S'mores Cupcakes (Redux)

Smores CupcakesWith my cookie recipes in the bag, it’s time to move on to testing cupcake recipes. I know 1 for sure. The other two (chocolate and “other flavor”) are still up in the air. I’ve got ideas, but nothing seems to be working out the way I envision it. With only days left, it’s getting down to the wire, and I’m starting to worry a bit. My biggest challenge? Trying to find a whole new chocolate cake recipe that I like as much as my Go-To—which I can’t use.

The cupcake competition is sponsored by the Poultry Association. One of the requirements for the recipes is to use 3 to 4 eggs in a batch of at least 18 to 24 cupcakes. My Go-To chocolate recipe uses zero. So my deliciously moist, flavorful, perfect every time chocolate cupcake? Not eligible. I’m back to square one, and it’s been a real struggle.

After searching through 55 pages of cupcakes on Tastespotting, looking for ideas a couple weeks ago, I saw quite a few versions of S’mores Cupcakes. I’d made some about a year ago, with a graham cracker cupcake base, but most that I saw while browsing used a chocolate cupcake base, topped with graham cracker crumbs. Totally cute, and fairly easy, especially since I’d had some luck with homemade marshmallow before. I’d try it out with the Devil’s Food recipe from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book.

Smores CupcakesWell, they were a good idea in theory. In practice? Not quite. Although it looks pretty, the graham cracker crumbs on top keep the marshmallow from sticking to the cupcake, so one false move, and the “frosting” topples off. Plus the crumbs fall off EVERYWHERE. They’re rather messy to eat, and I had a coworker joke that he almost died from graham cracker inhalation. Not a good thing. More importantly, the chocolate cupcake base isn’t quite up to par. It’s kind of dense, a little dry, and nowhere near as flavorful as I’d like. I won’t be using it again. I like the concept as a whole, and may try to perfect it eventually, but it probably won’t be making an appearance at the fair. At least not in this form. And now it’s back to the kitchen for Round 3 to test some more combinations. Hopefully one of them turns out great…

Wait—Round 3? The S’mores Cupcakes were Round 2? What happened to Round 1? Well… This was Round 1:

Those were supposed to be Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes. They ended up more as Black Hole Cupcakes. They were atrocious. They sunk in the middle, stuck to the pan, stuck to the paper liners, and tasted absolutely disgusting. They went from the pan to the trash, and that recipe was ripped to shreds. So… Round 1 = EPIC FAIL.

Smores Cupcakes
Adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book
Makes 36 cupcakes

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups buttermilk
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs

Marshmallow Frosting:
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup plus ¼ cup cold water
1 cup sugar
36 chocolate squares (for decoration)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 3 standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, on medium speed beat butter until smooth. Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beating until just combined.
5. Divide batter between pans. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of graham cracker crumbs over the tops of each cup. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. While cupcakes are cooling, make marshmallow. In a mixing bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup of water. Allow gelatin to soften for 5 minutes.
7. Heat remaining ¼ cup water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Stop stirring; clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Boil syrup until it reaches the soft ball stage (238F), brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Remove from heat; add syrup to softened gelatin. Whisk mixture by hand until cooled, about 1 minute, then use an electric mixer to whisk on medium-high speed until soft, glossy (but not dry) peaks have formed, 8 to 10 minutes. Use immediately (frosting will harden).
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Cupcake Crazy Gem said...

Sorry these didn't turn out the way you wanted, but I think they look delish even if they didn't work out practically!

Stef said...

I agree they look pretty cool. It's always annoying when things don't work out the way you plan. Would the eggs counts if you used some/all in the icing?

sarahe said...

wow--sorry these weren't as good as you hoped, but i think they look pretty special! good luck finding your perfect recipes :)

Lisa said...

black hole cupcakes... that made me laugh. I'm sorry I didn't get to try the smores cupcake. They looked yummy even if they were hard to eat.

oneordinaryday said...

Death by graham cracker inhalation! :P
Well, even though these weren't what you were hoping for, they look awesome. I did banana s'mores cupcakes once if you want to have a look to see if you like those. Maybe it'll give you some ideas or something.
Good luck at the fair. I can't wait to hear how you do!

Becky Z. said...

I just had a really random idea, and it may not be worth your time at all.

Your go-to cupcakes use mayonnaise but no eggs, right? But mayonnaise is just eggs and oil, blended together. Have you ever thought of making your own mayo to use in that recipe, thereby possibly meeting the fair requirements? (I don't actually know how many eggs go into mayo, so this may not actually work)

Anyway, good luck!

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

Stef- It just says 3 to 4 cupcakes per recipe.. nothing about how you have to use them, so I think frosting would count too! lol oops! If only I'd realized that earlier!

Becky- Hmm, you might be on to something! I've never tried to make my own mayo, but if I enter again next year, and they still have the egg rule in place, I might give it a shot!

Weight Loss Tips said...

This is a very good looking cupcake! Sorry that they maybe didn't turn out quite like you were hoping.

shesparticular said...

I know it's a little late, but these are the best chocolate cupcakes ever: http://www.instructables.com/id/Flourless-Chocolate-Cupcakes/

simplysandi said...

These look amazing!

Ingrid said...

Bummer, 'cause I thought they looked awesome and I don't even like chocolate cupcakes!

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