools. I include this list here so you can make sure you have everything you need before getting started! Feel free to click on any of the links to shop my recommended picks.
In addition to traditional kitchen equipment (mixing bowls, soup pans, wooden spoons, whisks, spatulas, scissors) you’ll also need:
- Three 8-inch cake pans
- One 6-inch cake pan (optional, but helpful if you have one)
- Parchment paper
- Piping bags, assorted piping tips, cake turntable, offset spatula, cake scrapers. You can buy these items separately if you have most of them, or purchase a cake decorating kit like this one for a good deal if you’re just getting started. For my design, I used the Alteco tips 852 and 864, which I purchased at a cake store locally. They’re a bit larger than what will come in a cake decorating starter kit.
- Instant food thermometer
- Stand mixer. You can make this recipe using a handheld mixer, but it is much, much easier with a stand mixer. (And, your arm won’t feel numb lol.)
- Kitchen torch. This is the exact torch I just purchased, as well as this exact fuel. The torch itself is very easy to fill and use. To add butane, flip the torch upside down and use the little tool included to press down on the fill hole on the bottom. This lets out any excess air. Then, simply flip the butane container over, and insert the tube into the same hole and press down. You will hear and feel the torch filling. Let it sit for a few minutes to settle before using. Then, simply turn the knob from “close” to “open,” and press the knob in to begin the flow of fire. Make sure to read the directions included, but I can’t express enough how simple it is to use – I was SO excited after figuring it out!
S’Mores Cake Recipe & Decorating Method
Follow this recipe for the tastiest s’mores cake you’ll ever have! Feel free to print this out, or pin the recipe on Pinterest to remember it for later!
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour plus extra for prepping pans
- 3 cups white sugar
- 1¼ cup cocoa powder
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¾ cups butter (1½ sticks) plus extra for prepping pans
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup brewed coffee
- 3 eggs
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 sleeves graham crackers
- 10 tbsp butter, melted (1 stick plus 2 tbsp)
- ⅔ cup white sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cup butter, room temp (4 sticks)
- 1 cup marshmallow cream fluff
- 7-8 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp salt
Milk Chocolate Ganache
- 1 cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 4 egg whites, room temp
- 1 cup white sugar
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Begin by preheating the oven to 325°F. Coat the bottom and sides of your 8-inch baking pans with butter, then sprinkle in flour to coat that. Tap out the excess flour over the sink or garbage can.
- With a sieve, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Then set this aside.
- In a large pan over medium heat, melt your butter. Then, add in the cocoa powder and stir with a spatula until combined. Remove the pan from the burner
- Next, away from the heat, add the coffee and milk into the pan. Mix until combined.
- Then, add the sugar to the pan and stir it together until dissolved.
- To the pan, add the eggs and vanilla, again mixing until combined.
- Finally, add the flour mixture to the rest of the batter, and stir together gently until it is combined. You may need to use a whisk to break apart some of the lumps of flour since the batter is quite thick.
- Pour the batter evenly into the three prepared pans and place them in the preheated oven. Set a timer for 33 minutes.
- Once the timer is done, check the cakes with a toothpick for doneness. You will see moist crumbs on the toothpick, but there should be no wet batter.
- Next, let the cakes cool in their pans on a cooling rack for ten minutes. After ten minutes, carefully flip the cakes out of the pans onto the racks. You may need to tap the bottom of the pan with a utensil, but they should come out smoothly. Let the cakes cool to room temperature before frosting.
Graham Cracker Crust
- Cut out a six- or eight-inch circle of parchment paper, leaving two long pieces to use as handles (see my video above for an example.) Place inside your cake pan.
- Using a rolling pin, hit the package of graham crackers until they are crushed into small pieces. Alternatively, you can put them in a plastic bag or food processor.
- Next, melt the butter, and mix it together with the rest of the ingredients.
- Press the mixture into the prepared baking pan with a large spoon. You want a layer about one-inch thick. If you are using the eight-inch cake pan, do NOT go all the way to the edges. Instead, leave about an inch of a ring around the outside. You need this crunch layer to be smaller in diameter than the layer of your cakes. If using a six-inch cake pan, press the mixture into the edges. You should have enough graham cracker crumbs to repeat this process again, plus extra for garnish. If you have an additional baking pan, fill that one as you did here, and move on to the next step.
- Then, bake the crust in the preheated oven for 9-10 minutes, or until the graham crackers are slightly golden brown.
- Let the graham cracker layer cool in the pan. Then, using the two longer pieces of parchment paper as "handles," carefully life the disc of graham cracker crust out and set it aside.
- Repeat this process, if needed, in the cake pan again. At the end, you will need two layers of graham cracker discs for the two layers inside of your cake.
- Finally, with the remaining graham cracker pieces, pour them onto a baking sheet and roast for five to ten minutes, until dried and slightly browned. Let these cool to the side; they will be used as the garnish on the outside of your cake, if you choose. Set aside.
