Hands On Time: 1 hour and 35 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours and 30 minutes
4 honey graham crackers
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 (1/4-ounce) packets unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup cold water for gelatin, plus 1/4 cup for syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
To make the cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick oil spray. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper rounds; spray the parchment with oil spray.
In a food processor, process the graham crackers to form fine crumbs. Transfer 1/2 cup to a medium bowl; discard any extra. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk and vanilla.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugars, butter and oil on medium-high speed until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk mixture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Continue to beat on low speed just until smooth.
Divide the batter equally between the prepared pans and bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then invert the cakes out onto wire racks. Let cool completely, 1 to 2 hours. If desired, use a bread knife to gently shave off the edges of the cooled cakes to imitate the rounded edges of a MoonPie cookie. Place one cooled cake on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.
When the cakes are cooled, make the marshmallow filling: Wash the stand mixer bowl and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Pour the gelatin into the mixer bowl and cover with 1/3 cup of the water.
Pour the remaining 1/4 cup water into a medium saucepan. Pour the sugar into the center of the saucepan, trying not to hit the sides of the saucepan with the sugar. Add the salt. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and let the sugar melt into the water. If necessary, gently swirl the saucepan to help the sugar dissolve. Once all of the sugar has melted, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Continue to boil, without stirring or swirling, until the mixture reaches 238 degrees, 3 to 5 minutes.
With the mixer running on low speed, carefully pour the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture. Be careful not to hit the whisk while you’re pouring in order to avoid splatter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the mixture is opaque, glossy, very thick and the exterior of the bowl is cool, 10 to 15 mintues. Beat in the vanilla until just combined.
Pour all of the marshmallow into the center of the cake layer sitting on the lined baking sheet. Lightly coat an offset spatula with nonstick oil spray, and then use the greased spatula to spread the marshmallow almost (but not quite) to the edge of the cake. Refrigerate until the marshmallow is set, 5 to 10 minutes.
Top the marshmallow with the second cake layer. Refrigerate while making the ganache.
To make the ganache: Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until just starting to simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit until the chocolate has melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Use a spatula to stir together the cream and chocolate until smooth and homogenous.
Pour about half of the ganache over the top of the cake. Use the offset spatula to spread it over the edges so that it drips down over the sides. Spread additional chocolate across the sides of the cake to coat, reserving a few tablespoons of ganache for touch-ups, if needed.
Refrigerate the cake until the ganache has set, at least 30 minutes. Use a small spatula and additional ganache to mold and patch the sides and edges of the cake to imitate the shape of a MoonPie.
Let the cake come to room temperature before serving.
Photo: Ramona King
Recipe: Kate Williams
About the recipe
Love MoonPies but looking for a more dramatic dessert? Love the idea of MoonPies but hate that artificial chocolate flavor? Either way, you’ll love this sky-high homemade twist on the Mardi Gras treat made with graham cracker-filled cake, homemade marshmallow and silky bittersweet chocolate ganache.
You will need a reliable candy or instant-read thermometer, as well as a stand mixer, for this recipe.