Hot Chocolate Layer Cake with Homemade Marshmallows
If you can’t find Lyle’s Golden Syrup, substitute light corn syrup. By Rebecca Rather in “Fine Cooking Cakes and Cupcakes,” (Tauton Press, 2014).
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, more for pans
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, more for pans
3/4 cup canola oil
4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups unsweetened natural cocoa powder, plus more for decorating
1/2 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup or light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 (1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, more as needed
POSITION racks in the bottom and top thirds of the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees.
BUTTER 3 (9-by-2-inch) round cake pans and line each with a parchment round. Butter parchment, then dust with flour and knock out excess.
COMBINE 12 tablespoons butter, oil, chopped chocolate and 1 cup water in a 3-quart saucepan. Heat over medium heat until melted.
WHISK flour, sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl. Pour hot chocolate mixture into sugar mixture and whisk until combined. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, then whisk in buttermilk, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Portion batter evenly among pans.
SET two pans on top rack and third on lower rack. Stagger pans so no pan is directly over another. Bake, swapping and rotating pans’ positions after 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on racks for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto the racks, remove parchment, and cool completely.
MAKE frosting: Combine cream, 6 tablespoons butter, vanilla beans and seeds in a 4-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir until butter is melted. Remove vanilla bean and whisk in chopped chocolate until melted. Whisk in sugar, cocoa powder, syrup and salt until smooth. Be sure cocoa powder dissolves completely. Pour into a 13-by-9-inch pan and freeze until firm, about 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight.
MAKE marshmallows: Pour 3/4 cup cold water into bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Attach bowl to mixer and fit with whisk attachment.
CLIP a candy thermometer to a 3-quart saucepan; don’t let the tip of the thermometer touch bottom of the pan. In saucepan, boil 2 cups sugar, corn syrup, salt and 3/4 cup water over medium heat without stirring until the mixture reaches 234-235 degrees, about 10 minutes. With a mixer on low speed, pour hot sugar mixture into gelatin in a slow, thin stream.
ADD vanilla, carefully increase speed to high, and beat until mixture has thickened and cooled, about 5 minutes (the bottom of the bowl should be just warm to the touch). Line a 13-by-9-inch pan with foil, leaving an overhang on two sides. Sift 1 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar into the bottom of the pan, then pour marshmallow mixture into the pan and sift another 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar on top. Let sit at room temperature until set, at least 2 hours.
ASSEMBLE cake: remove frosting from freezer or refrigerator. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes to soften. Change to a whisk attachment and beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
PUT a cake later on a flat serving platter or a cake stand lined with strips of wax paper to keep it clean while icing. Top layer with 1 1/2 cups frosting, spreading it evenly with an offset spatula to cake’s edge. Repeat with another cake layer and 1 1/2 cups frosting. Top with last cake layer.
PUT 1 1/2 cups frosting in a small bowl. With an offset spatula, spread frosting in a thin layer over top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate cake until the frosting is firm enough to seal in the crumbs, 20 to 30 minutes.
SPREAD remaining frosting in a smooth layer over the top and sides of the cake. If necessary, you can rewhip the remaining frosting to loosen and lighten it. Remove waxed paper strips.
LIFT marshmallow out of the pan, using foil overhang. Using a knife dipped in cold water, cut along edge to release it from the foil. Transfer to a cutting board and remove foil. Put remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Cut marshmallows into cubes of different sizes, from 1/4-inch to 3/4-inch. You may need to dip knife again in cold water. Toss marshmallows in sugar to coat. Then shake in strainer to remove excess. Mound marshmallows on top of cake. Sift some cocoa powder over marshmallows.
Per serving: 1,080 calories, 14g protein, 161g carbs, 47g total fat (23g saturated, 17 g mono, 4.5g poly) 130mg cholesterol, 350mg sodium, 8g fiber.
Yield: 16 servings.