Every spring our family and a few friends get together and celebrate the coming warm weather by throwing a spring barbecue. Easter weekend here in the North East was spectacular! So we audibled and combined our spring barbecue with an Easter celebration on Saturday night!
Starters were pink champagne for us wine swillin” gals and beer for the guys! While the younger kids enjoyed a raucous Easter egg hunt, the rest of us scarfed down pate, prosciutto and melon and pigs in a blanket. The main was surf and turf: Lobster, steak, burgers and grilled chicken strips for the kids. The sides were corn, tomato and mozzarella, corn and bean salad, garlic bread, pasta with asparagus pesto and roasted cherry tomatoes. Yum!
Dessert was frozen S’mores! A favorite with all ages. And no sticky, marshmallow, chocolate covered fingers to contend with!
Below are three of my favorite recipes. These are easy to make and sure to be a crowd pleaser any time of year. Enjoy!
Ultimate S’mores Cake
• 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
• 1½ cups boiling water
• 4 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 3½ cups all purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon espresso powder
• 2¼ cups granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1½ cups unsalted butter
• Graham Cracker Layer
• 1½ cups graham crackers, ground
• ⅓ cup granulated sugar
• 6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Prepare two 9″ spring form pans, greasing the pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment.
3. In a medium bowl whisk together cocoa and boiling water until smooth, cool to room temperature.
4. Meanwhile, prepare graham cracker layer by mixing ground graham crackers with sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of one spring form pan, set aside.
5. In a separate bowl lightly combine eggs, ¼ of the cooled cocoa mixture, and vanilla. Set aside.
6. In a stand mixer combine the remaining dry ingredients and mix for about 30 seconds.
7. Add butter and remaining ¾ of the cooled cocoa mixture, mixing on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase speed and beat for 1½ minutes, scrape down sides of the bowl.
8. Gradually add the egg mixture to the batter in 3 batches, beating for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate each addition completely, scrape down sides of the bowl.
9. Pour batter into prepared spring form baking pans.
10. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.
11. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before moving to cooling rack.
Assembly: Allow cake to completely cool before assembling. Place layer without graham cracker on plate, level the cake by removing the domed top with a knife. Save shavings for filling cracks, or snacking. Fill with chocolate buttercream frosting and spread so there is a layer about ¼ – ½ of an inch thick. Trim second cake, as you did with the first before stacking. Place second cake, graham cracker side-down to the center of the cake, on top of frosting. Continue to frost the cake with the remaining buttercream frosting trying not to press hard on cake to avoid frosting oozing from center. If room is too warm you may want to refrigerate the cake to stabilize the frosting while assembling the cake. Pile marshmallow frosting on top of cake, making fun patterns in marshmallow. Use a long stemmed lighter, or blow torch, to brulee/toast the marshmallow, being careful not to burn the marshmallow. You may want to practice on a
spoon of marshmallow before toasting the cake.
No Bake S’mores Cake
Large box Chocolate Fudge Instant Pudding Mix1 cup milk
1 container cool whip
1 box graham crackers
1 Large container Marshmallow Fluff
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cups sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
Whip the pudding mix and milk together until slightly thickened. Let sit to thicken more.
Line the bottom of a 13×9 baking dish with graham crackers. Try to cover the entire bottom. You probably have to reach back to your Tetris skills and break apart the crackers to fit.
Fold in the container of cool whip into the pudding mix. Spread the mixture on top of the graham crackers.
Add another layer of graham crackers on top of the pudding mix.
Carefully spread the container of marshmallow fluff on top of the layer of graham crackers. This will probably get messy because the fluff is pretty sticky. Do your best to spread the fluff without disturbing the graham crackers underneath.
Add yet another layer of graham crackers on top of the fluff.
For the topping:
Add the cocoa powder, sugar, and milk in a saucepan, stir well. Heat to a boil and let boil for 1 minute, while stirring.
Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter until melted.
Pour the chocolate topping on top of the last graham cracker layer.
Place in a refrigerator to chill. Overnight is best, but at least several hours. The pudding will soak into the graham crackers and become a delicious treat.
Trish Whitehead is the mom of two very busy teenaged girls plus 4 dogs and 3 crazy rescue cats. When not blogging or selling real estate for Coldwell Banker, she enjoys running, sailing, swimming, cooking...and sipping large cocktails on the beach.
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