Granny Pete's Chocolate Espresso Cake With Marshmallow Frosting | Recipe via DisplacedHoueswife Rebecca Firth

Granny Pete’s Chocolate Cake With Marshmallow Frosting

I am soo happy to finally share Granny Pete’s Chocolate Cake With Marshmallow Frosting!!! First, it’s an easy, fabulous, delicious, celebration cake that reminds me a bit of a classier Ding Dong (which I was mildly addicted to as a kid). But most importantly, because I created this cake in honor of my sweet grandmother, aka Granny Pete, who passed away about a month ago. 

Granny Pete was the classiest of the classiest ladies. For as long as I can remember she wore her hair short (mostly in a bob) with cute, short bangs. She was always perfectly put together. Blue was one of her favorite colors; usually something pastel-y and spring-like. She favored suits and if they weren’t powdered blue, they were a soft, dusty rose. 

She loved chocolate…so much…and anything sweet for that matter. If my sister and I were at her house and said we liked the way the sugar cubes tasted (duh), she would set an entire bowl in front of us to eat while we chatted with her. 

One warm, summer evening we were eating outside when my grandfather (Papa) sprayed for mosquitos and in turn, the bug spray went everywhere. All over the food, the chairs, the table. Granny Pete said, ‘Well, Lee, now we have to go Thrifty’s for ice cream’ and that was that. That was dinner.

When we were kids my sister and I begged her to a cartwheel and she did it. She looked just as stunned and amazed as we were that she did. She probably shouldn’t have done the cartwheel but she did because we asked her to. She was like that with everything. 

I seriously can’t think of one moment where she raised her voice or got angry with me. Not once. 

When I was in elementary school and went through the phase where you would pull at the sides of your mouth and stick out your tongue or push your nose up so it looks like a pig’s snout she would casually say: ‘You better be careful, it might stick.’ She only had to say it a couple of times and then I would lay in bed at night worried my nose was going to grow into a pig’s snout. 

Every holiday from Christmas to Easter to the Fourth of July was celebrated with a little box of See’s Candy (one box per grandchild) and when I was older you couldn’t escape her house without her slipping a $50 in much the same way that Sharon Stone passes tips and bribes in Casino. At her celebration of life I said the only thing that would have made it better (besides her being there) was if I could have slipped everyone a $50 at some point in the day.

The older I got, the more she would end each gathering with, ‘You made my day’. She battled dementia for almost a decade…maybe a full decade…but she never failed to end each visit by telling you that you made her day. She was grace and sunshine and class and all that was good in the world. 

I often think I have her to thank for this blog. In her last decade she couldn’t remember any of the things she used to make. I may have mentioned it before but she made THE BEST Beef Vegetable Soup and when I would ask her about the recipe or what went in it she would say, ‘I used to make beef vegetable soup?’ My mom is fastidious about writing down her recipes because of this and my kids will have this blog when they go out into the world. So people, write down your recipes!!!! That’s my tip of the day.

I added a photo below of Granny Pete, me and my mom (scroll down!) — it’s the last photo of us together from Christmas several years back. Love this photo!!

I hope you will think about Granny Pete when you bake this cake. Maybe say a little toast in her honor. You would make her day. xo