- Place the room-temp butter and marshmallow cream fluff into the bowl of your mixer, and combine.
- Then, cup by cup, add the powdered sugar, stopping to scrape the edges of the bowl when needed. After the last cup, add the vanilla and salt, and a splash of milk or cream if the buttercream is exceptionally thick. Mix again well to combine. Set aside.
Milk Chocolate Ganache
- Heat the cream in a microwave or on the stove until it is just scalding. There will be small bubbles starting to rise, but it should not reach a full boil.
- Then, pour the heated cream over top of the chocolate chips in a bowl.
- Let the cream heat the chocolate; don't touch the mixture for two minutes.
- After two minutes have passed, begin to slowly mix the chocolate together with a spoon, starting with little circles at the center and moving out.
- For a perfect ganache drip, let the chocolate cool to room temperature. Set aside.
- First, whisk the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar together in your double boiler.
- Set the double boiler over a small pan of simmering water. Constantly whisk the mixture together.
- After a few minutes, check the meringue for doneness in two ways. First, insert a thermometer. To pasteurize the eggs, they need to reach a temperature of 160°F. Then, dip your clean finger into the mixture and rub it together to make sure the sugar has dissolved; you shouldn't feel any graininess. Once the meringue passes both tests, pour it into the bowl of your mixer.
- Add the vanilla to the meringue in the bowl.
- With the whisk attachment, mix the meringue for six minutes. Start the mixer slowly, but transition it to high speed within the first 30 seconds.
- After six minutes, test the meringue for doneness. It should be very shiny, and hold stiff peaks when pulled out of the mixer bowl and flipped over. Make sure to make the meringue on the same day that you will be decorating the cake. Set it aside to prepare the other cake components.
Assembling & Decorating The Cake
- First, set a layer of cake right side up on your turntable. Then, place on top of that one of the discs of graham cracker crust. It's okay if it breaks, just get it in the center of the cake layer as best as you can.
- Fill your piping bag with some buttercream. You don't need a tip on the bag right now. Pipe a large "dam" of buttercream around the outside of the graham cracker crust. Make sure that the "dam" is higher than the graham cracker crust to ensure the ganache does not leak out.
- Pour in some ganache over the top of the graham cracker layer. It should settle nicely into the buttercream "dam" you created.
- Place a small amount of buttercream over the top of the ganache to seal it in. It doesn't have to look perfect, just make sure no ganache is leaking out.
- Repeat this process again, starting with the cake layer, then the graham cracker crust, buttercream dam, ganache, and more buttercream.
- Flip the final cake layer over so that the smooth pan side is facing up. This helps create nice, smooth cake edges. Place it on top of your cake.
- Using the buttercream piping bag, lay down a layer of buttercream on top and on the sides of your cake. This will form your crumb-coat, so it in no way has to look good at first. Just get the buttercream on there.
- Use your cake scraper to smooth the buttercream around the top and outside of your cake. Add more buttercream where needed, and smooth again. It's okay if you get a smooth finish but see the cake through it - in fact, you should at this point.
- Place the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes or the refrigerator for 30 to let the crumb coat chill.
- Once the crumb-coat has hardened a bit, apply a second layer of buttercream. Use the bench scraper again to smooth out all of the imperfections. Apply more buttercream with an offset spatula where there are holes, and, yes, keeping smoothing. When finished, let chill in the same manner as before.
- Cut out a thin strip of parchment paper to act as a guide for your graham cracker crumb garnish. Press this gently into the buttercream where you don't want graham cracker crumbs.
- Crush the leftover, roasted crumbs into a fine dust, and, using your forefingers, press a small handful onto the bottom of your cake. Once the cake is covered to your liking, remove the parchment paper guide and discard it.
- Chill your cake before applying the ganache drip, as you chilled it previously. Test the ganache for proper consistency by using a piping bag or spoon to drip it down the side of the bowl. Cool it to thicken, or heat it to loosen, as needed. Once the drip consistency is to your liking, carefully apply it to the cake, starting on the back until you get the hang of it. Use the excess ganache to cover the top of the cake, smoothing it to your preference.
- Prepare your piping bags with the tips of your choosing, and add meringue into them. Using a circular motion or a drop-flower motion, add some swirls and garnishes where you see fit. I like to start on the top with some big, dramatic rosettes, and slowly cascade smaller ones down the sides. Feel free to get creative with it.
- Finally, turn on your kitchen torch according to the instructions. Gently at first, hold the flame towards the meringue. It will heat quickly, as you'll see, so with sweeping motions, toast evenly around the meringue. If any catch fire, simply blow on them to burn it out. After all, it's just like making s'mores.
I’d Like S’more S’mores Cake, Please!
“I’d like s’more s’mores cake…” – see what I did there? 🙂 Get used to hearing that phrase, A LOT! This s’mores cake is so delicious, I guarantee it will be your new summer and fall favorite!
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Take care guys! Until next time…
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