May was the craziest month of birthdays Miss Fats has ever experienced. She’s fairly certain that just about every single person she knows “decided” to be born in the last two weeks of the month. Therefore each year they all create a birthday vortex where time becomes structured entirely through running from one “drinks” to “dinner” to “party,” rather than attending to things like work…or school, or life. whatever. It sounds like Miss Fats is upset about this. False. Because she in fact loves birthdays, and despite the end of the quarter craziness, she prefers a world structured through celebration.
Naturally, birthdays demand cake. And as you can see, there has been a number of birthday cakes popping up on Sunday Sundaes in the last couple of weeks. The latest cupcake was an impromptu production when the last birthday of the month popped out of nowhere (at least to Miss Fats, who has been in birthday brain spiral and fails to look at things like calendars anymore). Luckily she had all the ingredients on hand to experiment with this new indulgent cupcake recipe.
All this sunshine (well, at least the small heat wave last week) and the wrapping up of classes is making Miss Fats itch for summer and the delicious foods of BBQ season. So it’s no wonder her brain went immediately to s’mores when she was faced with a cupcake challenge. There’s a ton of s’more (s’mores? is it always plural? whatever.) cupcake recipes out there– from blogs to pinterest– so there’s nothing revolutionary about this concoction. However Miss Fats would like to think that her version does a pretty good job of recreating the ooey-gooey-ness that is a s’more experience. Her version layers graham cracker crust with moist chocolate cake, stuffed with an oozing chocolate almond filling, and topped with a light and fluffy marshmallow frosting. She has no idea how science works, but these little guys actually stay incredibly moist and gooey days after they’ve been properly torched on top as well. Therefore they become the perfect make-ahead cupcakes for gatherings if you can manage to keep your hands off them.
Now they probably seem like a lot of work: many components. However these are damn easy cakes. Miss Fats literally threw them together after an evening of gorging herself on Ethiopian food and was fighting an insane food coma the entire time. Yet, they came out even in her half-conscious state. To make things even easier on yourself, she suggests splitting the work between two days: bake the cakes one day, frost the next. No problemo.
about 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (Miss Fats ground up one package of the crackers from the standard box)
4 tbs melted butter
pinch of salt
1 cup + 1 tbs sugar, divided
1 cup scant flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup scant boiling water
1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Chocolate Almond Spread (or use Nutella)
3 tbs milk
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cupcake pan (Miss Fats has not tried this without cupcake liners and she is fearful of what would happen without them. However if anyone out there gives it a shot, report back!) In a small bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, 1 tbs of sugar and salt. Mix in the melted butter, forming a crumbly crust. Distribute evenly among the cups, packing it down with the back of your spoon or fingers. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the crust just begins to brown.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix flour, remaining sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, soda and salt. Add the eggs, oil and milk and whisk for approximately 2 minutes. Add the hot water and mix until smooth. Distribute batter evenly among the crust cups and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
3. Make the filling: in a small bowl, warm the milk and spread in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth. If the mixture seizes up at all, just microwave for an additional 30 seconds and patiently whisk away.
4. Make the frosting: in a large metal bowl, over a simmering pot of water, whisk the egg whites and sugar together. Using a thermometer, gently heat the mixture to 160 degrees, whisking constantly (about 5-8 minutes). Transfer mixture to your stand mixer and whip on high speed until it as cooled and soft marshmallow peaks have formed (about 10-12 minutes).
5. Assemble the cupcakes: Preheat your broiler (or ready your blow torch). Using a small spoon, scoop out the center of each cupcake, careful not to dig into the crust layer. Spoon 1-2 tsps of the filling into each. Transfer the frosting to a large ziplock bag and cut off the tip to form your ad hoc pastry bag. Swirl the frosting over top each cupcake. Transfer the cupcakes to a baking sheet and broil the tops of cakes until toasted (careful not to burn). (You can also skip this step, but come on, it’s not a s’more without a little toasted marshmallow).
Instant summer in a cupcake. This will bring back all the memories of campfire and messy s’more consumption in one bite. It’s the perfect fun, nostalgic treat for any summer or birthday celebration. Not to mention with the messed Chicago weather, this cake allows for optimal indoors s’more consumption. Miss Fats hopes that you all get the chance to make some traditional campfire toasted s’mores soon, however, she’d like to think this cake can suffice in the meantime.