On Monday, I turned thirty.
This is a milestone year for me in so many ways. A thirtieth birthday. Our first wedding anniversary. Our first baby. Life feels so full of excitement and possibility and reason to celebrate these days. I am so, so thankful. Last year, life was much different.
Stress. Planning a wedding.
Fear. My mom was so sick.
Grief. We said goodbye to my Grandma.
Most days last year were full of uncertainty and stormy weather and there seemed to be no way to right the ship. These days the load feels lighter. There is breathing room and sunshine feels plentiful. I know challenging times will come and go. I know this wonderful season of life will pass, too. But certainly there has been enough hard to enjoy the wonderful and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I am so ready for my thirtieth year and all that it has to offer.
But enough mushy stuff. You came for the cake, didn’t you?
I’ve wanted to make Momofuku’s Chocolate Chip Cake forever and really wanted to work that into my birthday creation. They layer theirs with homemade passion fruit curd, chocolate crumbs and coffee buttercream. As much as I’d love to try it, we aren’t exactly swimming in high quality passion fruit around these parts and I didn’t think that my guests would appreciate such a combination anyway. So, s’mores, AKA my favourite.
This cake took me half a day to make and I still have toasted marshmallow crusted INSIDE my stand mixer but I was really happy with how everything turned out. The chocolate chip cake reminded me of a boxed white cake (in a good way) and that buttercream, although incredibly messy, is my new favourite.
I know it looks like a lot of “stuff” but if you have an epic celebration coming up, I highly recommend this baby.
Chocolate Chip Cake
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 light brown sugar, tightly packed
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper circles. Set aside.
Combine butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Cream together on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high again for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
On low speed, stream in buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Continue mixing for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogeneous. Be patient and don’t rush the process! Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Once the mixture is completely mixed, continue mixing at low speed and add cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Do not over mix. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl — if you see any lumps of cake flour in there, mix for another 45 seconds.
Using a rubber spatula, transfer the cake batter to the prepared pans. Give the bottom of your pans a tap on the counter top to even out the layer. Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips evenly over the cake batter layers.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. The cakes will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain buttery and dense. At 25 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the centre should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cakes in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.
Take the cakes out of the oven and cool on a wire cooling rack.
Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp. heavy cream
- 6 cups mini marshmallows
Beat butter in your stand mixer until smooth. Add in powdered sugar slowly and then the cream and continue mixing until smooth.
Turn oven onto broil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread marshmallows out in an even layer. Place under broiler for about 45 seconds until they are browned and puffed. Watch closely because they will burn very quickly.
Immediately scrape the marshmallows into the butter mixture and beat until smooth and fluffy.
The frosting will be warm due to the marshmallows, so allow it to cool a bit before spreading.
Milk Chocolate Ganache
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
Put chocolate chips in a small bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the cream just starts to boil, pour it over the chocolate chips. Let it sit for two minutes and then start whisking slowly from the centre out, whisking continually until totally smooth and blended. Cool slightly before assembling cake.
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Stir milk and vanilla together and refrigerate if not using right away.
- ½ prepared graham crust, coarsely crumbled
- Milk chocolate chips or chunks for garnish
Lay one cooled cake layer down on a plate and brush it with half of the vanilla milk, then spread the cake layer with half of the marshmallow buttercream. Press half of the graham crust crumbles into the buttercream. Drizzle with half of the milk chocolate ganache.
Lay down the second cake layer, brush it with the other half of the vanilla milk and spread it with the other half of the marshmallow buttercream. Drizzle this with the remaining milk chocolate ganache and pile the remaining graham crust crumbles artfully on top. Sprinkle the top of the cake with milk chocolate chips.
Cover cake and freeze overnight. Make sure to thaw the cake fully before serving.
I made Momofuku’s graham crust, baked it for 10ish minutes and used half of it in my cake but any recipe will work. I personally found this one high maintenance because it needs powdered milk, which I never have on hand. Feel free to make a half batch if you don’t want extra.
This cake was even better on day two after being thawed. Make ahead if you can for the flavours to really mesh.
The marshmallow buttercream is CRAZY messy. Spray your parchment and stand mixer paddle with non-stick spray if you can.