These are the perfect s’mores cupcakes: a graham cracker base, soft and decadent chocolate cake, gooey Hershey’s chocolate buttercream center, and toasted marshmallow frosting.
It’s week four of my June Barbecue Menu where I’ve spent the month putting together an entire meal’s worth of BBQ courses. I started with Strawberry Limeades, followed that up with Loaded Baked Potato Salad with Yogurt as the side, used some Basil and Garlic Steak Marinade on some gorgeous rib-eyes for the main course, and now it’s time for dessert!
And surprising absolutely no one in the world who knows me, it’s s’mores themed. S’mores Cupcakes!! I love s’mores. They are the best part of summer and if I can s’moreize anything, I will.
I just typed the word “s’mores” so many times it doesn’t look real any more.
These cupcakes are total show stoppers. I’ve tested them a couple times since they are multi-step cupcakes, and every time leftovers go out into the world, they are met with rave reviews. They even got a “this is the best cupcake I’ve ever tasted” from one taste tester. Sooooooo.
There’s a lot going on with these cupcakes, so I’m going to break it down for you.
We start with a brown sugar graham cracker base. It’s a little crunchy, a little crumbly, and the beeeeeest thing. I’m obsessed with it.
On top of that, there is the chocolate cupcake. This cupcake is moist and chocolatey and amazing.
Inside of the cupcake, we have more chocolate. Here’s the thing about s’mores. A classic summer s’more HAS to use Hershey’s chocolate bars. I will fight you on this. So of course, for the inside of my s’mores cupcakes, I used Hershey’s bars to make the 2-ingredient chocolate buttercream frosting. It’s my favorite part of the cupcakes.
Finally, there is the marshmallow frosting. This stuff is beautiful and fluffy and a perfect marshmallow dream sitting on top of the cupcakes. Sadly, for those of us who like to make our s’mores by setting our marshmallows on fire, it is not the right type of flammable to do this with–I did not try to set my cupcake on fire (I did), but they do toast up absolutely beautifully.
And yes, these S’mores Cupcakes are what I like to call “project cupcakes.” They are kind of involved but so much fun to make and so satisfying. Like my Brooklyn Blackout Cupcakes, making these cupcakes is a multi-step process, but none of the steps are hard, and I wrote an entire post walking you through making the easy marshmallow frosting. If you are a s’mores lover or one of those people who likes weekend baking projects with impressive results, you have to try these.
Gooey Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes
- 2 Hershey's Bars 3oz of chocolate
- 8 tablespoons (4oz) unsalted butter
Graham Cracker Layer
- 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (2 1/2) graham crackers
- 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (25g) brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons (1.5oz) melted butter
- 4 tablespoons (2oz) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup (1.5oz) semi-sweet chocolate chopped (high-quality chips are fine)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (20g) unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
- 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 at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup hot coffee or hot water
- 5 cups marshmallow frosting see recipe for when to start the frosting
Start Chocolate Buttercream
- Start the buttercream about an hour before you are ready to make your cupcakes. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt together butter and chocolate until completely melted. Stir together and then remove from heat.
- Allow to cool on the counter for 10 minutes before placing in the refrigerator until solid, about 1 hour.
Graham Cracker Layer
- Preheat oven to 350° Line cupcake pan with grease-proof liners.
- In your food processor, pulse graham cracker pieces until they are a fine crumb. Add in flour and sugar and pulse until combined. Drizzle in butter and continue to process until completely incorporated. If you don't have a food processor, you can crush the graham crackers with a rolling pin in a plastic bag and mix everything in a bowl.
- Divide graham cracker mixture between cupcakes cups, a little less than one tablespoon per cup, and use your fingers or a shot glass to press mixture down firmly.
- Bake for 5 minutes until tops look set.
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter until almost completely melted. Add chocolate and oil and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for an additional 15 seconds if necessary, until chocolate is completely melted. Stir until well-combined and set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk in cooled chocolate mixture. (It can be warm, but if it is hot to the touch, set aside for another couple of minutes. You don't want to scramble the eggs!)
- Whisk in half of the flour mixture until just combined. Add all of the buttermilk and mix. Whisk in the last of the flour, mixing until just combined.
- Whisk in the coffee (or water). The batter will be thin and runny. It's supposed to look like that.
- Fill cupcake tins just under 3/4 of the way full (if you transfer the batter to a liquid measuring cup first, it makes filling easier). Don't overfill--you might have a tiny bit of batter left over.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Take chocolate frosting mixture out of the refrigerator and set on the counter to soften while your cupcakes cool.
Finish Chocolate Filling and Assemble
Allow cupcakes to cool completely, about half an hour. Once cupcakes are cool, use a handheld electric mixer, or scoop softened chocolate mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer and use the whisk attachment, to whisk mixture on medium-high until light in color, about 2 minutes.
Using a serrated knife with a sharp tip, cut a cone-shaped piece out of the center of each cupcake. You don't have to be neat about it, and you can discard (or eat) the cone.
Transfer chocolate frosting to a plastic bag by placing the bag over an empty cup and scooping the mixture inside. Seal bag and snip off one of the corners. Use the bag to "pipe" chocolate mixture into the cupcakes and fill to the top.
- Make marshmallow frosting and top cupcakes with big swirls using a piping bag.
- Turn broiler on high and place cupcakes on a tray in the oven. Watch closely and do not walk away from the oven. Leave cupcakes in just long enough to toast the marshmallow frosting, 2 to 4 minutes.
Make sure to use grease-proof liners if grease spots matter to you. Regular liners hold up just fine for these cupcakes, but the butter in the graham cracker base will turn the liners dark, and doubling up only works long enough to snap a few photos. 😉
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