That time we did a chocolate chip cookie contest

It’s a question as old as time (well, almost): What makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie?

Some people like them chewy, some like them crispy, some load ‘em up with nuts – and some like to add random ingredients (what?). So in the spirit of science, we held an entire-office chocolate chip cookie bakeoff, complete with cold, palate-cleansing glasses of milk.

Our finest bakers went forth, baked their favorite chocolate chip cookies and brought them in to share. To make sure each baker had a fair shot, the batches of cookies were each assigned a number and displayed anonymously.

Chocolate chip cookie contest SamChocolate chip cookie contest winnerChocolate chip cookie contest Tina

Then came the taste testing! Everyone loaded up their plates, sampled the goods and voted for their top three cookies.

In between bites, we all participated in a simple poll (science!) to see our overall chocolate chip cookie preferences. Turns out, it doesn’t matter if the cookies are thick or thin, as long as they are big and chewy. And the people have spoken: NO NUTS.

As for the final results of the bakeoff…here’s the winning recipe (#9!) submitted by Steph Ward:

Note:  Works best with an automatic mixer so mixer can mix while you pour in ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 sticks butter
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • Vanilla to taste (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon dependent on your like)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 375º F.
  • In bowl, combine milk, eggs and vanilla (wet ingredients).
  • In another bowl, combine baking soda, flour and salt (dry ingredients).
  • Melt butter and pour into mixing bowl.
  • Add both brown and white sugars to mixing bowl.
  • Turn on mixer and start mixing in wet and dry ingredients alternating between both. (Works best by taking half a cup of wet ingredients, half a cup of dry, wet, dry, etc).
  • On ungreased cookie sheet, put cookie dough on sheet in small quarter size.
  • Bake until edges are cooked but center looks wet.


Candy Talk, Episode 21: Movie Theater Candy

Movie theaters and candy: they go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong. Can anyone resist the siren song of the concession stand? Would…anyone ever want to?…

Join the Candy Talk team as we walk through the history of cinema + candy and discover why movie candy is ungodly expensive, confess just how severely we’ve flouted “no outside food” rules in theaters, and take the ultimate popcorn/candy combo taste test.

Just remember to pick up your trash when you’re done.

Psst! Don’t forget to check out the concession ad mentioned in the episode:

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Candy Talk, Episode 6: Peeps

In this episode of Candy Talk, we contemplate what is by far the world’s finest bird-shaped marshmallow confection and the pride of Bethlehem, PA. We conduct a marathon taste test of the dizzying array of Peep variations and line extensions and, if you listen closely, you can actually hear the moment when the sugar coma hits.

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5th annual chili cook-off

It’s one of our favorite work events of the year – our annual chili cook-off. This year we had six worthy contenders, ranging from classic Grandma-style chili to a noteworthy Thai-inspired vegetarian lentil chili.

All six competitors lugged their crock pots into the office that morning with high hopes of victory; the rest of us pitched in by supplying an impressive amount of chili toppings. Stomachs were growling all morning long as delicious smells wafted from the kitchen throughout the office. The struggle is real, folks. #foodmarketingproblems

Chili Cook Off Topping PrepChili Cook Off ToppingsChili Cook Off Serving

By lunchtime, we all bolted into the kitchen for some serious chili sampling. Avocados were chopped. Sour cream was scooped. Cheese was sprinkled. And don’t even get us started on the to-die-for cornbread croutons. Bowls were loaded up and refilled multiple times – proof that we’ve got some talented chili makers in-house!

Every employee voted for their top three chilis, but only one could come out on top. The winner: Tim Souther’s Chipotle Adobo Chili, filled with savory grass-fed ground beef, pinto beans and peppers, with just enough spice to keep things interesting. Try it for yourself!