Before We Get Started

  • BAKING VESSEL. I use this baking dish (it’s a 9 x 13-inch pan (23 x 33–cm)) for this cake; I absolutely love the way cakes bake up in these heavy, ceramic dishes. Take note that if you use a thinner-walled baking dish of a different material (such as aluminum), your cake will bake up quicker. Additionally, going up or down in the size of your pan will also affect the bake time as well.
  • NO ESPRESSO PLEASE. If it’s because you don’t want any caffeine, you can use decaf if need be. Additionally, you can sub in some strong, fresh-brewed coffee. If you really just don’t want coffee in the cake, you can replace the coffee with milk or water or even a dark, stout beer. All of this said, I don’t believe this tastes like a cup of coffee, the coffee just enhances the chocolate flavor. Be sure to omit the finely ground espresso and espresso soak if you’re going the no-coffee route.
  • UNCOOKED EGG WHITES. I don’t fuss or worry too much about the eggs whites in the marshmallow frosting. We do heat and whisk them until the sugar dissolves, but I’m not one to bust out the thermometer to check the temp. If this concerns you, raise the temp of the egg white mixture to 160 F (71 C). At this temperature all of the sugar crystals should have dissolved and any harmful bacteria killed. If you bring the temperature that high, make sure to set the mixture in the fridge for about 10-20 minutes to cool a bit before proceeding. 
  • ROOM TEMPERATURE INGREDIENTS. Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before making the cake. Set out your butter, sour cream, milk and eggs as soon as you decide to make it. To expedite, cut your butter up into 18 pieces, set the eggs in warm water and measure out your milk and sour cream.
  • UNSWEETENED COCOA. I favor a rich, dark Dutch-processed cocoa. I highly recommend you get this type of cocoa and promise you will fall in love with its rich color and flavor. However, the recipe is constructed in such a way that regular unsweetened dark cocoa will work perfectly. So don’t fret.
  • FINELY GROUND ESPRESSO. I love me some Nespresso pods for baking. The finely ground espresso is perfect to add directly to cakes and cookies. I’ve also used Keurig pods, they work fab as well. 
  • ESPRESSO SOAK. We create a simple concoction of fresh-brewed espresso + granulated sugar and then we coat the cake in it. This punches up flavor and keeps the cake nice and moist. Feel free to omit if you’re cutting back on the espresso or just can’t be bothered. 
  • MARSHMALLOW FROSTING. I prefer this made the same day that I’m serving the cake. HOWEVER, if made properly it will be good the next day. Let your conscience be your guide. Additionally, I always like to credit Jessie Sheehan for opening my eyes to the wonder of marshmallow frosting. This was inspired by her recipe for Strawberry Marshmallow Frosting.
  • SPRINKLES. The sprinkles in the photos are a combination of Sweetapolita sprinkles and Williams-Sonoma. Get frisky.
  • MORE. If these flavors spark joy, consider making these gems: Jessie’s Birthday Cake With Strawberry Marshmallow Frosting (mentioned above); Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies; Chocolate Espresso Muffins; Chocolatey Chocolate Espresso Cake and these Caramel Mocha Dirty Chai Cupcakes.

Let’s bake Granny Pete’s delicious Chocolate Cake With Marshmallow Frosting, shall we?

Granny Pete's Chocolate Cake With Marshmallow Frosting

Granny Pete's Chocolate Cake With Marshmallow FrostingGranny Pete's Chocolate Espresso Cake With Marshmallow Frosting

Granny Pete's Chocolate Cake With Marshmallow Frosting

Granny Pete's Chocolate Cake With Marshmallow Frosting

Granny Pete’s Chocolate Cake With Marshmallow Frosting

Makes One 9×13 Single-Layer Cake

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake

  • 16 tablespoons (226 g/8 oz/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
  • 2 cups (384 g) granulated sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons finely ground espresso (not instant) or coffee (see note above)
  • ½ cup (118 ml) milk, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (160 g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (272 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (84 g) unsweetened dark Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup (118 ml) hot, fresh-brewed espresso or strong coffee

Espresso Soak

  • ½ cup (96 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) fresh brewed espresso or strong coffee

Marshmallow Frosting

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (144 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Garnish

  • Sprinkles! (optional :))

