This is one cupcake you’ll never grow out of and guaranteed to leave everyone wanting S’more! Much like the classic campfire treat this S’mores cupcake is a surefire hit with adults and kids alike! It’s got all the ooey gooey deliciousness of a s’more with a grown up twist thanks to a graham cracker crumb crust, rich moist chocolate cupcake, decadent fudgey chocolate ganache filling, and last but definitely not least a fluffy torched marshmallow topping!
The lovely torched marshmallow buttercream swirls dress up this cupcake perfectly for a party and one bite will transport you right back to those cool cozy fall nights making s’mores by the campfire! You can also make a lovely little cake out of this if you’d prefer instead of cupcakes-just see the instructions in my recipe notes below. Whichever style you pick once you make these everyone will be wanting S’more!
Makes: Approximately 14 cupcakes
Time: 1 1/2-2 Hours for cakes, filling and, topping
Graham Cracker Crust:
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 4-5 tablespoons melted butter
- 14 cupcake liners
For Chocolate Cupcake:
- 1 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder (I like Hershey’s Extra Dark) or use a good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup freshly brewed hot strong coffee (I like using a good quality dark roast)
For Ganache Filling:
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For Marshmallow Frosting:
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Kitchen torch for toasting marshmallow frosting
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line 12-count muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. If you have a 6 count muffin pan 2 wells with the remaining 2 cupcake liners. You can also grease 2 6 inch round pans dusted with flour and line with circles of parchment paper if you’d like to make a cake instead of the cakes.
- Combine the graham cracker crust ingredients in a bowl and spoon 1 generous tablespoon or more if needed into each liner. Press the crumb mixture down with the base of a small juice or cocktail glass to pack down into each liner. Bake in the 350 oven for 5-7 minutes until slightly golden then remove and set aside.
- Next make the chocolate cake batter: Sift or whisk the dry ingredients-flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt- in a mixing bowl and stir until combined. I usually don’t sift (gasp! I know!) and just mix the dry ingredients well with a fork or whisk and it seems to come out fine with no lumps or issues in the batter. But please do what is comfortable for you and gives you the best results!
- In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
- Attach the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients to a stand mixer (or use a handheld) turning on low speed and slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the hot coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into each cupcake liner over the cooled graham cracker crust bases, filling each about 2/3 full. These cupcakes rise quite a bit when baking so you want to leave some room.
- Bake in the 350 oven about 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean without any wet batter attached. A couple moist crumbs attached to toothpick are okay.
- Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then remove and place them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled make the chocolate ganache filling: Pour heavy cream into a small saucepan and heat between medium low and medium. If you beat it too high it can accidentally come to a boil quickly which is not what you want. Heat the cream until it’s scalded with small bubbles appearing around the edges and in center and remove just before it reaches the boiling point. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips in a small heatproof bowl, making sure the cream is cover covering the chips almost completely. Let sit a minute or two to make sure the cream had melted the chocolate chips and then carefully whisk the mixture until it is completely blended silky and smooth. Stir in a 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract if desired and set aside to thicken up for just a few minutes. You want it to be nice and thick but still pourable when filling the cupcakes. If you make it too far ahead the ganache will set and no longer be pourable and you would have to scoop it out to fill the cupcakes. I think it tastes extra fudgy and delicious if it’s added to the centers at the pourable stage.
- Core centers of the cooled cupcakes by running a small pairing knife in a circle around the center of each cupcake and removing the filling. Be careful not to cut too wide because they will be difficult to frost if the hole on top is too large. Also be careful not to cut all the way down through the bottom of the cupcake or it will break it and cause the filling to run out. You just want a hole deep enough to reach about midway through the cupcake and hold a nice dollop of filling. (See recipe notes if you’re making an 8 inch layer cake instead of cupcakes and want to use the ganache as a filling.)
- Use a small spoon to scoop some of the soft ganache into the center holes of each cupcake. You want just enough to come to the top but not overflowing or it will make a mess on the top of the cakes. You can place the cores piece of the cupcake back in the center or leave them off after filling. (I prefer to leave them off and use the scraps for cake pops or cakesicles.)
- Make Marshmallow Frosting: Add egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt to a heatproof mixing bowl with high sides and set on top of a small saucepan of simmering water on medium heat.
- Whisk the mixture constantly while on the heat until the egg whites are warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved, about 5-7 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready and that the sugar has been fully dissolved when you touch the mixture with your fingers and no longer feel any grains of Sugar-it should feel completely slick and smooth.
- Remove from heat and place the bowl in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat for 8-10 minutes until stiff glossy peaks form, adding in the vanilla just before it’s done mixing.
- Remove the fluffy marshmallow frosting and pipe onto cupcakes or spread onto layer cakes immediately as this particular frosting needs to be used the same day and does not hold up well if left to sit.
- For the pretty piped swirl on the s’more cupcakes fit a piping bag or cut a small hole in a strong freezer bag and fit with a large open star tip. Pipe the frosting starting on the outer edge of the cupcakes and work your way in toward the center overlapping each layer as you go so that you end up with beautifully tall and fluffy soft serve ice cream style swirls covering the cupcake.
- Now for the fun part: fire up a kitchen torch on low and run it quickly and evenly along the sides and tips of the frosting to give the cupcakes that toasty s’more effect. Don’t have too much fun and linger the flame on that frosting too long or too close otherwise just like the classic s’mores they may end up on fire briefly and you will have that familiar and not so pretty charring effect.
These cupcakes can be stored at room temp a couple days or in the fridge for a few days. They are ideally meant to be eaten and at their best on the day that they’re frosted, as the sugars marshmallow buttercream will start to break down and crystallize a bit the longer they sit. You can make the cupcakes with filling ahead and store them wrapped in the fridge a couple days before frosting with the marshmallow topping if you’d like. Or store the cooled baked cupcakes without filling or frosting wrapped well in the freezer for a couple months, then add filling and frosting on the day you plan to serve them.
Recipe Notes: To make a 6 inch layer cake instead of cupcakes:
1. Graham cracker crust-Press the graham cracker mixture into parchment lined 8 inch baking pans instead of the muffin tins.
2. Ganache filling- Instead of using ganache at the pouring stage let it sit at room temp until firm (about a couple hours) then mixing at medium high speed using a stand or hand mixer until fluffy and lightened in color about 5 minutes or so. The mixture will be spreadable like a frosting but still taste rich and chocolate-y.
3. Assembling cake- Spread the ganache on top of one of the cooled cake layers and top with the other layer (crust sides down.) then cover completely with the marshmallow frosting then torch the top and sides of the cake like you do the cupcakes.
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