Chili Cook Off Tim's Winning Chili

Tim’s Award-Winning Grass-Fed Chipotle Adobo Chili

Servings: 10-12
Preparation time: Around 6 hours

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces dried pinto beans
  • 1 (12-ounce) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 sweet white onions, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 ¼ pounds grass-fed ground beef
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans fire-roasted tomatoes

Directions:

  • Quick soak the dried beans.
    • Dump beans into colander. Check for, and remove, any stones or debris. Rinse.
    • Transfer to the saucepan and cover with 2 inches cold water. Bring the water to a boil, cook for 2 minutes. Remove them from heat and cover with lid.
    • Soak for at least 1 hour. Drain.
  • Remove chipotle peppers from adobo sauce and mince them. Save the sauce.
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; sauté onions and red peppers until the onions are soft.
  • Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds or so.
  • Add the minced chipotle peppers and cumin.
  • Add ground beef; brown the meat, leaving the pieces fairly large. Season with a few pinches salt and pepper.
  • Dump in the tomatoes, pinto beans and adobo sauce.
  • Simmer for however long your heart tells you (I let mine go for about 5 hours, then transferred to a crock pot and let it go for another few).

Topping suggestions:

  • Cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Cornbread croutons
  • Green onions

We love our taste tests around here.


The Impossible, Possible

Impossible Meatball Sub

The goal of Impossible Foods is nothing less than saving the planet. Pound for pound, Impossible Burger takes 96% less land, 87% less water, and 89% fewer greenhouse gas emissions to produce. One day, they hope to totally replace animals as a source of food.

A noble goal! But it will only happen if they can make a plant-based product that tastes and feels and cooks the same as meat. Have they? In fact, yes. And we know that because we got a sneak peek at how Impossible Burger can be used in our test kitchen.

Our client, Gelson’s Markets, was the first retail outlet in the nation to sell Impossible Burger to the public. Prior to that, you could only get it at a restaurant or fast food location. When Impossible was deciding on its consumer roll-out strategy, they partnered with Gelson’s as their first-in-the-nation retailer because of the southern California grocery chain’s commitment to offering customers innovative and high-quality products, along with a best-in-class in-store experience.

To help build interest in the brand with their customers, Gelson’s worked with Ingredient to prepare for the launch. Ingredient’s culinary content director Neil Bertucci and team created three recipes: a Bolognese sauce, a meatball sub, and lasagna, as well as grilling up Impossible Burger burgers with the burger sauce we previously created for Gelson’s.

“I was impressed with its ability to sear — in some cases even better than beef. That’s when the real flavor comes out. The texture is very much the same as ground beef,” Bertucci said. “Over the years, I’ve tried using other meat substitutes, but they never captured the texture and flavor that beef has. If you cook Impossible Burger with a hard sear, 9 out of 10 people would not know that it’s not meat.”

With recipes in hand, Ingredient set to work creating and implementing a content strategy for Gelson’s launch. By creating inspirational content — video and photos paired with evocative writing — delivered across digital and social marketing channels, we helped Gelson’s and Impossible realize phenomenal success.

According to the Valdosta Daily Times, Impossible Burger was the #1 SKU in Gelson’s Markets for the first two weeks of its launch.[

“I think it was great that Gelson’s entrusted us to develop recipes in support of the launch,” director of content strategy Emily Tritabaugh said. “Working in partnership with our clients to help them achieve their marketing goals is so satisfying.”

It’s not every day we get to do something so good for the planet and help launch an incredibly successful product.


Finding the perfect flavor: a conversation with Kerry

Wisconsin-based food science company Kerry is a world leader in taste and nutrition for the food and beverage industry. Boasting more than 900 highly skilled food scientists and nutritionists, along with teams of market researchers, they provide innovative flavor and nutrition solutions for a wide range of companies across the globe.

We recently spoke with Lauren Piek, Kerry’s Digital Marketing Specialist, to get a little more insight on what Kerry’s work is all about and how it impacts the food industry.

