Fourth of July is right around the corner. For Eric and me, that means we head to our friend’s lake house and kick it for a couple of days. We bring tons of food and beer and wine and unplug together. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. The boys blow stuff up, the girls hang on the pier and catch up, and with the exception of a few pictures here and there, we aren’t on our phones. It. is. beautiful.
This week, in preparation for this wonderful weekend, I wanted to make something that reminds me of summer, camping and good times around a fire. With love in my heart, I present:
S’mores Cupcakes. A graham cracker crust, dark chocolate cake and marshmallow frosting all topped with hot fudge and crushed graham crackers. You guys. I took these to my ladies at the ballet to help them get through the second week of summer intensive (over 150 bunheads, dancing all day, with a TON of instructors all over the building), and they were gone in like 2 hours. They are a little messy, a lotta sweet and sooooooo tasty. Lindsay over at Life, Love, and Sugar had this insane recipe and I was so excited to try it out!
Let’s make some cupcakes!
First, we have to make the graham cracker crust. Yum. O. #RachaelRaypleasedontsueme
I just broke apart some graham crackers and then used my food processor to make crumbs. To get the right amount, I used one of the packages inside a regular sized box. I hope that makes sense. We also need sugar and butter.
Melt the butter and mix all the ingredients together until they are well combined and kind of binding. This forms the crust of the cupcakes, so you want to make sure it is strong enough to withstand chocolatey goodness.
Line your cupcake tin and fill each liner with a heaping tablespoon of graham cracker crust stuff. Press it lightly into the bottom of the liner to ensure that it bakes into the proper shape.
Bake these bad mamajamas for 7 minutes at 325° and then set aside to cool. While they are cooling, it’s…
Here is the stuff dreams are made of.
Or chocolate cupcakes. Unless you dream of chocolate cupcakes. Then it is both!
Dry ingredients: sifted unbleached flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and sugar
Wet works: egg, vanilla, vegetable oil, and buttermilk. (Not pictured: boiling water)
There is no butter in this cake. I swear. It’s madness you guys, shear madness!
Whisk together your dry ingredients until they have no independent identity. Kind of like those really crazy strict private schools. Not real ones. The ones in movies where a chick from the private school who has no personality meets a cute guy from the wrong side of the tracks and he teaches her to be herself. They probably dance too. Anyway, make your dry ingredients like the girl BEFORE she meets the guy from the wrong side of the tracks. #notanendorsementonhowtomakelifedecisions
To the dry ingredients, we add the eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil and mix very very well. I used a wooden spoon, and it was supes legit for this task.
Now, on your stovetop, boil some water like you are making tea. I’m sure everyone has a kettle somewhere. No? Hm. Well that’s ok. You can totally just heat some up in a saucepan or, if you just used your saucepan for something else and you don’t want to do the dishes, heat some water in your microwave for 2 minutes. Once the water is boiling, add it to the batter along with your vanilla and stir until combined.
Science Alert! The boiling water helps to “bloom” the cocoa in the batter. This brings out more flavors and deepens the chocolate taste of the cake. #yayscience
Scoop the batter into your graham cracker crusted liners until they are about 2/3 full. This will allow space for the cake to rise, but they will still hit the top of the liners. Then bake at 325° for between 17 and 19 minutes, depending on things like your oven, its consistency, your altitude, the cycle of the moon and how far into Game of Thrones you are. As I have never seen an episode of Game of Thrones, my bake was 17 minutes.
Boom. These need to cool completely before decorating. You can let them sit a while, you can pop them in the fridge, whatever. I was not on a crazy time crunch, so I just let mine sit on the countertop while I prepped the frosting. When they were cool to the touch, I called it good.
Ok. So. In our s’mores cupcake journey, we have the graham and the chocolate. We now need to deal with the mallow. This is my super tricky trick so have mallow flavored icing, but not have to melt marshmallows which can be freaking. crazy. irritating.
Drop egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar into the bowl of your standing mixer. Take this bowl and hold it over a saucepan of simmering water. You are basically making a double boiler kind of thing. Whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved completely and egg whites are warm to the touch. Sorry I don’t have pics of this part kiddos. It’s slightly impossible to hold a bowl, whisk and take pictures all at the same time. Once the egg whites are warm and all the ingredients are all snuggly and friendly, remove from heat and move to your standing mixer if you have one. If not, you can use hand beaters. Just know your arm might get a bit tired.
Using the whisk attachment or your electric mixer, start the speed on low and beat for 1 minutes. Gradually increase to high speed. Just let it do its thing. Literally. I left it for at least 7-10 minutes. I cycled the laundry. I brushed my teeth cause I’m an adult and hadn’t done that yet. Regular stuff. You are looking for stiff, shiny peaks of delicious.
Now you have all the elements to make your cupcakes! Decorate! I decided to go with a simple piping job. After 20 minutes of fighting with my bag and piping tips, I came out victorious!
A dollop of fudge and a sprinkle of graham cracker crumbs later, they were ready!
Bam! What I love about these is they look all serious with the multiple toppings, but then you bite into them and it’s an instant flash to childhood. These are like a TARDIS. They take you back in time. Although they aren’t really bigger on the inside…so maybe they are more like a Delorean. Yeah. We’ll go with that!
Have fun with this one and Happy 4th of July!
Nosh on, friends!
Yield: About 18 cupcakes Prep: 15-20 minutes Bake: 7 minutes for crust, 17-19 minutes for cupcakes
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 Tbsp melted butter
5 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour (sifted)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 1/8 cup cocoa powder (sifted I tell you! sifted!)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup boiling water
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
graham cracker crumbs
- Heat oven to 325°
- Put all crust ingredients into a small mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Prepare a cupcake tin with liners and scoop a heaping tablespoon into each liner. Bake at 325° for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and place cupcake tin on a wire rack to cool. While they cool, prepare cake batter.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add egg, buttermilk and vegetable oil. Stir well to combine.
- Boil water on the stovetop (or heat in microwave). Pour boiling water into the batter, add vanilla and stir well until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake at 325° for 17-19 minutes, until tops are shiny and a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.
- Place cupcake tin on a wire rack to cool 10 minutes before removing cupcakes from tin.
- Remove cupcakes from tin and allow to cool completely on the wire rack. While they cool, prepare the frosting.
- Combine egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl (I used the bowl of my standing mixer). Place over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and eggs whites are warm to the touch, but not hot. (3-4 minutes).
- Remove from heat and using the whisk attachment beat on low speed for 1 minutes. Gradually increase the speed to high speed and allow to beat for 7-10 minutes, until glossy stiff peaks form.
- Ice cupcakes, dollop with fudge and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Nom. Nom them hard.