Bourbon mousse and caramel s'mores cake

Bourbon Caramel S'mores Layer Cake

Channel summer s'mores memories with this alumna's winning dessert recipe.

For our final virtual market basket challenge, Director of Culinary Research and Development Barry Tonkinson invited students and alumni to make their own ingredient list and share their best original dish without boundaries. Recent grad Kelly Bedford (Pastry, '20) layered chocolate cake, caramel, bourbon mousse, ganache, graham crackers and meringue for a s'mores dessert.

Kelly shares how she developed the dish:

When I saw the market basket challenge was a free for all I just went along with my love for s'mores. I bought a sheet pan extender months ago that I hadn't used yet so I've been looking for an excuse to put it to use. I also wanted to use some techniques I haven't done in months so I went back to my books and played with some of the recipes we did at school. It came out well.

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Bourbon Caramel S'mores Cake

S'mores Cake

Rice Layer


  • 90 grams egg whites
  • 180 grams granulated sugar
  • 225 grams corn syrup
  • 180 grams rice cereal
  • 180 grams graham cracker crumbs
  1. Make wet sand with sugar and corn syrup. Bring to 240 F, and slowly pour into egg whites while whipping to make meringue.
  2. Mix graham cracker crumbs and rice cereal well to make graham rice.
  3. Mix just enough of the meringue with the graham rice to make it all stick together well. Save the remaining meringue at room temperature for decorating.
  4. Using a half sheet and sheet pan extender, press thin layer of rice mixture across the bottom.


  • 210 grams heavy cream
  • 140 grams corn syrup
  • Scraped vanilla bean
  • 115 grams sugar
  • 7 grams unsalted butter


  1. Heat heavy cream, corn syrup and vanilla bean.
  2. Make a medium caramel with sugar, and then deglaze with heavy cream mixture and bring to 245 F.
  3. Stir in butter.
  4. Pour thin layer of caramel on top of the rice layer.
Chocolate Cake


  • 229 grams chocolate chips
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 3 grams espresso powder
  • 230 grams boiling water
  • 150 grams vegetable oil
  • 230 grams sour cream
  • 250 grams eggs
  • 6 grams vanilla extract
  • 270 grams all-purpose flour
  • 220 grams granulated sugar
  • 100 grams brown sugar
  • 10 grams baking powder


  1. Combine first four ingredients in a KitchenAid stand mixer, mix with a paddle attachment until well incorporated and allow to cool.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, brown sugar and baking powder) and set aside.
  3. Combine wet ingredients (oil, cream, eggs and extract) in stand mixer, slowly pour chocolate mixture if still a bit warm. Add dry.
  4. Bake in half sheet pan at 350 F for about 15 minutes, checking with a toothpick or the touch test to determine that the cake is done.
  5. Allow to cool in the pan and then place in freezer to harden so you can flip without breaking.
  6. Once cooled, place cake layer on top of caramel.
Bourbon Mousse


  • 337 grams heavy cream
  • 6.75 sheets gelatin
  • 120 grams egg yolks
  • 90 grams water
  • 45 grams bourbon
  • 45 grams milk powder


  1. Make pate a bombe over a bain and combine bloomed gelatin while still hot.
  2. Whip to ribbon.
  3. Whip heavy cream and fold into pate a bombe, fold in more bourbon, to taste.
  4. Pour on top of cake and allow to set.
  1. Make ganache using the 1:1 ratio with chocolate and cream and allow to cool slightly still keeping it spreadable. I used 53% chocolate chips, brought the cream to a simmer and then poured it over the chocolate and whisked.
  2. Once assembled, allow it to set. Remove sheet pan extender and portion as desired.

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