Q. What does Kerry do? What types of roles on your team contribute to this work?
A. Kerry began as a dairy cooperative in Ireland, committed to producing real and wholesome ingredients. As we’ve grown, we continue to provide solutions that satisfy a fundamental need: to eat, to eat well, and to be healthy. Kerry’s focus on Taste & Nutrition combines our multi-sensory aroma and texture experience with in-depth knowledge of people, life stage and daily nutritional needs. By partnering with Kerry, customers are taken on a journey to make food, beverage and pharma products that people enjoy and feel better about.

Our teams of chefs, baristas, brewers, mixologists, nutritionists and dieticians, food scientists and technologists, biochemists, engineers, regulatory affairs, sensorial science experts, flavorists, consumer insight experts and marketing experts all work together to address customer challenges and deliver solutions that consumers can feel good about.

Q. Tell us more about what you do.
A. Kerry began as a private dairy company in southwest Ireland before becoming a dairy co-operative in 1974. From there, the company has expanded throughout the globe, with the Beloit, Wisconsin location opening in 2009. Beloit is home to Kerry’s North America Technology & Innovation Center, which is the first of its kind for the company, and laid the foundation for other centers around the world, including our Global Center in Naas, Ireland.

There are nearly 700 employees at the Beloit Center – with a number of research and development labs, customer collaboration areas, and a fully equipped technical center with manufacturing equipment that replicates both Kerry’s and our customers’ production environments.

The Beloit Center is also home to Kerry’s Taste & Nutrition Discovery Center (TNDC), which includes an engagement room and discovery center, where Kerry’s teams work together with customers to brainstorm ideas for concepts, and explore the food and beverage industry through consumer insights and current trends in the marketplace. The space includes a 30-foot interactive screen where customers can explore market research and trends, and a kitchen where Kerry’s chefs can create menu offerings, test flavor options and sample concepts with customers.

Q. What are Kerry’s goals?
A. At Kerry, leading to better is at the heart of everything we do – better taste and better nutrition. We want to help our customers nourish and delight consumers around the globe, through innovative solutions and applications. We are also committed to a sustainable future with our ‘Towards 2020’ program, in which we are working on positively improving our environment, marketplace, workplace and community.

Q: Two hot topics in CPG today are clean labels and sweetening agents. Your Sensibly Sweet study addresses both issues. Can you tell us a little more about it?
A. Sensibly Sweet is a comprehensive study on consumer perception of various sweetening agents, preferences and expectations for new clean label products. We surveyed over 760 American consumers in the United States, utilizing a mix of quantitative and qualitative research techniques in an online survey. The result is a unique insight into consumer preferences of types of sweetening agents, intensity of sweetness and impact on the taste and nutrition of the product.

For more information about the study and to see the results, check out Kerry’s Sensibly Sweet white paper here.


The 2nd Annual Great Ingredient Brownie Bake-Off

We had so much fun eating brownies for lunch last year that we decided to do it again! This year, five competitors faced off in one of our favorite office contests, a good old-fashioned brownie bake-off.

Because seriously, anytime you have a work-mandated excuse to eat a plateful of brownies in one sitting…now THAT’S a good day.

But first, a little back story on brownies. The earliest printed recipe for brownies appeared in the Boston Cooking-School Cookbook 1896, created by a woman named Fannie Farmer, who was well known cook and lecturer on food and nutrition. (And yes, the inspiration for the Fanny Farmer chocolate brand years later.)

The first recipe called for molasses instead of chocolate, and the brownies were baked in individual molds. In 1906, the recipe was updated with chocolate swapped in for molasses – and Americans discovered a new favorite dessert!

Fudgy brownies have a minimum amount of flour and no leavening (such as baking powder).

Cakelike brownies are just like they sound – like little cakes. With less butter and more flour than fudgy brownies, along with the addition of baking powder, they bake up softer and lighter.

Chewy brownies are made with extra eggs and a combination of different types of chocolate, creating a nice, chewy texture.

Blondies aren’t made with chocolate at all; instead, they’re butterscotch bars made with brown sugar, butter, and eggs.

Brownie bake-off contestants Brownie bake-off selection

The five brownie recipes in our bakeoff definitely fell in the chewy, fudgy category – and not a blondie in sight! After stuffing our faces with delicious, chocolaty goodness, it all came down to a vote.

Emily's browniesIn third place: Emily’s Glossy Fudge Brownies. Made with three (!!!) sticks of butter, six (!!!) eggs, cocoa, and dark chocolate, these brownies were incredibly rich, dense and chocolaty.

 

Marcie's browniesIn second place: Marcie’s Snickers Brownies. These insanely good brownies had gooey chunks of Snickers candy bars mixed right into the batter.

 

And in first place: Lindsey’s aptly-named Best Ever Brownies, from Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking. Dark, moist, and studded with plenty of chocolate chips, these extra-rich brownies were a chocolate lover’s dream. Check out the recipe and try it for yourself!

Lindsey's brownies

Best Ever Brownies
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (8oz/227g) butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6¼oz/184g) brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8¼oz/244g) white sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (5oz/150g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (4oz/123g) good quality, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cup (9oz/270g) roughly chopped chocolate or large chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), then line a 7×11 inch baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine melted butter, oil and both sugars.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla and salt, then whisk for about one minute until evenly combined and light in color.
  • Over the same bowl sift in the flour and cocoa powder. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until JUST combined (don’t over mix). Fold in half of the chocolate chunks.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then smooth the top. Generously top with the remaining chocolate chunks.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the center of the brownies no longer jiggles and is JUST set to the touch.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before removing from the baking tray and slicing into 16 brownies. Enjoy!

Banana Bread Bake-Off!

According to King Arthur Flour, the most searched-for bread recipe online isn’t white sandwich bread or whole wheat bread – or any bread with yeast in it at all! Nope, the most sought-after bread recipe in America is actually…banana bread!

It all makes sense, of course. Nothing conjures up happy memories quite like the smell of banana bread baking, or the satisfying taste of a warm slice fresh from the oven. For many people, banana bread is a family tradition that’s been passed on for generations.

Banana bread first became popular in the United States in the 1930s. During the Depression era, households were unwilling to throw away anything, even “rotten” bananas.

Around the same time, baking powder and baking soda became widely available for the first time, giving families the ability to bake simple “quick breads” without having to use yeast.

The first widely used banana bread recipe appeared in Pillsbury’s 1933 Balanced Recipes cookbook. Over the years, as more versions of this simple recipe appeared, banana bread exploded in popularity among home cooks.

To say we were excited for an office-wide banana bread bake-off is an understatement. (You know we love a good competition.) The office smelled amazing! The eight competitors brought a wide variety of banana bread recipes to the table. Many were tried-and-true recipes that had been in their families for years, but several people tried brand-new recipes, putting their faith in Google’s ability to beat out Grandma. One person even baked his bread right in our studio kitchen that morning (NO FAIR, warm banana bread advantage!) – prompting everyone else to wrap their breads in foil and pop them in the oven to even up the score.

Banana Bread Tasting PlateBanana Bread Tasting Sheet

What surprised us the most was that no two banana breads were alike. Some had nuts, some had chocolate chips, some were plain. One had a chocolate drizzle. One was under-baked (sorry, Steph).

After some pretty delicious taste-testing, we narrowed it down to three winners….

Kelsey's Aloha Banana BreadIn third place: Kelsey’s Aloha Banana Bread, inspired by her recent trip to Hawaii. It was the most unique bread we tasted, featuring pineapple and macadamia nuts baked right inside.

 

 

 

 

Marcie's Traditional Banana Bread with mini chocolate chipsIn second place: Marcie’s Traditional Banana Bread, which had mini chocolate chips. “Because they don’t sink,” she explained.

