I don’t like s’mores. The first time I tried them I was so disappointed. I was expecting them to be truly life changing….but no, mediocre at best. I feel like s’mores are very overrated.
THE CHOCOLATE NEVER MELTS. WHY DOES THE CHOCOLATE NEVER MELT ??? This is my only issue with them.
Anyway with all that being said, I LOVE desserts that are inspired by s’mores. So I decided to make some s’more cupcakes!
Breakdown of the cupcakes
To make these cupcakes, I wanted to take the different elements of s’mores, and cupcake-ify them.
If you think of s’mores, they have 3 elements: the graham crackers (or here in the UK we would use digestive biscuits instead), a piece of chocolate and then the toasted marshmallow.
So for these cupcakes, I added a biscuit base, to represent the graham crackers.
Then you got the chocolate cupcake, which represents the chocolate in a s’mores. I also stuffed the cupcakes with some Nutella for extra chocolaty-ness. I refused to add an actual piece of chocolate, I was not about to have any un-melted chocolate in these.
Then finally, for the marshmallow part, I made a Swiss meringue and piped this onto the cupcakes, Then toasted this with a blow torch.
If you don’t have a blow torch DON’T WORRY I will go into how to toast the meringue without one later on in this blog post!
Ingredients for the cupcake batter
There are a few ingredients that I’ve used for the cupcakes that I wanted to talk about. Just in case anyone had questions about them or if substitutions were needed!
A lot of chocolate cake recipes use coffee in them.
The coffee helps intensify the chocolate flavour, that’s it. It doesn’t make the cake taste like coffee at all.
It’s a great addition but if you wanted to leave it out, you could. Just make sure to still add the hot water.
Cake batters typically need some kind of fat. This can either be butter or oil.
Butter adds great flavour to cakes, whereas oil adds a lot of moisture.
When it comes to chocolate cake though, I’ve found that when you are making something chocolate flavoured, all you taste is chocolate. So butter doesn’t add much to the flavour.
So I prefer to just use oil, it makes the cupcakes very moist. I use vegetable oil, but any flavourless one will work.
The brown sugar
I used a mixture of both brown and granulated sugar for these cupcakes.
Brown sugar is a great addition to cakes, it just adds extra moistness. I use soft light brown sugar, dark brown sugar works too,
If you wanted to only use granulated sugar you could. Use 250g of granulated sugar, instead of 125g of granulated and 125g of brown.
The buttermilk adds….guess what I’m about to say….moistness.
But not only that, the acidity in the buttermilk also reacts with the baking soda, which gives you a fluffier cake.
If you don’t have buttermilk, plain yoghurt or sour cream is a good substitute.
Or you could make a buttermilk substitute by getting 120ml of whole milk, adding 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into it and then leaving it aside for 10 minutes before using it.
I used some white vinegar in the batter, apple cider vinegar works too.
Essentially, the vinegar reacts with the baking soda and helps the cake rise as it bakes. Which gives it a light, fluffy, velvety texture.
If you don’t have white or apple cider vinegar, lemon juice will work too!
How to get flat cupcakes
Whenever I post a cupcake video, this is one of the most common question I get.
From my experience, there are 2 things that determine the flatness of a cupcake.
The main one is how much you fill you cupcake cases. If you over fill them, they will end up baking with a dome, instead of being flat. Which is not a huge deal at all, but for flatter cupcakes, filling your cases about 3/4 of the way full is best.
The second thing is just down to the recipe. Some cupcake recipes bake flat, some don’t. Whenever I use my vanilla cake recipe for cupcakes, they bake very flat.
But I have never used or been able to create a chocolate cake recipe that bakes flat. I don’t know what it is, but every time I make chocolate cake layers or cupcakes, they bake with a slight dome.
The cupcakes for these didn’t bake completely flat at all to be honest.
To make them flatter, once they came out of the oven, I just slightly pressed them down with something flat. I used a 1/4 cup measurement.
That’s it, that’s my advice. If your cupcakes are not flat, make them flat yourself. Don’t go extreme with this though, just press them slightly. If you press it too much, you’re getting rid of all the fluffy-ness.
