It’s been ages since I’ve posted but I’m pleased to announce that I am halfway done with graduate school! Time has really flown by and even though this year was pretty stressful with a full-time school load while simultaneously working full time. But, I did it!! Even though I haven’t gotten my degree yet I’m still pretty proud of myself for surviving one year.
And I have even more good news—I have a new job! I now work with digital media and it’s such a breath of fresh air (again with the clichés, Nina?) My previous job was such a drain on my physical and emotional stamina that I felt like I was in a constant creative slump. My office was just uninspiring and I needed a change and thankfully change came. I’m so much happier now. I’m empower, I’m given responsibility, and I my opinions and ideas are not only encouraged but appreciated and valued. It’s amazing what a little appreciation can do.
With all this good news, it feels appropriate to share a delicious cupcake recipe. Cupcakes are perfect for celebrating, especially when they have delicious frosting on it. I’m personally not a huge cake person but when there is frosting on it, I’m totally game for that. So cupcakes, check. But what type of cupcakes? S’mores, duh! It is summer after all. Just disregard the fact that the actual summer equinox is June 22nd or something. But DC has been so hot lately it might as well be summer.
There’s something so nostalgic about s’mores regardless of form—s’mores pie, s’mores cupcakes, s’mores Jell-O shots (yes, that’s a thing)—it all makes you feel warm and fuzzy and like a kid again. Camping trips are the best part of summer because it means s’mores. But even when it’s not summer you can make s’mores at home.
Technically you can toast your marshmallows in the microwave but they don’t develop that beautiful char that makes the s’mores crunchy and beautiful. I’ve used electric stove tops to make s’mores and you get that desirable burnt delicious coating, but it just takes a long long long time. I’m not kidding, it takes forever. Ultimately, gas stoves are the best for at home s’mores. And I like my mallows burnt to a near crisp.
So let’s talk cupcakes for a second, minute, hour, whatever. The actual cake part of these cupcakes are so fudgy and dense. Sometimes cupcakes can be a bit dry and unpleasant. But these are beautifully moist and dense. Next, you stuff it with some marshmallow fluff. You can buy marshmallow fluff but it’s actually very easy to make it at home. It can be a bit finicky getting the temperature right, but it’s not hard at all.
I found and adapted this lovely recipe from my favorite baking inspiration—Sally’s Baking Addiction. The one major change I made is I omitted the milk chocolate frosting. I was A) short on time baking these and B) it seemed like A LOT of sugar and I don’t think my taste buds can handle overly sweet things as much anymore. It’s a shame.
But the absolutely best part of these cupcakes is the toasted marshmallow topper. In one bite you are flooded with childhood memories and sheer elation. That’s the power of food, am I right?
Notes on this recipe:
Buttermilk is a MUST for this recipe. The acidity of the buttermilk helps retain the moisture within the cupcake. If you don’t have buttermilk you can DIY it by mixing 1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice with ½ cup milk, stir, and let it sit for five minutes.
Frosting and filling can also be prepared 1 day in advance. Cover tightly and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2 months just be sure to thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting and serving.
Servings 14 cupcakes
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup marshmallow fluff
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
¾ - 1 cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup graham cracker crumbs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla until completely smooth. Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine. Then add half of the buttermilk and gently stir to combine. Repeat with the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk until just combined. The batter will be on the thinner side.
Scoop the batter into the liners filling up only halfway. Bake for 18-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
In a medium bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, marshmallow fluff, vanilla, and cream on medium-low speed. Beat until smooth. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and the salt. Beat on low speed and incrementally increase the speed until completely smooth.
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, it’s time to fill and decorate. Using a sharp knife or small spoon, scoop out the center of the cupcake to create a little well. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling into the well of the cupcake and then top with the removed cupcake crumbs. Sprinkle filled cupcakes with graham crackers.
Turn the broiler on HI. On a large baking sheet, lay out marshmallows on a sheet of parchment paper. Toast the marshmallows in the broiler and keep a close eye on them. After 30 seconds they should be perfectly browned. Let the toasted marshmallows cool for 5 minutes and then place on top of the decorated cupcakes.