Malted Campfire Cake

March 26, 2011

I think today is going to be all about this sweet indulgence I found on sweetapolita.com.  I love a good layer cake – “Bakery Cake” is always a treat, but this recipe sounds like my dream-come-true cake.  Cakes are celebratory, they can even be monumental.  The architecture of a layer cake allows for the prefect ratio of cake to frosting in every bite, something a cupcake can’t brag about, and the ability to hide a sweet surprise in between the layers allows for bakers to customize a cake on a whim.  But this cake, I have to say has all my favorites packed into one.  Seriously Chocolate, toasted marshmallow and malt?!?!   oh… and do I even have to mention the decorating possibilities of a layer cake?  too many to mention you can swirl butter-cream, pour a ganache, lay a fondant,  nuts on the sides, pipe flowers, add sprinkles, … I told you there are too many decorating options to mention.  It’s Saturday, close your computer, get the things you need from the store ( don’t forget milk!) and make this cake today…I think I’m going to.

6 layers of dark, moist chocolate cake sandwiching alternating rich and fluffy frosting: satiny Belgian chocolate malted frosting and creamy toasted-marshmallow vanilla frosting with bits of actual crispy marshmallow in every bite. Strangely, the finished cake is not really super sweet–it’s more rich, light, and creamy sweet…

This is what the marshmallows should look like after being lightly toasted in the oven. They are so good in the cake and are  pretty good right off the baking sheet too.  One of the simplest ways to create a wow-factor according to sweetapolita is to split your layers. You’ve already baked them, so if you get really comfortable splitting them in two, you can create a sky-high cake in moments… more opportunities to add fillings and frosting and special ingredients.  Yum.

This recipe is for an 8″ round 6-layer cake:

Rich Chocolate Cake recipe x 2 and split between three 8″ round cake pans.

*Note: Here is the printable recipe for the Rich Chocolate Cake–it is for 3 x 8″ pans, but the layers will be a bit more shallow. If you double the recipe, you will be able to fill the pans 2/3 full, resulting in thicker layers. You will have some remaining batter, with which you can make cupcakes, etc. You can also increase by 50%. Click here for printable recipe.

Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting          {click here for printable recipe}

Ingredients:

1 lb butter (4 sticks or 2 cups) at room temperature

4 cups icing sugar (confectioners’ or powdered)

3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup Ovaltine or malt powder

8 oz (250 g) Callebaut (or other premium brand) bittersweet chocolate chips, or chopped, and melted

1/2 cup whipping (35% fat) cream

Method:

In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute. Add vanilla and malt powder, and beat on low until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes). Add whipping cream and beat on med-high speed for another minute. Best used right away.

*Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Chocolate Frosting recipe

Toasted-Marshmallow Frosting          {click here for printable recipe}

Ingredients:

16 large white marshmallows

1 cup icing sugar (confectioners’ or powdered)

1/2 lb butter (2 sticks, or 1 cup) at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

8 oz of Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Cream (or Marshmallow Fluff)

Method:

Place marshmallows on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place on lower rack of oven, and broil marshmallows until nice and brown. Be sure to keep an eye on them–they burn very, very quickly. Combine butter and icing sugar in electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, on low until blended (about 1 minute). Add vanilla and mix on high for about 3 minutes. Add marshmallow cream and toasted marshmallows, and mix on lowest setting for about 1 minute.

Notes:

1. To create the frosted effect I’ve done, place chilled cake with thin layer of frosting on a piece of wax paper on a cake turntable, and add remaining frosting to create a fairly smooth finish with a medium palette knife (straight, not offset). Then, with your dominant hand, hold palette knife with a medium-firm pressure at about a 45 degree angle starting at bottom of cake, and with your other hand slowly spin turntable while keeping your palette knife against cake at at all times, then gradually directing the palette knife upwards until you get to the top. Finish with same technique on top. If you aren’t happy with your attempt, this frosting is so satiny, that you can smooth it over and try again.

2. Add a Whopper or Malteser candy and some chocolate jimmies on top for the final touch (think of it as your cake’s “hint.”)

3. I always build my cakes on thin cake boards to make for easy lifting and transferring.

4. I always bake layer-by-layer, so with 3 baking pans filled evenly. For accurate layers, I always weigh my pans with batter on a digital kitchen scale to ensure they are exactly the same.

5. Less is more: if you slightly underbake your chocolate cake (not vanilla), you will end up with a much moister cake. Just bake until toothpick comes “almost” clean.

Tips & Tricks for Splitting Cakes:

1. Always start with a cold cake: refrigerate for about 2 hours or freeze for about 30 minutes

2. With a good quality serrated knife (I only use my favourite Mac 10 1/2″ serrated bread knife–this thing is insanely sharp), trim any doming off the top of each layer.

3. Measure the height of your layer with a ruler, then create a score line on the halfway mark all the way  around the outside of the cake.

4. Lower yourself to almost eye-level to the cake. With a gentle sawing motion, slowly move the knife gradually towards the centre of the cake, then turn cake 1/4 turn, and repeat until you have cut through the entire layer.

Good luck & enjoy!

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