Rocky Road Cake

We’re in the midst of the final heat waves of summer, and my ice cream consumption is at an all-time high.

I’ve been trying to branch out when it comes to ice cream flavors, but I almost always end up with Oreo or chocolate chip cookie dough.

One flavor that always catches my eye is rocky road. Rocky road ice cream is one of those flavors you’re either crazy about, or not a fan.

It is traditionally made with chocolate ice cream, bits of marshmallow and crushed nuts marbled throughout each scoop.

finished rocky road chocolate cake with chocolate drip

I’m not the biggest fan of nuts, so this flavor never seemed that appealing. However, I am a big fan of chocolate and marshmallows.

I finally decided to give rocky road a chance, and I’m so happy I did. It is the inspiration for both the decoration and the filling of this cake!

Chocolate Cake Layers

Like I mentioned above, rocky road has a chocolate ice cream base. Chocolate is the main flavor, so I decided to follow suit. This cake is made with fluffy, chocolate cake layers.

I chose to use my go to chocolate layer cake recipe. It’s a wonderful hybrid between a sponge cake and a butter cake.

stacked chocolate cake layers filled with marshmallow buttercream, chocolate ganache, mini marshmallows, and chopped walnuts

This means it has a great crumb, and you don’t need to soak the layers in simple syrup. It’s already moist enough on its own!

I also like this chocolate cake recipe because it has great structure. It stacks well, and keeps it shape.

Rocky Road Cake Filling

The filling of this cake is really where the rocky road flavor shines. I chose to fill and frost this cake with a marshmallow buttercream.

The base frosting is my American buttercream recipe, plus some marshmallow fluff!

It sounds weird, but it gives the frosting that delicious marshmallow flavor without changing the consistency of the frosting.

slice of rocky road cake

I added a generous drizzle of chocolate ganache on top of each layer of frosting. I topped the ganache with a sprinkle of chopped walnuts and loads of mini marshmallows.

This cake has a lot going on between each layer, so I added a tiny bit of frosting on top of the mini marshmallows.

This helps the next cake layer stick in place once it’s added, and gives the cake a bit more stability.

It also ensures there are big pockets of air stick between the cake layers, which can hide between the mini marshmallows.

Rocky Road Cake Decoration

Once I figured out how to incorporate the rocky road flavor through the cake, I went to work dreaming up the decoration of this cake.

I wanted this cake to have serious ice cream vibes, and believe the end design gets that point across.

This cake is decorated with a chocolate drip, using the same ganache that’s in the cake filling.

Rocky road cake with slice

Chocolate drips always add so much flare to a cake. They take a bit of practice, but with a couple tips it’s an easy look to master!

I associate chocolate drizzles with ice cream sundaes, so chocolate drips felt very on theme for this cake.

I topped the cake with scoops of a mock rocky road ice cream, which I made with buttercream!

This is definitely my favorite part of the cake. I placed 2 cups of frosting in a small bowl, and added in some melted chocolate, mini marshmallows, and chopped walnuts.

With a small cookie scoop, I carefully placed scoops of this rocky road buttercream onto a parchment lined baking tray. I froze these for about 20 minutes.

close up of rocky road ice cream buttercream scoops

Once the buttercream scoops were firm to the touch, I carefully added them to the top of the cake.

Each little scoop is topped with more chocolate ganache, chopped nuts, and a cherry!

The cherries add a nice pop of color, and break up all the white and brown. You could also add some sprinkles if you don’t have maraschino cherries on hand.  

I think anything you top ice cream with is acceptable: p

chelsey white with rocky road cake

Let Me Know What You Think!

Nothing makes me happier than when I get emails or DMs with photos of your amazing creations. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your triumphs, or questions <3

If you try this Rocky Road Cake recipe, please tag me @chelsweets. Also use the #chelsweets so that I can see what your baking!

Massive cake slice, staged with cake fillings
Yield: 24 servings

Rocky Road Cake

Rocky Road Cake

If you love rocky road ice cream, this is the cake for you! It incorporates all the chocolate, marshmallow, and nutty goodness into a layer cake!!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (360 grams)
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar (500 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (6 grams)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (6 grams)
  • 4 large eggs, room temp (224 grams)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp (2 sticks, 226 grams)
  • 1 cup hot water (237 grams)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temp (240 grams)
  • 1 cup black cocoa (100 grams)

Chocolate Drip

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (77 grams)
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (88 grams)

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (565 grams)
  • 10 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar (1250 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (12 grams)
  • 3/4 cup marshmallow fluff

Rocky Road Ice Cream Scoops

  • 2 cups marshmallow buttercream (recipe above)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate, melted and cooled (175 grams)
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • maraschino cherries (garnish)

