This year, I resumed my tradition of baking myself a birthday cake. Each year I like to pick an extra-special recipe that I’ve had my eye on and make it sometime around my birthday. Last year, I didn’t make one since I was in Florida and I spent my birthday eating chocolate, playing tennis and having dinner at an open-air restaurant on the Intercoastal. In the spirt of doing a complete 180, this year I’m home in Pittsburgh, watching the snow fall (holy crazy weather!).
In years past for my birthday, I’ve made an Oreo Cheesecake, a Peanut Butter-Fudge Cheesecake and Tiramisu Cupcakes, to name a few. I had originally thought about making some sort of chocolate-peanut butter/peanut butter cup cake this year, but since I gave up peanut butter for Lent, it will have to wait. Then I remembered this amazing “campfire delight cake” that I had seen on Sweetapolita awhile ago, and it seemed like the perfect over-the-top birthday cake candidate. With SIX(!!) layers of rich chocolate cake, a toasted marshmallow filling and a malted chocolate frosting, the cake was an absolute dream. It lived up to the hype and then some, as it is one of the best cakes to ever come out of my kitchen.
Let me tell you, this chocolate cake is intense. The layers are so moist and the flavor is deep and rich, thanks in part to using a high quality Dutch-process cocoa powder and hot coffee to enhance the chocolate.
The toasted marshmallow filling is flat-out genius. Not only is the frosting made with marshmallow cream, but actual toasted marshmallows are added. You get all of the marshmallow flavor along with little bits of toasted marshmallows with every bite. Paired with that chocolate cake recipe, I was pretty sure that things couldn’t get any better…
Then, along came the chocolate frosting. This is no ordinary chocolate frosting. I discovered the wonderment of using Ovaltine in chocolate frosting when I made brownies with buttercream frosting last year; it adds a malted flavor that is distinct but not overpowering and a perfect accompaniment to the chocolate.
If you want a cake that has some serious wow factor, you must make this cake! Not only is it sky-high and absolutely stunning, but it tastes even better than it looks!
Since it’s my birthday, I’m off to eat another slice of cake :) Cheers!
Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, grease the parchment, then flour the insides of the pans, tapping out excess; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer (or large mixing bowl if you're using a hand mixer), sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for an additional 20 seconds (the batter will be very thin).
Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate the pans in the oven. Continue to bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs), about 12 more minutes. Cool the cakes (in the pans) on wire racks for 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
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 Malted Chocolate Frosting: Beat the butter and powdered sugar on low speed until blended together, about 1 minute. Add the Ovaltine, vanilla and salt, and continue to beat on low until well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream and beat on medium-high speed for another minute.
Assemble the Cake: Slice each cake layer in half horizontally so you have six cake layers. Place your first layer face-up on a cake plate and cover with one-third of the Toasted Marshmallow Frosting. Place another cake layer face-up and cover with about ¾ to 1 cup of Malted Chocolate Frosting. Repeat, alternating marshmallow and chocolate filling layers, until you come to your cake final layer, which you will place face-down. Frost the entire outside of cake with the remaining Malted Chocolate Frosting.
Cake is best served the same day it is made, but leftovers can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator, well-wrapped, for up to 3 days.
You can substitute marshmallow creme for the Marshmallow Fluff.
For the cleanest cake slices, refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes before cutting. Use a sharp knife dipped in hot water (and wiped dry) between each cut.