Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Honey Graham Cracker Cake with Toasted Meringue Frosting

Honey Graham Cracker Cake
with Toasted Meringue Frosting
If you haven't heard about Food52.com by now, please, let me introduce you to an amazing site for all things sweet and savory.  A real foodie's happy place with articles, recipes and contests.  I often daydream about working there and developing and testing recipes all day, but since their offices are on the other side of the country I guess I will just have to continue to daydream...boo hoo!

Anyways, I digress, recently I found a terrific article by Posie Harwood that made me drool instantly. She discovered an old recipe from Nabisco that used graham crackers in place of AP flour to make a deliciously moist cake that actually tastes just like graham crackers!!  I was so excited and I knew right away I wanted to make a cake reminiscent of campfire s'mores and this is what I came up with and it was so easy! A Honey Graham Cracker cake with Jello Instant Chocolate Pudding filling and toasted Swiss Meringue frosting, which is Sweetapolita's Swiss Meringue Buttercream without the butter...yum!

Graham Cracker Cake
Adapted from Food52.com
·         1/2 cup all-purpose flour
·         1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
·         2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
·         1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
·         3/4 cup sugar
·         eggs
·         teaspoon vanilla extract
·         3/4 cup milk
1.      Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.
2.      In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, and baking powder and set aside.
3.      In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
4.      Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition.
5.      Mix in the vanilla.
6.      Add the flour mixture and the milk a little bit at a time, alternating between each. Mix thoroughly but be careful not to overbeat.
7.      Divide the batter evenly between your two prepared pans. Bake for about 25 minutes (or until golden brown and starting to pull away from the sides of the pans).
8.      Cool in the pans for at least 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely before frosting and assembling.
Honey Graham Cracker Cake Mise en Place
Chocolate Pudding Filling
Adapted from Jello Instant Chocolate Pudding
·         1 - 3.9 oz box Jello Instant Chocolate Pudding
·         cups cold milk
1.      Beat together pudding mix and cold milk for about 2 minutes (pudding will be soft set)
2.      Refrigerate until ready to use as filling
     **NOTE: One box makes way more filling than you need so you will have extra for dessert or a sweet snack!
Chocolate Pudding Filling
Swiss Meringue
·        5 large, fresh egg whites (150 g)
·        1 ¼ cups (250 g) sugar
·        2 tsp vanilla
·        Pinch of salt
1.      Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with a paper towel and lemon juice to remove any trace of grease.  Add egg whites and sugar and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, but gently until the temperature reaches 140°F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.  Remove from the heat.
2.      With the whisk attachment of the mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (about 10 minutes of whipping).
3.      Add the vanilla and salt and whip until incorporated...that’s it!!
Whipping & Toasting
of the Swiss Meringue
TO ASSEMBLE: Place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand and pipe a ring or dam of meringue around the edge of the cake to keep your pudding filling from spilling out.  Then, fill the inside of the the piping ring with your chocolate pudding.  Take the second cake layer and carefully place it on top of the first layer.  Then, using an offset spatula slather the remaining meringue all over the cake using short strokes to create waves and peaks.  Lastly, and this is the fun part, using a small kitchen torch start toasting the meringue, but be careful because the meringue can easily burn.

I was a little nervous that the cake would turn out dry from the graham cracker crumbs, but it was so moist and light.  Posie Harwood was so right!  Plus, the chocolate pudding added the perfect amount of moisture to the center of the cake while the meringue frosting was like a sweet cloud that tasted just like toasted marshmallows.  A perfect cake to take to a potluck or to keep for yourself!  Give this recipe a try and I promise you will not be disappointed!!
Moist, Tender & Toasty!
Happy Baking!!
xoxo,
Dani