Instructions

Chocolate Cake Layers

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line four seven-inch or three eight 8-inch pans with parchment rounds, and spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Add the sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix on high for 1 minute with a whisk attachment. The mixture should become light in color.
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Then add baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on high for another minute.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the cup of hot water, and cup of buttermilk. Pour in the cup of black cocoa, and whisk until no clumps remain.
  5. Next, add 1 cup of flour into the butter/egg mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, to ensure the flour is fully incorporated.
  6. Pour in half of the buttermilk/cocoa mixture, and gently pulse the mixture to incorporate the liquid (if you don't, you'll end up splattering the cocoa mixture all over you kitchen!)
  7. Mix in the 2nd cup of flour, at a low speed. Pour in the remaining buttermilk/cocoa mixture, and again gently pulse, then mix on low until fully combined.
  8. Add in the last cup of flour, and mix on low until the flour is incorporated.
  9. Evenly divide between the prepared pans. I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure each pan has exactly the same amount of batter.
  10. Bake for 32 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Allow layers to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around the edge of the pans to help separate the layers from the pans.
  12. Place the pans in the freezer for about 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers from the pans.
  13. Use a serrated knife to level the tops of the layers.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Place the milk chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, and set aside.
  2. Heat heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until gently bubbling.
  3. If you don’t have a microwave or prefer to use the stove top, you can heat the cream over a medium heat in a pan until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat.
  4. Gently pour the heavy cream over the chocolate chips, making sure they are covered with cream. Allow mixture to sit for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Stir slowly until the cream and chocolate are fully combined, and ganache is silky smooth. Pour into a plastic squirt bottles for easy application. If you don’t have any plastic bottles on hand, you can also use a spoon to drizzle it over cakes.
  6. Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes (or place in fridge for about 10 minutes), until the mixture is just slightly warm to the touch.
  7. Complete a test drip, to check the consistency of you ganache. If the test drip seems too thick, try heating up the ganache for 5-10 additional seconds in the microwave. If the mixture seems too thin, allow it cool a bit longer, then try another test drip.

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

  1. While the cake layers bake and cool, make the marshmallow buttercream frosting.
  2. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. 
  3. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
  4. Once fully mixed, add in the salt, vanilla extract, and marshmallow fluff.
  5. Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.
  6. If the frosting is too thick, add an extra Tbsp of heavy cream. If it's too thin, add in another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.
  7. Stir by hand with a rubber spatula for a couple minutes to get the frosting SUPER smooth.

Rocky Road Buttercream Scoops

  1. Place 2 cups of marshmallow frosting into a separate bowl.
  2. Mix in 1 cup of melted milk chocolate, and stir until combined.
  3. Fold in mini marshmallows and chopped nuts.
  4. Use a cookie scoop to make mock ice cream scoops. Scoop them onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  5. Place in the freezer, until firm to the touch.

Cake Assembly

  1. Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board, using a dab of frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  2. Add an even layer of marshmallow buttercream between each cake layer.
  3. Top with a drizzle of chocolate ganache. mini marshmallows, and chopped walnuts.
  4. Repeat with remaining cake layers.
  5. Add a thin coat of frosting around the the cake, to fully cover the cake layers. Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (10 minutes) or freezer (5 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  6. Add a second, thicker layer of frosting to the cake, and smooth using a bench scraper.
  7. Carefully add chopped walnuts around the base of the cake
  8. Add a chocolate drip to the sides of the cake.
  9. Top the cake with mock rocky road ice cream scoops, and top with more ganache, nuts, and maraschino cherries.

Notes

These cake layers can be made in advance!! Learn more about how far in advance they can be made, and how to properly wrap them in my post on how to make cake layers ahead of time.

This buttercream can also be made in advance!! I highly recommend making it ahead of time to make the decoration of a cake less stressful and more fun. It keeps in the fridge for several weeks, if stored in an airtight container.

When you're ready to use the chilled buttercream, remove it from the fridge a few hours in advance (or overnight) and allow it to come to room temperature. Give it a good stir with a rubber spatula or your kitchen aid, to get rid of any air bubbles that may have formed. Once the buttercream is smooth again, it's ready to use!

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 543 Total Fat 36g Saturated Fat 21g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 13g Cholesterol 115mg Sodium 282mg Carbohydrates 51g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 2g Sugar 33g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 6g

6 thoughts on “Rocky Road Cake

  1. The Rocky Road Cake looks FABULOUS! You know what I’ll be making for a birthday celebration this weekend! Thank you so much, Chelsey, for this amazing Chelsweets vision!

    1. Hi Kris!

      You can use this recipe to make 4, 6 inch cake layers, and they should take 36-40 minutes to bake! they’ll be pretty tall layers!! <3

  2. Your cake looks amazing as always!! I’m always looking at your blog, you have so much talent and your cakes are so beautiful. I’m trying new recipes and i found yours and you did not disappoint. I’m in love!! I’m a blogger myself and you honestly inspire me to create some of my own creations and share what i create with others as well. Once again your awesome!!

Let me know what you think!