Technically, summer is almost over, but the heat is here to stay, at least for a while. That means more splashing around the water, movies in the backyard, dinners outside on the back patio and campfires. Campfires set the stage for happy memories. Some of the best ones are at the beach with friends gathered around a roaring fire, listening to the sound of the waves crashing, sharing stories under the moonlight. Even when a trip to the seaside is not on the calendar, there is always plenty of reason to celebrate with a cake, especially one with a touch of whimsy. Vanilla sponge cake, mocha whipped cream, cookie “logs,” candy “flames,” chocolate pebbles,” butter + graham cracker “sand” are the makings of the cutest Campfire Cake.
Those were my rockstar days. I have settled down quite a bit since then, but still know how to get cahrazy, as in baking this cake. Every step is fun. There is so much to do. My little sweetheart was happy to help and she makes everything more special. We sure made a loud racket, bashing the candies to a powder against the kitchen countertops! It was FUN (and cheap therapy). This is how the “flames” for the campfire are made.
The candy is crushed, then the powder is sprinkled onto a piece of foil and sent to melt in the oven. It morphs into a bubbly goo in no time. Daisy loved watching the candy magic happen.
The hardest part is making the cake. Boxed cake mix works well. You could just grab your keys, zoom to the market and just buy a ready-made sponge cake. I like to make mine from scratch using my favourite sponge cake recipe. Daisy loves to help me and the result is always a winner. Do whatever works best for you.
10 each Jolly Ranchers hard candies – red, yellow, blue
2 Tb cocoa powder
Remove from oven and let the candy cool completely til solid, about 15 minutes.
Break into shards and set aside.
Toast pecans in a dry nonstick pan for about 5 minutes.
Set aside to cool.
Pour heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
Add coffee, powdered sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.
Whip until fluffy.
Slice each of the 2 cakes into half horizontally to create 4 layers.
Frost with whipped cream in between the layers and around the cake.
Place Piroline cookie “logs” on top, with their tips connecting in the middle
of the cake.
Insert a few shards of candy “flames” in between those tips in the center.
Decorate with candy rocks around the sides of the cake.
Sprinkle crushed graham cracker “sand” around the cake and on top.
Break pecans over the top.
Insert a few chocolate mushrooms here and there.
Sprinkle with cocoa.
Chill until ready to serve.
This mocha-sponge Campfire Cake has it all – looks, class and good taste. Even after summer is long gone, you will look for an excuse to bake it and find everyone rushing to gather around the fire.