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (177C) and place a rack in the center of the oven.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, sugar and finely ground espresso and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. With the mixer on low, stream in the milk. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well blended. Add in the sour cream and mix for 1 minute more until light, fluffy and fabulous. With the mixer on low, add in the eggs, one at a time, making sure that each is well blended before adding in the next. Add in the vanilla and run the machine for 30 seconds more. Take the bowl out of the mixer.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk to blend completely. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture in three batches, mixing each until almost (but not quite) blended. Finally, pour in the hot espresso and stir. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well blended. Stir the batter enough that everything is combined but being cautious not to mix too much as we don’t want a tough cake. Set aside.
  4. Grease your 9 x 13 baking dish (23 x 33–cm) and line with parchment paper, taking care that it lays flat against the dish and letting the excess hang over the sides of the pan (you’ll use these to pull the cake out of the pan). Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Tap on the counter several times to settle the cake batter and release any trapped bubbles. Use a spatula to smooth and even out the top of the cake batter. Bake in the center of the oven for about 40-43 minutes. Use a toothpick or cake tester to test for doneness. Some moisture and crumbs are fine, but if it’s coated in cake batter, bake it for several minutes more. Another way to test for doneness: press the center part of the cake gently and it should spring back when your finger lifts.
  5. To prepare the Espresso Soak, combine the sugar and fresh brewed espresso in a small saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool a bit.
  6. Let the cake sit for 10 minutes and then brush the Espresso Soak over the top of the cake. If you don’t have a pastry brush, then just slowly pour it all over the top giving it time to absorb into the cake. After another 20 minutes use the parchment overhand to lift the cake out of the baking dish and finish cooling completely on a cooling rack. 
  7. For the Marshmallow Frosting, add the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar, and salt in the clean bowl of an electric stand mixer and nestle it in a saucepan of simmering water over medium-high heat. Do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Whisk until the mixture is opaque, frothy, the sugar is melted (rub some between two fingers, if it feels gritty, keep whisking) and warm to the touch. Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer it to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff and glossy and cool to the touch, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the vanilla and run the machine for 30 seconds more or until combined. Smear over the top of the cooled cake. Sprinkle with sprinkles if you’re feeling it.
  8. Thank you so much for making Granny Pete’s Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting! Please tag me on social @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see your gorgeous cakes. Happy baking!! xo

SITE UPDATES

  • PRINTABLE RECIPES. This recipe and many more on the site no longer have printable recipes. I am looking for a new way to do this. Hang tight…it should be back within the month!
  • COMING SOON. Recipes for Everyday Banana Bread, a remake of this Brown Butter Muscovado Banana Bread and the VERY BEST Blueberry Muffins are coming up next. You will die. So good.

Happy baking friends! 

xo

5.0 from 1 reviews
Granny Pete's Chocolate Cake With Marshmallow Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Celebration Cake
Cuisine: Dessert
Serves: One 8x13 Cake
 
This easy peasy cake is basically a classed-up, giant Ding Dong. Enjoy!! xo
Ingredients
  • For the Cake
  • 16 tablespoons (226 g/8 oz/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
  • 2 cups (384 g) granulated sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons finely ground espresso (not instant) or coffee (see note above)
  • ½ cup (118 ml) milk, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup (160 g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (272 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (84 g) unsweetened dark Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup (118 ml) hot, fresh-brewed espresso or strong coffee
  • Espresso Soak
  • ½ cup (96 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) fresh brewed espresso or strong coffee
  • Marshmallow Frosting
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ¾ cup (144 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • Garnish
  • Sprinkles! (optional :))
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (177C) and place a rack in the center of the oven.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, sugar and finely ground espresso and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. With the mixer on low, stream in the milk. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well blended. Add in the sour cream and mix for 1 minute more until light, fluffy and fabulous. With the mixer on low, add in the eggs, one at a time, making sure that each is well blended before adding in the next. Add in the vanilla and run the machine for 30 seconds more. Take the bowl out of the mixer.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk to blend completely. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture in three batches, mixing each until almost (but not quite) blended. Finally, pour in the hot espresso and stir. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well blended. Stir the batter enough that everything is combined but being cautious not to mix too much as we don't want a tough cake. Set aside.
  4. Grease your 9 x 13 baking dish (23 x 33–cm) and line with parchment paper, taking care that it lays flat against the dish and letting the excess hang over the sides of the pan (you'll use these to pull the cake out of the pan). Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Tap on the counter several times to settle the cake batter and release any trapped bubbles. Use a spatula to smooth and even out the top of the cake batter. Bake in the center of the oven for about 40-43 minutes. Use a toothpick or cake tester to test for doneness. Some moisture and crumbs are fine, but if it's coated in cake batter, bake it for several minutes more. Another way to test for doneness: press the center part of the cake gently and it should spring back when your finger lifts.
  5. To prepare the Espresso Soak, combine the sugar and fresh brewed espresso in a small saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool a bit.
  6. Let the cake sit for 10 minutes and then brush the Espresso Soak over the top of the cake. If you don’t have a pastry brush, then just slowly pour it all over the top giving it time to absorb into the cake. After another 20 minutes use the parchment overhand to lift the cake out of the baking dish and finish cooling completely on a cooling rack.
  7. For the Marshmallow Frosting, add the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar, and salt in the clean bowl of an electric stand mixer and nestle it in a saucepan of simmering water over medium-high heat. Do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Whisk until the mixture is opaque, frothy, the sugar is melted (rub some between two fingers, if it feels gritty, keep whisking) and warm to the touch. Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer it to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff and glossy and cool to the touch, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the vanilla and run the machine for 30 seconds more or until combined. Smear over the top of the cooled cake. Sprinkle with sprinkles if you're feeling it.
  8. Thank you so much for making Granny Pete's Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting! Please tag me on social @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see your gorgeous cakes. Happy baking!! xo

