Welcome to the Summer of S’mores! Or so it has been proclaimed by the media. The assessment is based on new items such as s’mores-crafted mochi ice cream pods; Starbucks Golden S’mores coffee blend with “notes” of marshmallow and graham and an earlier-released S’mores Frappuccino, natch; Dan Whalen’s puffy-jacketed “S’mores!” cookbook (Workman); also, the Hershey’s S’mores Caddy, a plastic case designed for ferrying your marshmallows, your graham cracker packs and your milk chocolate bars; no room for wire hangers, FYI. (I am automatically disqualifying S’mores Oreos, because the brand has lost its soul.)
Which brings us to the S’mores Torte, qualifying in our book as one-bowl baking because its ingredients are brought together in the same pot used to melt butter, its initial ingredient. What I am really saying is this is a s’mores-related thing you will want to make, and eat until it is no more.
Now, “torte” sounds awfully highfalutin. But the term is accurate, because a torte is a kind of cake made with little or no flour, and its texture is denser than your typical cake. Here, the graham crackers are reduced to a fairly fine crumb, stirred into the melted-butter-and-chocolate mix with sugar, egg and the marshmallows, which must be of the mini variety and fresh enough to squish between forefinger and thumb.
As you can imagine, this torte (s’morte?) smells pretty wonderful as it bakes. You must wait until it has cooled to almost room temperature or risk serving portions akin to slightly grainy chocolate spoonbread, which is not a bad way to go, but out of the running, tortewise. We liked how this set and sliced up best after the torte, still in its pan, chilled in the refrigerator — the same method I use with batches of freshly baked brownies.
This seems like a fine thing to do with leftover bits from your campfire cookery, doesn’t it? My colleague Becky Krystal suggested gilding this lily by topping the torte with marshmallow fluff.
Makes 10 to 12 servings
This cake combines the classic combination of marshmallow, graham cracker and melting chocolate into a rich, fudgy treat, making it a perfect vehicle for campfire-ingredient leftovers.
In testing, we found that a springform pan makes for easier cake removal.
Serve with a dollop of marshmallow fluff or slightly sweetened whipped cream.
Make Ahead: The cake is good when it’s barely warm, but we liked it even better when it had been chilled in the refrigerator (and that also makes it easier to slice).
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 Hershey’s milk chocolate bars (1.55 ounces each), broken into pieces
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten
About 8 ounces plain graham crackers, crushed to crumbs (generous 2 cups)
About 3 ounces (1 ½ cups) mini marshmallows
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an eight-inch springform pan or cake layer pan that’s at least 2 inches deep with cooking oil spray. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and then grease the surface of the paper, as well.
2. Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; once it’s half melted, add the chocolate. Cook, stirring until both are fully melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat.
3. Stir in the sugar and vanilla extract, then stir in the beaten eggs until no trace of yolk or whites remains. Add the graham cracker crumbs and marshmallows, stirring until evenly distributed. Scrape into the cake pan, spreading the batter evenly. Bake (middle rack) for 35 minutes, until the edges are browned and set; the center should be puffed and will jiggle a bit.
4. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, during which time the center of the cake will flatten out, then run a round-edged knife around the edges to loosen the cake. Let cool for an additional 15 minutes more before serving or storing.