Several years ago, when I realized that many of my kids had allergies, I decided that I'd work more diligently on my cooking and baking. I wanted to be a better cook, wanted to enjoy my food more and be proud of it - and I like things to taste the way I like them. Bolognese should taste this way to me, a steak should look like that, and a cake should be pretty AND delicious.
It worked. I'm a really pretty good cook - man, trying to be humble and modest is hard. What I mean to say is that I'm asked to bring food to places, I'm asked to contribute to meals and events - and people seem to be happy when I share food with them.
And sometimes people ask me to make cakes for them - or I offer.
Such was this week. A very good friend and a wonderful lady is celebrating a birthday, and she invited me to her party. I offered to make a cake, and coincidentally, she had shared a recipe for a cake that she was really wanting - so I decided to make her this Smore's Cake.
Cake went great. The instructions were clear and precise and easy to follow, although it was somewhat time consuming.
I did the graham cracker layer, mixed the batter, and baked the cake. I decided that the third layer, the rounded layer, hadn't risen evenly and so while it was cooling, I made another set of graham layers and cake batter. I had six layers total, and made two cakes - one for her, and one for us. I made the ganache, let it cool, and started the marshmallow layer and assembled.
(Ignore the meringue powder - it's not in the recipe but I was using the container to hold down the parchment)
Making Marshmallow is FUN and messy. And yummy - and did I say messy? And so PRETTY.
I assembled both cakes without too much difficulty, until I came to the last step - browning the marshmallow. I don't own a kitchen torch, but I knew I had both long fireplace matches - somewhere - and a handheld fire starter - you know, the wand that you click to start a flame? (Yes, I'm so sciencey and technical.) Slight problem - the long matches were nowhere to be found, and the click wand thing sputtered out after two minutes.
Self, this is no problem at all, I said. Just grab a lighter and use that!
Except that the lighter would overheat and my thumbs would feel as if they were the objects on fire after about fifteen seconds.
I could stick it under the broiler - no, the ganache would melt off the sides of the cake.
Let's try lighting a piece of spaghetti! That might work!
That will work if you want ash on your marshmallow, which I emphatically did NOT. Back to the lighter.
FORTY-FIVE MINUTES LATER -
I had browned approximately 1/28th of the cake. And I had no more thumb prints, because I'd burned them all off, so if you need a crime committed, I'm your gal.
Finally a friend took pity on me, being that I'd whined about it on my Facebook, and she offered up a kitchen torch.
Which took roughly one minute to make the cake look like this.
The cake itself is delicious and I would totally recommend that you make it for yourself or your friend or because you like marshmallow.
But do yourself a favor and beg, buy or borrow a kitchen torch from the start. It's easier on everyone.