When I decided to make S’mores Cupcakes, I thought people would be pretty up for it. After the third or fourth explanation, I realised that I spend too much time on the internet and that people in the UK who do not spend too much time on the internet have no clue what S’mores are. Colour me surprised.
If you are among the uninitiated, S’mores are a sandwich of graham crackers, chocolate and melted marshmallow. Graham crackers – which appear to be pronounced gram, though I don’t know if that’s an accent thing or an actual silent letter thing – are kind of like digestives. You can buy them in the UK if you don’t mind spending over the odds. You can make your own by following this great recipe on The Cupcake Project. Or, you can use digestives, like I did.
The first step was making marshmallows – I made an extra tray of them when I was making my Tunnock’s Teacake cake, so they were prepared ahead of time. If you missed the last couple of times I made marshmallows, a) where were you? and b) you can make them at home by following this recipe on Smitten Kitchen.
I based my cupcake recipe on this S’mores cake. I loved the idea of using biscuit crumbs instead if flour, to give that graham cracker/digestive flavour. I made the cakes wheat free, but of course you can forego this and use ‘normal’ biscuits and flour – you may need less liquid, so watch out for that.
This recipe makes 24 small cupcakes, but you’ll be putting a marshmallow on top so they don’t have to be big cakes.
- 200g wheat-free digestive biscuits
- 200g light brown sugar
- 200g margarine
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup wheat-free plain flour
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
I mixed up this batch using the all in one method – throw it in a bowl, mix with a hand held mixer until combined.
For the chocolate cake, I made a half batch of my favourite Devils Food Cake from Cake in the Country. I cannot recommend it enough, though I am certainly trying… I followed the recipe for this cake, which is a little more complicated than throwing everything in a bowl and mixing but works out beautifully, so it’s worth the effort.
Originally I wanted to create layered cakes, but I realised that, with both cake batters being liquid, this was going to be tricky. Still, I gave it a go and filled each cake case to about one third full with the biscuit mix, and baked for ten minutes. If I’d have given them a little longer it might have still worked, but unfortunately at ten minutes the biscuit ‘layer’ was still not really set, so when I poured on the chocolate layer the two mixed and left a kind of tie-dyed effect – much like my first attempt at rainbow cake. It wasn’t a real problem, it just didn’t work out as I’d planned. As in baking, so in life, right?
Finally, I made chocolate ganache by melting together 300g dark chocolate and 100ml single cream. This worked as icing and as glue to hold the marshmallows on the cakes. Ganache is so easy to make that it barely qualifies as a recipe. This is a point in its favour. You can also make it thicker or thinner by adjusting how much cream you,use – for a ganache that is dry and firm to touch, less cream, but for a squidgy cake or chocolate filling, use equal amounts cream and chocolate. You can also flavour it with extracts and liqueurs. It’s pretty much a modern day miracle.
So, once I had the cakes, ganache and marshmallows ready, I assembled the cakes, which was simple enough. A teaspoon of ganache on each cupcake, followed by a big, fluffy marshmallow square.
The final, and most fun, step was caramelising the top of the marshmallows. I got a chef’s blowtorch for my birthday in May but this was its first outing. I gotta tell you, it will be back before long. All my nascent pyromania came rushing to the surface. I did set the cake cases on fire a little bit. Not sure how one would avoid that except by perhaps being more careful than I had presence of mind to be. Next time I’ll work on my technique, if I’m not too consumed by the elegance of the flame…
If I could have served them there and then, that would have been amazing – the marshmallow is soft and sticky from the heat, just like a campfire treat. However, I served them the next day, when the marshmallows were set again but still soft and with an edge of bitterness from the caramelised top.
They went down an absolute storm, I was delighted with the finished result. It wasn’t exactly as I’d imagined them but, I can’t argue, they tasted great. Someone told me they’d never tasted anything like them before. I choose to believe that was a good thing.