 

 

 

14 Comments

  • Melissa 2020/04/13 at 2:50 AM

    We made this cake for Easter at the request of my daughter who loves anything marshmallow. It was very good! My son got the torch out and gave a nice toast to the frosting–boys and fire ;). Norah gives it 5 stars. We all enjoyed!

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth 2020/04/13 at 4:10 PM

      Hi Melissa!!! This makes me so happy to hear — so glad you all liked it!!! I hope you all are doing good — miss you!!! xoxo

      Reply
  • Daryl Sztuka 2020/04/06 at 12:05 AM

    Hi there! Made this recipe for my husband’s birthday and it came out AMAZING. How do you recommend storing the leftovers? Fridge? Covered on the counter?

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth 2020/04/06 at 1:35 AM

      Hi Daryl!! Since the marshmallow meringue is made with raw egg, I would store it in the fridge (wrapped air tight). I’m so glad you guys liked it!! Happy Birthday to your husband!!! xoxo

      Reply
  • Susan 2020/03/24 at 4:17 PM

    I love the story of your grandmother and all the stories that come with your recipes!! Any chance you can post a picture of Granny Pete? My daughter sent me your post so that I can make this cake for her birthday April 7th, she’ll be 19!

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth 2020/03/24 at 8:07 PM

      Hi Susan! Thanks for the suggestion of posting a photo of Granny Pete — I don’t know why I didn’t think of that sooner. My niece’s birthday is April 10th and I’m going to make her a virtual cake. Please wish your daughter the happiest of birthdays from me!!! xoxox

      Reply
  • Julie 2020/03/19 at 4:15 AM

    I loved your tribute to your grandmother. It makes me want to bake this one! Maybe I’ll try doing a cartwheel while it bakes. Love to you all. Stay safe!

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth 2020/03/19 at 7:49 PM

      This made me so happy when I read this!! And cracked me up!! I hope you do make it — send me a pic!! And I hope you are all doing good!! Lots of love to you!! xoxo

      Reply
  • Renea Cobb 2020/03/08 at 7:40 PM

    Love the story and I can’t wait to make this cake in Granny’s honor!

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth 2020/03/08 at 8:17 PM

      Hi Renea!!! Thank you so much—this would make Granny Pete so happy!!!! Much love to you!! xox

      Reply
  • Coco 2020/03/08 at 1:32 AM

    Loved all your stories! Granny Pete sounds like a ray of sunshine. I cant wait to try this! xx

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth 2020/03/08 at 1:39 AM

      Thanks Coco — she was! And I hope you love this cake! xo

      Reply
    • Wendy Southworth 2020/03/11 at 8:59 PM

      What a lovely story! What wonderful memories she blessed you with.

      In the frosting recipe, would you be able to suggest an alternative to the corn syrup? I’ve never found it in South Africa.

      Thanks so much!

      Reply
      • Rebecca Firth 2020/03/12 at 5:08 PM

        Hi Wendy! Hmmmm…what would you use to make marshmallows? I haven’t tested it with anything else, but I did read online how you can sub in a simple syrup (perhaps heavier on the sugar than the water)…and that sounds like it would perhaps work. Otherwise, I would omit it. It does lend that marshmallow feel, but I believe it would just turn out more meringue-like. Let me know how it goes for you. xoxo

        Reply

Leave a Comment

Rate this recipe: