S’mores Cupcakes

My dear friend, Chris, is often encouraging me to include more “me” in my food photos – a video of me, all smiles, whisking up a cake, photos of me removing freshly-baked cookies from my professional-grade Thermador in my immaculate kitchen, me proudly holding my latest tart creation in my vintage apron.  If that’s what Chris imagines when he envisions me in the kitchen, who am I to correct him?  The reality is decidedly less glamourous.  On most days, you’ll find me barefoot, my unkempt hair pulled back in some odd top-knot, braless, sans makeup, and wearing last night’s pj’s.  When I’m in bake mode, I’m all in, girly glamour be damned. 

So, when the stars align and I manage to bake something divine AND get dolled up on the same day (in this case, Halloween), I feel I owe it to Chris to share a bit of both my worlds. Thank you, my friend, for always encouraging me.


S’mores Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24 Cupcakes
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Graham cracker crust and sinfully dark chocolate cake, topped with a pillowy swirl of toasted, sticky marshmallow meringue make for a decadent dessert – no campfire needed. This recipe makes a lot of frosting, so don’t skimp on your swirl.


Ingredients

    Crust
  • 2 cups Graham crackers crumbs
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • Cake
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 cups cold water
  • Marshmallow Meringue Frosting
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions


1. Preheat oven to 350⁰ F. Line 24 cupcake tins with liners. Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar and salt together until it resembles wet sand. Place a rounded tablespoon of crust mixture at the bottom on each liner and press firmly with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup. Bake for about 5 minutes until lightly golden.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, coffee granules and salt. Combine oil, vanilla extract and white vinegar. Add water to oil mixture. Slowly whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients. The batter will be wet.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared tins and bake 18- 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes and to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan filled with 1-2” of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add the vanilla. Whisk on high speed for 5-6 minutes until stiff and glossy.
4. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Using a kitchen torch, toast meringue frosting.

Mocha Mini Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Frosting

Mocha cupcakes

She mutely ate her cupcake as the others chattered around her. They would never understand what she was contemplating. To speak would be an open invitation for them to pass judgment, to hand her their opinion. She could envision what each would be. She could hear them justify their harshness, “We just want what’s best for you.” No, they wanted what was best for them, what they could comprehend; what fit within their world. She thought of that old adage about opinions and assholes. She smiled and kept eating.


Mocha Mini Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Frosting

  • Servings: 36 mini cupcakes
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This is my go-to moist chocolate cake recipe with a bit of extra espresso flavoring.

Ingredients

    Cake Ingredients
  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • strong espresso plus cold water
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Frosting Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz. dulce de leche
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, cold
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • pinch salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together. Set aside. Combine espresso with cold water to equal one cup. Mix espresso, oil, vanilla and vinegar together. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The mixture will be wet.
  2. Pour the batter into paper mini-cupcake cups and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
  3. While cupcakes cool, make frosting by beating ingredients together until light and fluffy. Frost cupcakes.