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S'mores layer cake honours early Father's Day gift By Jake Fitzpatrick '22

My grandpa lives about 1,236 miles from Westport in a beachside town called Sarasota, Florida. I would see my grandpa about five-six times a year (depending on whether he was in New York with my cousins), so seeing him every year was really special to me. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, however, I haven't seen him for nearly 500 days. This Father's Day, I will finally be able to see him since he's coming up to New York.

Once every year, my grandpa and I would bake something together. One year it was a carrot cake, another year it was a Boston crème pie, but my favorite thing that we’ve ever baked together was a S'mores cake. This cake isn't my favorite because it turned out the best or because it looked amazing,, but it was my favorite because of the baking process that we went through.

First, we used chocolate instead of Cocoa, then we tried making the meringue topping without an electric mixer (I had to beat it by hand for about 15 minutes until we just gave up), and finally, we completely forgot the vanilla. Everything went wrong, but in the end, the entire process was interesting and fun. So since I'm now able to see him after so long, I wanted to bring back some old memories by re-doing the S'mores cake for us to eat in New York (only this time, I will make it right).

Ingredients

  1. Cooking spray
  2. 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  3. 1/2 of a cup of brown sugar
  4. 3/4 of a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  5. 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  6. 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  7. 1 cup of hot coffee (I used caramel decaf coffee)
  8. 1 cup of granulated sugar
  9. 3/4 of a cup of vegetable oil
  10. 1/2 of a cup of sour cream, room temperature
  11. 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  12. 1/4 of a teaspoon of cream of tartar
  13. 1 and one-half cups of granulated sugar
  14. 3/4 of a cup of water
  15. 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
First, preheat the oven to 350° and line two eight-inch cake pans with parchment and grease with cooking spray.
Then, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
In another large bowl, whisk the hot coffee and sugar together. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to combine.
Pour into the dry ingredients and use an electric mixer to whisk until completely combined.
Divide the batter between prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. While it bakes, start on the frosting.
Place egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl of a heat-safe stand mixer. Do not beat anything yet. Just put the mixer aside while you work on the sugar.
In a small pot, mix the sugar and water and bring to a simmer. Without stirring, wait until the mixture reaches 230°.
As soon as the sugar mixture reaches 230°, begin to whip egg whites using the whisk attachment. Continue beating until egg whites are frothy and the sugar mixture reaches 240°.
When the mixture reaches 240°, slowly pour it into the egg whites while beating at high speed. Then pour in vanilla. Continue beating until it doubles in volume and the mixture is glossy and stiff peaks form.
When the cakes are done, let them cool for 15 minutes. After they are mostly cool, invert them onto a wire cooling rack and let them cool completely.
Cut the top of the bottom cake using a serrated knife to make it as flat as possible. Place one layer of cake on a serving platter and top with a heaping amount of frosting. Use an offset spatula to smooth into an even surface. Top with second layer and frost tops and sides.
If you have access to a culinary blowtorch or even a lighter, if desired, toast the frost to give it the "burnt marshmallow" look. That being said, using a normal lighter is significantly more difficult and more time-consuming than using a blowtorch.
Make sure you cut a small slice because this is possibly one of the richest cakes you will ever eat. If possible, store the cake in a refrigerator so that the meringue doesn't turn stale. It serves about 12 people and lasts about two weeks. Have a happy Father's Day with this delectable s'mores layer cake.

All photos taken by Jake Fitzpatrick '22

Created By
Jacob Fitzpatrick
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