The Swiss meringue
The Swiss meringue is pretty easy to make, here are the ingredients you are going to need for it:
- Egg whites – make sure to use fresh egg whites. The ones from a bottle don’t whip up as well.
- Granulated sugar – caster sugar works too. Or if you’re looking for a slight caramel flavour in your meringue, brown sugar will give you this.
- Salt – just to enhance the flavours.
- Vanilla extract – for flavour.
A few tips
Make sure the bowl you use is clean
You want the bowl you use for the meringue to be completely clean before you use it, otherwise the meringue won’t whip into stiff peaks.
Only make this before you’re about to use it
You don’t want to make this ahead of time. Only make it once your cupcakes have baked and cooled completely.
If you make it too early, the meringue will stop being fluffy, and then it will be hard to whip it into stiff peaks again.
So only make it once you’re ready to use it.
Once it has been piped onto the cupcakes and toasted, it’ll last a few days in an airtight container, at room temperature!
How to toast the meringue without a blow torch
A blow torch is probably something that a lot of people don’t casually have lying around. I personally think everyone should have one, it’s a great little tool I use mine all the time.
But I get that a lot of people might not have one.
If you don’t have one, to toast the meringue you can just use your grill. Or if you’re American, I think you might call this a broiler.
Just put the cupcakes under your grill for a few seconds, keep an eye on them though, because they do toast quickly.
I highly recommend taking the cupcake wrappers off before you do this, because they set on fire very easily.
If you didn’t want to take them off, keep your grill on the lowest heat and don’t stop watching them. Please don’t let a fire start.
Here are a few other cupcake recipes I think you should also try:
Makes: 12-15 Cupcakes
- For the biscuit base:
150g digestive biscuits or graham crackers
70g unsalted butter, melted
- For the cupcakes:
50g cocoa powder
80ml hot water mixed with 1 teaspoon instant coffee
200ml vegetable oil
125g granulated sugar
125g brown sugar
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons white vinegar
- For the Swiss meringue:
4 egg whites
200g granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Plus some Nutella to fill the cupcakes with
- Start by pre-heating your oven to 180c/350f. Also add your cupcake cases into your cupcake tin, leave this aside.
- Making the biscuit base:
- Crush your biscuits until you get fine crumbs. You can either do this in a food processor or just put them in a food bag and hit them with a rolling pin.
- Mix these crushed biscuits with the melted butter.
- Add this mixture into your cupcakes cases, I added 2 tablespoons of it into each cupcake case. Press this down, then leave aside.
- Making the cupcakes:
- In a bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and the water/coffee mixture. Add the oil, both sugars, eggs and buttermilk into this and whisk until all combined. Now add the flour and whisk just until you get a smooth batter.
- In a bowl, add the baking soda, then pour the vinegar over this. This mixture will start bubbling, just give it a quick mix then pour it into your batter. Whisk this in.
- Fill your cupcake cases with this batter, you want them to be around 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake for around 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Once baked, leave to cool completely.
- Making the Swiss meringue:
- Once your cupcakes have baked and cooled, you can make the meringue.
- In a pot, add some water and place this over medium heat. Let this come to a simmer.
- In a bowl, mix together the egg whites, sugar and salt. Place this on top of the pot with the simmering water. Make sure that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl, if it is, pour some water out.
- Keep heating this, whiles stirring, until all the sugar has dissolved. To check this, just rub some of the mixture between your fingers. If you can't feel any grains of sugar, it is ready.
- Take this off the simmering water, then whip the mixture until you get stiff peaks.
- Decorating the cupcakes:
- You can decorate them however you want. I filled them with some Nutella. You can either do this by cutting a hole in the top of the cupcakes and adding the Nutella into this. Or you can put the Nutella into a piping bag fitted with round tip, stab this into the cupcakes, and pipe the Nutella into them.
- For the meringue, I added it into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, then piped swirls on top of the cupcakes. I used a blow torch to toast the meringue. Be careful when doing this, the cupcake wrappers can set on fire easily.
- After this they're done, enjoy!