Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes

Back in the earlier days of this blog, I made some s’more cupcakes.  They tasted great, but to be honest you’d never really know that from the photo I posted, so today I’m sharing a s’more cupcake do-over.  While I still have plenty to learn about food photography, I think it’s become better and I’ve done a better job of making the things I cook and bake more appealing.  We do eat with our eyes, after all.  I have also learned a lot about food both for personal reasons and because of this site.  When the oven quits and it’s 100 degrees out and I need to trudge to a second location to make a dessert for a cookout and all that’s hanging around is a random box of cake mix, some cake mix whoopie pies aren’t the worst idea a girl’s ever entertained, but I don’t reach for cake mix to make actual cakes.  It’s a trade-off, and it’s about balance.  My personal stance (and I’m not saying this is what everyone should do, it’s simply food for thought) is that convenience foods are for just that- convenience, and they happen once in a while.  Everyday foods get more care and attention.  I don’t send the kiddos to school with marshmallow fluff sandwiches, but to make some cupcake frosting I can live with marshmallow fluff as a starting point.  Sandwiches are a daily lunch box staple, a box of cupcakes to share at a class birthday party aren’t a daily thing.

Having made marshmallow fluff at home before, I opted to reach for a tub of marshmallow fluff instead.  The first factor was convenience, obviously.  The second was that this is a “sometimes food,” and the third was that even homemade fluff isn’t something I’d consider to be a health food.  Sure, it eliminates the high fructose corn syrup (depending on the brand of corn syrup you use), but you do still need corn syrup and plenty of sugar to make it.  It also involves tempering egg whites, and if you’re not familiar with/ comfortable with that process, I’ll tell you firsthand that nothing ruins a day’s baking schedule faster than accidentally scrambling your egg whites instead of tempering them.  They must be properly tempered or you risk feeding people undercooked eggs.

Besides, I would be lying if I said that marshmallow fluff frosting for these updated s’mores cupcakes didn’t make me happy.  It’s easy to make, and it offers the taste and texture of a gooey marshmallow that we all love on a s’more.  I volunteered to make cupcakes for M’s class celebration of the summer birthdays, and s’mores seemed like a fun and summery idea.  Last time I made these, I put a marshmallow on top and semi-toasted it in lieu of actual frosting.  I was happy with that result, but I knew these could be better.  I kept the graham cracker crust, updated the chocolate cake portion, and topped these with marshmallow fluff frosting instead of a plain marshmallow and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

chocolate s'more cupcakes

Chocolate S’more Cupcakes with Marshmallow Fluff Frosting

Ingredients:

for the graham cracker crust:

  • 1 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
  • 7 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar

for the chocolate cake:

  • 1 C. water
  • 1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 C. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 C. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 C. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

for the marshmallow fluff frosting:

  • 7-8 oz. jar marshmallow creme (marshmallow fluff)
  • 1-2 C. confectioner’s sugar
  • 3/4 C. softened butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 cavity muffin pan with cupcake liners.

To make the graham cracker crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a small bowl.

Pour the butter over the mixture and stir to combine until the mixture resembles coarse, wet sand.

Place about 1 Tbsp. of the graham cracker mixture into each cupcake liner and press down using your fingers or the bottom of a drinking glass into an even layer on the bottom of the cupcake liner.

To make the cake batter, boil the water in a small saucepan.

Place the cocoa powder into a mixing bowl, then pour the boiling water over it and stir until smooth.

Cool the mixture to room temperature by placing it in the refrigerator while you complete the remaining cupcake steps.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time to the butter mixture, beating until smooth after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Beat the vanilla extract into the butter mixture until just combined.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating the mixture just until the ingredients are combined.

Pour the cooled cocoa mixture into the bowl in a slow steady stream while stirring.  Stir until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the cupcake batter into the cupcake liners on top of the graham cracker mixture so that each cavity is 3/4 full.

Bake for 16-19 minutes, and start checking them at 15 minutes to ensure they don’t burn or over-bake.  I’ve had mine fully baked at the 15 minute mark, and other times at the 20 minute mark.

Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on a wire cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, put the marshmallow fluff into a large mixing bowl or the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Beat the butter and fluff together until smooth.

Beat in the vanilla extract.

Beat in the powdered sugar about 1/2 C. at a time, beating until the sugar is completely incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Use as much or as little powdered sugar as needed to reach your desired consistency (depending on humidity and how I want to frost the cupcakes, I’ve used up to 3 C. of powdered sugar.  For these, I used a little over 2 C. and it piped really well).

Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes using a resealable bag with a corner cut off or a pastry bag not fitted with a decorating tip, or as desired.

To garnish, if desired, top with a square of chocolate (I used fun-size Hershey bars and cut them into 4 squares where they are scored).

Makes 12 cupcakes (you make get more but I consistently get 12 out of the graham cracker crust, with extra cake batter).

Source: graham cracker crust adapted from Cookies & Cups; chocolate cupcakes from Sally’s Baking Addiction; frosting from Please Pass the Pie

chocolate s'more cupcake tray

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