My ongoing obsession with s’mores-flavored-things-that-aren’t-s’mores continues with these delightful cupcakes. I used this as an excuse to buy a culinary blowtorch, which was very fun to use. (Tip: that particular torch is used with butane canisters that are usually used with camping stoves, which can be found cheaply at hardware stores or, apparently, Asian markets.)
Toasting the marshmallow frosting is a really nice aesthetic touch, but I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference as far as the taste, so you’d be fine without if you’re not an impulse buyer like I am. If you decide to go for it, be careful when you’re toasting them — it’s easy to set those cupcake liners on fire. But I’m definitely not speaking from experience, no way, no how. I definitely did not ever-so-slightly singe the edges of any of those liners.
The plain cupcakes can be made ahead of time and stored in airtight containers overnight, and probably a little longer in the fridge. The ganache can also be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge.
However, from what I’ve read that this frosting doesn’t take well to being stored. It makes far more than is needed for these cupcakes, so I’ve had it in my fridge. I’ve been eating it on my failed attempt at the All the Colors of the Rainbow (Chip) Cake, and it seems to have stood up just fine. You can take your chances if you want, but it is fairly quick to whip up so you might want to do it when you need it.
A funny thing about this marshmallow frosting… it doesn’t actually contain any marshmallows, or even marshmallow fluff. My friend Emily loves the smell of a freshly opened container of marshmallow fluff (yeah, I know…), and she kept asking if she could come over and sniff when I was made this frosting. Smelling freshly cracked egg whites just isn’t the same, I suppose. Anyway, the lack of marshmallows means this recipe is vegetarian without having to drop mad dough on those yummy-but-pricey vegan ‘mallows.
Chopped and screwed from Graham Cracker Cake from All Cakes Considered by Melissa Gray and Fluffy White Icing-Marshmallow Frosting by Cake Duchess
Makes 24 cupcakes
25 graham crackers
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
8 ounces chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk according to preference)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
4 egg whites, room temperature
1/3 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Position your rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners.
Turn your graham crackers into crumbs in your food processor. Add coconut and pulverize until everything is pulverized and integrated.
In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Add sugar gradually and beat until fully blended, scraping down the sides as needed.
Add two of the egg yolks, beat for one minute, add the other two, then beat for an additional minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla, then beat for one minute more.
Reduce the speed to low, and add graham cracker crumbs and milk in three batches, stirring to combine between each addition — about 1 heaping cup of crumbs and 1/3 cup of milk for each batch. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then stir again briefly to make sure the batter is fully blended.
If you only have one bowl for your stand mixer, transfer this batter to a large bowl and wash and dry your mixing bowl. If you have an extra, well bully for you.
Add egg whites to clean mixing bowl and attach your whisk attachment to the mixer. Beat on medium speed until frothy, then add cream of tartar. Increase speed to medium high and beat until the egg whites have firm peaks.
Add about a quarter of the egg whites to your bowl of graham batter, and fold in gently until combined. Then fold in the remaining egg whites.
Divide batter evenly among your 24 cupcake liners, and toss them in the oven. If your oven is not big enough to put them side by side, you’ll have to be extra careful about swapping them halfway through your cooking time.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in pans for ten minutes, then remove from pans and cool fully on a wire rack.
Then, ganache darnit (sorry), get that chocolate and cream out! Put the chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl. Add cream to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom, until it just starts to boil. You’ll just have the tiniest bubbles starting to form at the edges. Pour your hot cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Stir carefully until melted chocolate combines with the cream to create a dreamy creamy chocolate sauce. Cover and let chill in the fridge until it firms up to a consistency like soft fudge.
While your ganache is chilling, cut holes into the top of your cooled cupcakes — a bit bigger than an inch in diameter, and until you’re about a half inch away from the bottom of the cupcake. I use a small paring knife.
Once your ganache is chilled, add it to a piping bag with a large round tip (or a zip top bag and snip the corner off until you have a large tip). Put the tip all the way to the bottom of the hole in each cupcake. Squeeze and slowly raise to fill the hole completely with ganache. I like to fill them until each cupcake starts to bulge a little bit. It’s fine if your ganache is not completely level with the top of the cupcake.
Once you’ve filled all the cupcakes, it’s frosting time!
Put your egg whites in the bowl of the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Stir on medium low speed until your whites become frothy and thick and form soft peaks.
While your egg whites are whipping, combine sugar, water, and cream of tartar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat without stirring. Boil until the temperature on a candy thermometer reads 245 degrees — you’ll have a thick clear syrup that is covered with bubbles. Do not let it turn brown! Remove from heat.
Try to time your egg whites so they are are ready when the sugar comes off. Turn the mixer to high speed, set a timer for 7 minutes, then very carefully pour the sugar syrup into the mixer in a very thin stream. Once you’ve poured all of the sugar syrup in, sit back and don’t touch!
In the last minute of stirring, add the vanilla.
Now you have a fluffy white frosting. Taste it. Doesn’t it taste just like marshmallows??
Add to a piping bag with a large round tip. Be gentle with it so you don’t deflate it. Starting in the middle of each cupcake, right on top of the ganache, squeeze a blob of frosting out that is about the size of a mini marshmallow (maybe a big mini marshmallow…). Now squeeze out little matching blobs all around the one in the middle until you’ve covered the top of the cupcake.
Now for the fun part! With a small flame, gently torch the top of each cupcake until the frosting is browned to your liking. For some people this means golden brown, but for those of you who are in the “char it to hell” camp, go nuts.
If you’re making these to bring somewhere but still want to taste them before you go, add some of those cake cores to a bowl. Heat up the leftover ganache for 15 seconds or so in the microwave, and drizzle over the cake. Then glop a big spoonful of frosting on top. Yum. You might want to eat it with a fork, though.