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I always make sure that I bake a cake for each of my nieces’ and nephew’s birthdays. This is a tall order given that I live 15 (long) hours from them. Being far apart gives me the determination to make the best memories with the kids each and every time I see them. We’re lucky enough to be together around each one’s birthday. At Thanksgiving we celebrate a little late for Kaidence, after Christmas it’s almost Karcyn’s big day and in August we enjoy Kyan turning another year older.
Some years, I use my uncle senses (those are a legit thing, right?) to choose a cake I know they’ll love. Other times, I simply ask them what they want. Since my nephew Kyan’s birthday falls in the middle of summer, a s’mores ice cream cake was an obvious creation to perfect.
When the family gathers together at my mom’s house, we love to make a fire in the backyard, roast marshmallows and enjoy s’mores. For this s’mores ice cream cake, it was imperative to ensure each and every flavor of the real thing came through.
The flavor profiles:
- Graham crackers: To drive home the graham flavor that is so prevalent in a real s’more, I added ground-up graham crackers to the cake batter. It seems like an odd ingredient, but you’ll be amazed by how the flavor really comes through.
- Chocolate bar: Since August is often hot and steamy, I decided to incorporate an ice cream layer into this cake. It’s cool, refreshing, and well… it just fits! I used my favorite recipe for homemade chocolate ice cream (because we ALL know homemade is so much butter). But feel free to purchase your favorite chocolate ice cream variety at the grocery store. As an additional push to drive home that chocolate flavor, the cake is sandwiched with layers of a creamy, rich chocolate ganache frosting.
- Marshmallows: Layered on top and toasted to capture some of that campfire char, they aren’t even a question!
I only have one question left: are you crushing up graham crackers yet?!
Watch how to make this s’mores ice cream cake:
S’mores Ice Cream Cake
For the cake
- 1 ⅔ cups graham crackers finely ground (about 17 crackers)
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup white granulated sugar
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 qt chocolate ice cream
- 1 recipe chocolate ganache (recipe below)
- 1 ½ cups marshmallows (for topping)
For the chocolate ganache
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- 4 oz dark chocolate
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
For the cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- To prepare the ice cream layer, line an 8-inch round cake pan with plastic wrap, and spread the softened ice cream in an even layer. Fold excess plastic around ice cream and place it in the freezer for at least 6 hours.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine.
- With the mixer running on medium-low speed, add butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition. When all of the butter has been added, continue mixing until the flour and butter mixture is the consistency of wet sand.
- In a large measuring glass, combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk to break up eggs.
- With the mixer running on medium-low, add the milk and egg mixture in two additions, mixing 30 seconds after each addition. Scrape the bowl to ensure everything has mixed evenly. Remove from mixer and prepare baking pans.
- Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray the paper. Divide the batter between both pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove cakes from oven and cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then remove from pans to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.
- Once the cakes are completely cool, assemble the cake. Start with one layer on a cake plate. Spread half the frosting over cake layer (see recipe below for frosting). Place prepared ice cream layer on top, centering, and cutting away any excess. Spread another half cup frosting on ice cream then follow with the second layer of cake. If the ice cream is ever getting too soft, place the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up. Spread remaining frosting on top of the cake, spreading a very thin coat on the sides to create a scraped, “naked” effect. At this point, the cake can be frozen again until it is time to serve.
- Before serving, pile marshmallows on top and use a torch to quickly toast them.
For the ganache
- Heat cream until it begins to steam, about 1 minute in the microwave.
- Cut chocolate into small pieces and place in a heat-safe bowl. Also, add the butter.
- Pour steaming cream over prepared chocolate and butter and let stand 5 minutes. Slowly whisk mixture until smooth with no pieces of chocolate or butter remaining. Let the ganache cool to room temperature, about 70°F.
- When completely cool, whip oh high in an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until light fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.