This cake, ohhhhh this cake. For me and this cake, it was love at first sight. Layers of rich chocolate cake, toasted marshmallow filling, and chocolate frosting. When I first came across the Brown Eyed Baker recipe on Pinterest, I actually day dreamed about it for a week. With the Jewish holidays coming up, I even had the perfect occasion to make it for. Then came the first bump in my relationship with this cake. Fellow bakers, maybe you have already learned this – never, ever tell people how much butter/cream/fattening deliciousness is in your desserts. I stupidly mentioned to my boyfriend that this cake involves six sticks of butter, and suddenly he was Mr. Healthy, telling me I absolutely could not bring this cake to his parents’ house for the holidays. So I set out on a mission to improvise/modify and cut down on the amount of butter.
What I ended up with was a chocolate cake recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and a chocolate buttercream recipe from add a pinch. I used the marshmallow filling recipe from the original Brown Eyed Baker cake recipe that I first fell in love with. The result was a truly rich and delicious cake that was a PAIN to make, and I still used 5 sticks of butter. The following is what I’ve learned from my experience making this cake twice. Hopefully third time’s a charm, but it might be a while before I’m brave enough to try again.
Start by cutting a circle of parchment paper to cover the bottom of each cake pan. Grease and dust with flour or cocoa powder.
Sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Then add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Mix on low speed about 3 minutes. Aaaand here’s where my relationship with this cake turned from one of love to something more like love-hate. The recipe says to bake for 32-35 minutes at 350, yet both times I baked this cake it was still completely raw after 35 minutes. I ended up having to bake the cake for somewhere around 43 minutes before I felt good about taking it out of the oven. I have no idea what went wrong and it happened both times, so if I bake it again I might try cooking it at a higher temperature. If anyone makes this, please let me know how it goes for you.
Next, broil 16 large marshmallows in the oven. When the tops are lightly browned, take the marshmallows out, turn them over, and brown the other side. The first time I made this (photo above) the marshmallow filling came out perfectly, but the second time I made it there were big chunks of hard, chewy, toasted marshmallow throughout the filling. I think it was because I toasted the marshmallows for a little longer the second time. It definitely adds a lot of great flavor that way, but my personal preference is for a smooth filling.
Next, make the chocolate buttercream frosting. I initially tried a chocolate buttercream recipe with only (lol, only) two sticks of butter, but I honestly was not impressed. The second time around I went for one with three sticks of butter and I did NOT regret it. This frosting is too good. I warn you, you will have frosting left over, and you will want to eat it all with a spoon. So I mean, not all three sticks of butter ended up on the cake anyway…..
Time to assemble the cake. Cut each of the two cake layers in half horizontally so you (fingers crossed) get 4 even layers. I had my mom help me by watching and letting me know if it looked like one side of the knife was getting higher or lower than the other side.
Put the first layer of cake on the cake plate and cover with a thick layer of marshmallow filling. Next, stack the second layer and cover with a thick layer of chocolate buttercream. Repeat for another layer of marshmallow filling and another layer of chocolate buttercream. For some reason I only have a photo at this stage, but I did also frost the sides of the cake with the chocolate buttercream. I also scattered chocolate sprinkles on top like Brown Eyed Baker did. The first time I made the cake I had my mom there to help me stack the layers, but the second time I was not so lucky. I found out that it’s really difficult to lift layers of cake by yourself without any fancy utensils, and I ended up with a fairly (ok, severely) slanted cake. The leaning tower of cake, if you will. The really unfortunate part was that the second time I made it was for my boyfriend’s family, which is when I wanted it to come out especially well. Sigh, at least it tasted really damn good.
Chocolate Toasted Marshmallow Layer Cake
- 1 ¼ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 ½ cups sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
- 1 ¼ cups warm water
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 16 large marshmallows
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 (7.5oz) jar Marshmallow Fluff
- 1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), softened
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
- Make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, making sure the baking rack is in the middle of the oven. Prepare two 8” or 9” round cake pans by cutting out a piece of parchment or wax paper to line the bottom of the pan. Grease the pans, place the parchment or wax paper in the bottom of the pan and lightly grease again. Dust the pans with flour (or cocoa powder if you don’t want the white dusting on the finished cakes). Set the pans aside.
- Using a fine mesh strainer, sift together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add the eggs, yolk, warm water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Mix on low speed (with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer) until smooth, about 3 minutes.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake the cakes for about 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Do not overbake! Remove the pans from the oven and set the pans on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Gently run a thin knife around the edges of the pans and unmold the cakes, removing the parchment paper liners from the bottom of the cakes. Let them cool completely, top sides ups, on a wire rack.
- Make the Toasted Marshmallow Filling: Place the marshmallows on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place on the lowest rack of oven, and broil marshmallows until nice and brown on top, keeping an eye on them the entire time so they don’t burn. Remove pan from oven and gently turn the marshmallows over, and broil until the other side is golden brown.
- Beat the butter and powdered sugar on low speed until blended together, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract and increase the speed to medium-high; beat for 3 minutes. Stop the mixer, add the Marshmallow Fluff and toasted marshmallows, and mix on the lowest speed for about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Make the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps. Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
- Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added. Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears too wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.
- Assemble the cake: Slice each layer of cake in half horizontally so you have four cake layers. Place your first layer face-up on a cake plate and cover with half of the Toasted Marshmallow Filling. Place another cake layer face-up and cover with about ¾ to 1 cup of Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. Repeat, topping with the rest of the Toasted Marshmallow Filling. Place final layer of cake on top and frost the entire outside of cake with remaining Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.