Between the ages of eight and 15, I went to a sleep away camp each summer. Whether it was for four weeks or eight weeks, I always spent part of my summers in rural Wisconsin. I sailed around the lake, made too many friendship bracelets to count and went on my fair share of camping trips (canoeing through Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada; hiking Isle Royale and the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan; sea kayaking on Lake Superior….just to name a few!).
My favorite part of camp, though, was sitting around a bonfire under the stars, making s’mores and singing camps songs. I know it sounds so cheesy, but camp is one of the things I miss most about being a kid. And now that this summer is coming to a close, I’ve been reminiscing more often about my camper days. So what better way to celebrate the good old days of summer than with s’mores cupcakes?
My mom and I have made various s’mores-themed goodies over the years, but these cupcakes (and cake!) might be my favorite. They use real Hershey’s chocolate and homemade marshmallow frosting, toasted to a perfect golden brown (anyone who burns their marshmallows is wrong!). Read on for the recipe – and fair warning, this is what I call a project. It’s pretty involved, but each step is super easy and the results are so worth it. I highly recommend them for your Labor Day celebrations this weekend if you want to impress your guests!
Yield: 12 cupcakes + 1 small layer cake
2 Hershey’s Bars
8 tablespoons (4oz) unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
Graham Cracker Layer
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
4 tablespoons (2oz) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (1.5oz) milk chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (20g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk + 1/2 tsp lemon juice (or 1/4 buttermilk)
1/4 cup espresso
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a small saucepan, melt together butter and chocolate until completely melted. Stir together and then remove from heat.
- Cool on the counter for 10 minutes before placing in the refrigerator until solid, about 1 hour. Set aside.
Graham Cracker Layer
- Combine graham cracker crumbs, flour, sugar and salt in a small bowl.
- Drizzle butter into mixture. Mix until well combined.
- Press just under 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter until almost completely melted. Add chocolate and oil and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until combined. Set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a different bowl, combine sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Add in cooled chocolate mixture.
- Whisk in half of the flour mixture until just combined.
- Add all of the milk + lemon juice (or buttermilk) and mix.
- Whisk in the last of the flour, mixing until just combined.
- Add in the espresso (The batter is supposed to be super runny)
- Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
- Once cool, scoop out the center of each cupcake (I used a small spoon, but you can also use a knife). Set aside cored cupcakes to cool.
- Pour the remaining batter into small layer cake pans.
- Bake 15-18 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
Buttercream pt. 2
- Take chocolate buttercream mixture out of the refrigerator and let soften, about 10 minutes
- Beat mixture and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
- Scoop or pipe the buttercream into the center of the cupcakes.
- Spread a medium-thick layer of buttercream onto each layer of cake. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs.
- In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine sweetened condensed milk with chocolate chips and vanilla. Do not let it bubble – it will melt very quickly.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Drizzle ganache over cupcakes and top with graham cracker crumbs. Allow to cool.
- Pour ganache over assembled cake and top with graham cracker crumbs. Allow to cool.
- Fill a medium to pot with 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer.
- In a large heat-proof bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt.
- Place bowl over the simmering water on the stove. Heat, whisking constantly until eggs reach 120°F.
- Remove bowl from heat and beat the egg whites on high until light and fluffy with peaks that mostly hold their shape.
- Immediately transfer to piping bag and pipe big swirls in your desired pattern.
- Very carefully, brown the marshmallow frosting under your broiler for 2 to 4 minutes, until the frosting is golden brown. You can also just use a blow torch (but I totally caught a cupcake on fire with this method so be careful!).
Refrigerate these if they won’t be eaten immediately – I recommend letting them soften before eating, since the buttercream will firm up in the fridge. They’ll keep for about one week.
If you just want to make a cake from this recipe, the batter will fill two 9″-rounds or 5 mini rounds.
Recipe adapted from Baking Mischief
How will you celebrate Labor Day?