 

 

 

 

Jasper's Secret Recipe Banana Bread

And the winner: A surprise entry from Matt, the person we didn’t think knew how to bake. Turns out, he does. His delicious Nutmeg Spiced Banana Bread stole the show. And for the record, it was a grandma recipe. We’d love to share it here, but the recipe is a family secret! Looking for a similar recipe? Ask YOUR grandma! (Or Google. We won’t tell.)

 


Red hot chili cook-off

It’s that time of year again…when we enthusiastically pull out our slow cookers, grab our spoons and gather together in the kitchen for our annual chili cook-off! This year’s competitors included a Queso Chicken Chili, Vegetarian Chili and Spicy Chorizo Butternut Squash Chili.

chili cook-off 2017 allchili cook-off 2017 veggiechili cook-off 2017 tastingchili cook-off 2017 chorizo

We loaded up our bowls with chili and piled on the toppings: cheese, green onions, cilantro, sour cream and avocado. And of course, there were plenty of chips for dipping! As we stuffed our faces sampled the chili, we debated the merits of chips vs. cornbread (both awesome) and had a hearty discussion about which Fritos are better: regular or scoops (scoops, obv).

After we had all enjoyed seconds and thirds, we cast our votes and went back to our desks to take Tums wait for the results.

And the winner was…Kelsey’s Queso Chicken Chili!

This cheesy white chili is packed with chicken, beans and chili peppers for a Mexican twist. It’s flavorful, but not too spicy – chili perfection! Another successful chili cook-off in the books, and another great chili recipe to add to your collection. Try it for yourself and you’ll thank us later.

queso chicken chili

Kelsey’s Queso Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cans Great Northern beans (2 cans mashed, 2 cans whole beans)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chiles
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 8 ounces queso cheese, shredded

 

Directions:

  • In large stock pot cook chicken in butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Remove and let cool. When cooled enough to touch, shred with two forks and set aside.
  • In same pot, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté onion over medium heat until softened. Add poblano peppers and garlic; sauté until onions are browned.
  • Rinse and drain beans. Mash 2 cans of the beans, leave 2 cans whole. (The mashed beans give the chili a wonderful creaminess!)
  • Add beans to the pot, along with the chicken stock and spices; simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.
  • Add shredded chicken, green chiles and lime juice; simmer for 20 more minutes.
  • Add queso and stir until cheese is melted.
  • Top with your favorite fixings!

 

Topping suggestions:

  • Sour cream
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Tortilla strips
  • More shredded queso!

 

 


White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream

Before Ingredient, I didn’t bake. The precision and patience required to complete a bake drives me mad. And then there’s the chance you won’t know something is a disaster until the end. Hard pass. I’ll stick to cooking thankyouverymuch.

Not baking at Ingredient was a non-option. The remedy: I started a pie club with a couple of friends outside of work, and at work, baked through recipes like this and this and this.

My pre-bake routine

  1. Playlist on
  2. Recipe read fully. Twice.
  3. All ingredients prepped exactly as listed, both weight and temperature

My latest adventure in baking was to tackle BraveTart’s (aka. Stella Parks) White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream. *gulp* Three layers. Okay. Homemade frosting. I can do this. Oh, you have to make homemade marshmallows for the frosting first?! *gulp*

The reviews made it worth it…

“It tastes like wedding cake.”

“It’s so light.”

“The frosting is delicious. I was expecting it to be sweeter, but I like that it isn’t.”

“It reminds me of angel’s food cake.”

White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream slice

White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream

Ingredients:

The buttercream

  • 1 packet (2 14 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin powder
  • 14 cup (2 ounces) cool tap water to bloom the gelatin
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract and/or 
1 vanilla bean
  • 34 cup (6 ounces) water for the sugar syrup
  • 34 cup plus 2 tablespoons (10 ounces) light corn syrup
  • 2 cups (14 12 ounces) sugar
  • 12 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (half as much if iodized)
  • 5 sticks (20 ounces) unsalted butter, soft but cool–about 65°F

The cake

  • 4 cups (16 ounces) bleached cake flour such as Swans Down
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, pliable but cool—about 65°F
  • 23 cup (4 ounces) virgin coconut oil, solid but cream–about 70°F
  • 14 cups (16 ounces) sugar
  • 12 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 34 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (half as much if iodized)
  • 1 cup (8 12 ounces) egg whites (from 8 large eggs), brought to about 70°F
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) cultured low-fat buttermilk, brought to about 70°F

Directions:

  • To better synchronize the downtime in both recipes, start the Marshmallow Buttercream before the cake. First, make the marshmallow base: In a small bowl, mix the gelatin with 2 ounces (14 cup) cool tap water and vanilla extract, if using. If using a vanilla bean, split lengthwise with a paring knife, run the flat of the blade down each half to scrape out the seeds, and add to the gelatin without stirring. (Reserve the pod for another project.)
  • Combine remaining 6 ounces (34 cup) water, corn syrup, sugar, and salt in a 3-quart stainless steel pot and set over medium heat. Stir mixture with a fork until bubbling, about 5 minutes, then increase heat to medium-high. Clip on a digital thermometer and cook, without stirring, until the clear syrup registers 250°F, about 8 minutes.
  • Transfer thermometer to the bowl of a stand mixer and pour in the hot syrup all at once, scraping the pot with a heat-resistant spatula. Cool to exactly 212°F, about 8 minutes, then add gelatin. With the whisk attachment, mix on low speed until the gelatin is melted, then increase to medium-high and whip until thick, snowy white, roughly tripled in volume, and beginning to ball up around the whisk, about 10 minutes. Scrape into a greased 4-cup container, cover tightly, and let stand at cool room temperature until thick and firm, at least 2 hours, or up to 1 week.
  • While the marshmallow cream is resting, start the cake: Adjust an oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 325°F. Line three 8-by-3-inch anodized aluminum cake pans with parchment and grease with pan spray; if you don’t have three pans, the remaining batter can be held at room temperature for up to 3 hours. (The cakes will brown more and rise less in 2-inch pans.) Sift the flour (if using cup measures, spoon into the cups and level with a knife before sifting) and set aside. Combine butter, coconut oil, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to moisten, then increase to medium and cream until fluffy and light, about 5 minutes, pausing to scrape the bowl and beater halfway through. With the mixer running, add the egg whites one at a time, followed by vanilla and almond extracts.Reduce speed to low and sprinkle in one-third of the flour, followed by one-third of the buttermilk. Alternate between the two, allowing each addition to be roughly incorporated before adding the next. Once smooth, fold with a flexible spatula to ensure it’s well mixed from the bottom up. Divide among the prepared cake pans, about 22 ounces each.
  • Bake until the cakes are firm but pale, browned only around the very edges, about 40 minutes (or 210°F). A toothpick inserted into the center will emerge with a few crumbs still attached, and your fingertip will leave a slight indentation in the puffy crust. Cool until no trace of warmth remains, about 90 minutes.
  • While the cakes are cooling, finish the buttercream. Transfer marshmallow base to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whipping on medium speed, begin adding the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting for about 5 seconds after each addition. The fluffy creme will cling to the whisk at first but loosen as the butter is incorporated. Once combined, scrape the bowl with a flexible spatula and whip a minute more. The buttercream should be light and creamy but thick enough to hang upside down from a spoon. If it seems stiff or dense (feeling greasy rather than melting on your tongue), scoop a cup into a small bowl and microwave until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Return the melted buttercream to the bowl and whip 15 seconds on medium-high. Conversely, if it seems loose or gooey, refrigerate the entire bowl 15 minutes, then whip 3 minutes on medium-high.
  • Loosen the cakes from their pans with a knife. Invert onto a wire rack, peel off the parchment, and reinvert. Crumb-coat and frost with Marshmallow Buttercream. Serve immediately or store under a cake dome or an inverted pot; the frosted cake will keep for up to 24 hours at room temperature. After cutting, wrap leftover slices individually and store at room temperature for up to 2 days more.