A couple months ago Mary and I decided to have a cupcake bash. We holed up at her house the night before, baking about a gazillion cupcakes (seriously, I counted) way into the wee hours of the night and were pretty delirious by the end of it. It was a marathon of creaming butter and sugar, washing the same mixing bowl over and over, and exhausting ourselves with some intensive cupcake baking. We had been baking for several hours without stopping when I turned to Mary and said "I need to tell you something." I then paused for dramatic effect, probably wiped some cocoa powder or flour off my face or my arms or wherever else I was covered in it, and then I matter of factly said: "I don't really like cupcakes."
In our state of delirium and exhaustion this was pretty hilarious statement considering the fact that we were both knee deep in cupcakes. But unfortunately it's true, I'm just not really a fan. I mean don't get me wrong, I won't turn down a cupcake if it's offered to me (nor any other dessert for that matter), but I just don't really get the appeal. Part of it is probably the fact that I'm not a huge frosting fan and most cupcakes seemed to be slathered in large amounts of the stuff. Or perhaps it has something to do with always feeling a little awkward and clumsy while trying to eat one. Or maybe it's that there seem to be a lot of inferior cupcakes running around out there, that are not even worth a second bite. Whatever the reasons may be, I'm just not all that into them.
I realize that some may find this crazy or blasphemous, and that cupcakes are one of the most popular desserts out there these days. Up until a couple years ago I had never seen a store devoted entirely to cupcakes and now 4 such stores exist in my neighborhood. There's definitely a cupcake revolution going on, and I won't deny that it's contagious. Even though they might not be my favorite, I enjoy baking them and making them for others. I like the creative aspect to them, and the endless possibilities in frostings, fillings, and tastes. Each one is its own unique creation, and finding the perfect combination in a personal hand-held cake is very satisfying.
So I guess I can understand the appeal a little bit, and I've definitely eaten some cupcakes that are undeniably tasty. But I never seem to find myself craving one, and when I bake up a batch I'm always trying to give them away rather than save a few for myself. At least that's the way it used to be, until these cupcakes came along.
These, my friends, are some pretty epic cupcakes. The bottom consists of a thick layer of buttery graham cracker crumbs, followed by a moist oh-so-chocolatey cake, topped with an ooey gooey marshmallow frosting that is toasted till it's dark and flavorful, giving the cupcakes a hint of campfire. There's a lot going on in these cupcakes, but it's all worth it. Each individual element is delicious all on it's own (I could eat the marshmallow frosting with a spoon), but together they create a cupcake that is out of this world.
I mean, just take a look at these beauties:
Not only do these taste amazing, but they look pretty too. I love when that happens! These will for sure get you some ooohs and aaahs in the looks department.
And they are definitely winners in the taste department. Mmmm marshmallow frosting... The original recipe has you sprinkling the graham crackers on the top and bottom of the cupcakes, but I found that to look a bit messy on the top. Instead I like to create an extra thick layer of graham cracker crust at the bottom like so:
I love that it creates a nice sturdy layer of graham cracker for the cupcake to rest on, and a little extra graham cracker crust never hurt anybody.
These are some seriously yummy cupcakes. So yummy that they changed this non-cupcake lover's mind. Do yourself a favor and make these. Just don't be upset if you can't stop eating them, because I know I can't, and I never thought I'd feel that way about a cupcake.
Adapted from Martha Stewart.com
Makes 2 dozen
2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Marshmallow Frosting (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
Sift 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed.
In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.
Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined.
Evenly place graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner.
Sprinkle a small amount of chocolate in the bottom of each cupcake liner. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and fill each muffin cup three-quarters full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate. Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.
Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round or French tip (such as Ateco #867 or Ateco #809). Pipe frosting in a spiral motion on each cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container, up to 2 days.
8 large egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately.