Monday, June 3, 2013

6-Layer Toasted Marshmallow and Belgian Chocolate Cake

One of my all time favorite things to do is to create a variety of flavorful and tasty cakes.  The main reason that I enjoy making cakes, is because it provides me the with the opportunity to display my creative side.  I keep telling myself that one of these days I’ll finally take a cake decorating class or watch one of those cake shows on tv; I just haven’t yet.  If you're interested though, and want to see more elaborate cakes that I’ve created for others, please feel free to check out 'Savory Sweets by Jamie', on Facebook.
Now, onto the cake........

The following cake recipe is for a moist, delicious, and scrumptious, 6-layer toasted marshmallow and Belgian chocolate cake that was made for some students of mine.  The reason behind this cake is because some of them definitely rose to the challenge that I presented to them a little over a month ago.  I truly am proud of each and every one of them, but unfortunately, as with any competition there can only be so many winners.

So here's the lowdown.......

The Cake/Group/EOG Challenge:  Every year in North Carolina students from 3rd grade and up take what are called the EOG’s (end of grade test).  The students need to pass these basic skills tests in order to be promoted to the next grade level for the following school year.  In order to help prepare the students for these tests we, as a school and teachers, have to go through some sort of review unit.  These units can sometimes be boring and repetitive to the kids, therefore I am one who always likes to hold classroom games and competitions in order to make the experience more fun, interactive, and collaborative.  One strategy that I use is what I like to call group challenges.  For this activity the students must collaborate with their group members to read a loud a passage and then answer a series of comprehension questions.  The key is that ALL group members must agree on an answer and be able to express why they feel the answer is what they think it is, especially if some of their other peers in the group don't agree.  This type of collaboration provides the students with an opportunity to justify themselves and help others who might not comprehend.  At the end of the 4 week challenge, the group who has accumulated the most point wins.  In this case, they won a piece of cake, which hopefully they thought the challenge was.  Pun intended!

FYI.....My students informed me that this might just be the best cake they've ever had, so either they were  sucking up to me and hoping I'd give them an "A", or it's a really good cake!

6-Layer Toasted Marshmallow and Belgian Chocolate Cake
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Makes: one 6-Layer, 8 inch round cake
For the cake:
2 ½ cups + 1 TBSP all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar (yes really… can diet later)
1 cup + 1 TBSP cocoa powder (I used Hersey’s)
1 TBSP baking soda
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temperature
1 ½ cups black coffee, hot (I used Target brand Vanilla flavored)
¾ cups vegetable oil
1 ½ TBSP vanilla extract

For the Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting:
1 lb. (4 sticks) butter, room temperature (Once again… can diet later)
4 - 5 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted (I ended up using more later on due to the frosting being a little too soft.)
¾ cup Chocolate Malted Ovaltine, or Carnation Chocolate Malt Powder
1 TBSP vanilla extract
8 oz. Belgian Chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled (I used milk chocolate Milka bars)
cup heavy whipping cream

For the Toasted Marshmallow Frosting:
16 large white marshmallows
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 jar (213 g) marshmallow fluff


For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 3-8” round cake pans by spraying them with a nonstick baking spray (I use the Wilton brand, but Baking Joy would work too, or butter and a light dusting of flour).

In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift together all the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl/large measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla.  (Helpful Hint: Whisk the eggs first, and then whisk in everything else)

Add the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and beat on a medium speed for 2 minutes, or until the ingredients are well blended.  Hint: start the mixer on a low speed to avoid a mess and then slowly increase the speed to medium.  Once ready, divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.  (The batter will appear to be pretty thin, but its ok, trust me)

Bake for 20-23 minutes rotating pans as needed.  Continue to bake until an inserted toothpick comes out almost clean (just a few crumbs).  Allow the cakes to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then remove from pans and allow to completely cool.

For the Malted Chocolate Frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, set to a medium speed, beat together the butter and confectioner’s sugar until well blended and creamy in appearance.  Hint: start the mixer off on low, to avoid a big mess.  Once ready, add in the malt powder and vanilla then beat on a low speed until well combined and smooth in appearance.  Add in the melted chocolate and beat on a medium speed until smooth.  Make sure to stop and scrape down the side of the bowl as needed.

Lastly, add in the heavy whipping cream and beat on a medium-high speed for another minute or so.  Be careful not to over beat.  (This is the step where I ended up adding more confectioners’ sugar to make the frosting a little thicker in texture.  Add in a ½ cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.)

For the Toasted Marshmallow Frosting:
Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with a silicone baking mat or a piece of parchment paper and spray it with a non-stick cooking spray.  Arrange the marshmallows, in a standing position, on the cookie sheet and then broil until nice and brown on top.  Time varies so keep a close eye on them, the marshmallows brown quickly.  Once ready, remove the pan from the oven and gently turn the marshmallows over to the other side, then place back into the oven and continue to broil until the other side has turned the same nice golden brown color.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment and set on a low-medium speed, beat together the butter and the confectioner’s sugar for about 1 minute.  Stop to add in the vanilla and mix on a medium-high speed for about 3 minutes or until smooth and creamy in texture.  Scrape down the side of bowl as needed.

Next, add in the marshmallow cream/fluff and the toasted marshmallows.  Beat on low for around 1 minute or until well blended.

To assemble:
First you will need to cut your 3-8” round cakes in half, so that you have your six layers.  Once that step is complete you’ll need a serving plate, or an 8” round cake board.  Place your first cake layer down on the board or serving plate and spread on top a thin layer of the marshmallow frosting.  Top with another cake layer and then spread on a layer of the malted Belgian chocolate frosting.  Repeat the steps until you have used each layer of cake.  Hint: It helps to place the final cake layer upside down (reduces the crumbs when you frost).  It also helps to let the cake sit in the fridge for a bit to harden up before frosting.

Once ready, frost and decorate the cake as desired!  Enjoy!  It will go quickly!
Source: Very slightly adapted from Sweetapolita 


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