At its base, this S'mores Cupcake recipe is a chocolate espresso cupcake, which has been called "the most delicious chocolate cupcake I've ever had" with a graham cracker crust base and topped with a marshmallow-style meringue frosting. Super easy, nothing fancy, just delicious fall fun!
The allure of a perfect s'mores cupcake is hard to resist. This recipe is a step-by-step guide to creating the perfect s'mores cupcakes, with a few secret ingredients and techniques that will elevate your cupcake game to a whole new level.
It's important to have all your ingredients at room temperature before you start. This ensures that the ingredients blend together smoothly and evenly, resulting in a better texture in your cupcakes.
- Granulated Sugar
- All Purpose Flour
- Cocoa Powder
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Table Salt
- Whole Milk
- Vegetable Oil
- Eggs + Egg Whites
- Cream of Tartar (stabilizer for egg whites)
- Vanilla Extract
The full recipe is available below to be saved on Pinterest or printed out to have on hand while you're working in the kitchen. Here is a review of what we are getting into...
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and lining your cupcake pan with your favorite cupcake liners.
For the graham cracker bottom, combine graham cracker crumbs with some butter and sugar to create a buttery graham cracker crust. Press this mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner before adding the cupcake batter. This will create a graham cracker base that adds a crunchy texture and a delicious graham cracker flavor to the cupcakes.
Mix Dry Ingredients:
In a large mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients. This includes cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Add Wet Ingredients
Next, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. This includes coffee/espresso, milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. The batter will be thin, but this is normal and will result in moist chocolate cupcakes.
Fill Cupcake Liners
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners in your cupcake pan.
I'm pretty obsessed with these perfect little cupcake wrappers. When unwrapped, they fold out into their own little plate. They come in white, black, and tan. Pretty obsessed with them.
Bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
After baking, let the cupcakes cool in the pan until they are cool enough to move over to the counter or a serving tray.
Separate Egg Whites
Start by separating the egg whites in a separate bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, cream of tartar, and egg whites.
Place your bowl on top of a pot of simmering water, creating a double boiler situation. Stir the egg whites slowly until the mixture reaches around 155 degrees.
Once you've reached the desired temperature, remove the bowl from the heat and add the vanilla extract.
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the sugary egg whites on medium speed for about 8-10 minutes or until you have nice stiff peaks.
Ensure that your cupcakes are completely cooled before adding the frosting to prevent it from melting.
To decorate the cupcakes, use a piping bag with a simple circle tip. We used a Wilton 806 tip but an 808 would work as well. Pipe the frosting onto the top of each cupcake, keeping in mind we will be toasting it next so it doesn't need to be fancy.
Toasting Your Frosting
Using a kitchen torch, toast the edges/sides/peaks of the frosting until you are happy with the result. This step adds the toasted marshmallow flavor and makes the cupcakes look wildly gourmet.
Be mindful of the edges of the cupcake wrappers though! I may or may not have caught one of fire...
If you don't have a torch, you can get one for under $20 on amazon and it will make your cake or cupcakes look like they are straight from a professional bakery.
How Coffee Reacts to Chocolate
The base of the s'mores cupcake is a super moist chocolate cake, with a secret ingredient that adds a deep flavor profile - espresso. Don't worry if you're not a coffee lover; the espresso isn't overpowering. It subtly enhances the chocolate flavor, making you wonder, "Why is this so GOOD?!" without being too dominant. For coffee lovers, feel free to make the espresso flavor stronger without hurting the recipe. You can use a standard cup of coffee or a shot of espresso diluted with water. Alternatively, you can use all espresso for a more robust flavor.
Favorite Cupcake Liners
The choice of cupcake liners can significantly impact the final presentation of your cupcakes. For best results, consider using fluted cupcake wrappers. These wrappers fold out into their own little plate, making them not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. They come in various colors, including white, black, and tan, to match any occasion or theme.
Making it a Cake vs a Cupcake
Using the exact same recipe, I have also made a s'mores cake! Add a little graham cracker sprinkle in between each layer and boom, you get this show-stopper. You can find full videos of how I stacked and layered this beauty in the recipe below!
S'more Cake & Cupcakes
- Mini Torch optional
- 5 Egg Whites
- 1 ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
- ¾ teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Chocolate Espresso Cake
- 2 cups Granulated Sugar
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- ¾ cup Cocoa Powder
- 2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- ½ cup Vegetable Oil
- 2 Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup Coffee
Graham Cracker Bottom
- 2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
- 6 tablespoon Unsalted Butter - melted
- ⅓ cup Granulated Sugar
Graham Cracker Bottom
- In a small bowl mix together your graham cracker crumbs, 6 tablespoon melted butter, and ⅓ cup sugar a mix together.
- Line your cupcake pan, and add 1-2 tablespoons of your graham cracker crust base to each one. Pressing down slightly until you've created a solid bottom and then set them aside.
Chocolate Espresso Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. This would include your flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, & salt.
- Add the coffee/espresso, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla to the dry ingredient bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Note the batter will be thin.
- Pour on top of the graham cracker base cupcake liners until each is about ⅔ full.
- Bake 20-25 minutes for cupcakes.
- While your cupcakes are baking & cooling, let's work on the frosting!
- Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. I highly suggest doing this in a small bowl one by one, then adding them to your larger bowl. This will prevent you from accidentally getting any yolk mixed in.
- In a medium/large glass bowl, mix together the sugar, cream of tartar, and egg whites.
- Place your bowl on top of a pot of simmering water. An inch of water will do here. We are looking for a double-boiler kind of situation.
- Using a small whisk or spatula, mix the egg whites slowly until it reaches around 155 degrees. I highly recommend a digital thermometer for this!
- Once you're at temp, remove your bowl off the stove (be careful the bottom and sides will be hot) and add your vanilla extract.
- Using an electric mixer, whisk your sugary egg whites for 8-10 minutes or until you have nice stiff peaks.
- Make sure your cake or cupcakes are completely cooled before adding your frosting.
- Note: Use a pastry bag & simple circle tip for decorating the cupcakes!
- If you'd like to toast your marshmallow meringue, decorate your cake or cupcakes as desired, and then using a mini torch toast the edges/sides/peaks until you are happy with your masterpiece.
Q: Can I turn this recipe into a s'mores cake?
A: Yes, you can also turn this recipe into a s'mores cake. Just use the same recipe and add a little graham cracker sprinkle between each layer.
Q: Do I need special tools for this recipe?
A: Some of the tools you'll need include a kitchen torch, an electric mixer, and a piping bag. These tools will ensure the best results and make your baking process much smoother.
Q: How can I store these cupcakes?
A: These cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you want to keep them longer, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just make sure to bring them back to room temperature before serving for the best taste and texture.
Q: Can I use a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer for the meringue?
A: Yes, you can use a hand mixer to make the frosting. However, it might take a bit longer to achieve stiff peaks with a hand mixer compared to a stand mixer.
Q: Can I add other toppings to these cupcakes?
A: Absolutely! Feel free to get creative with your toppings. You can add chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, or even a drizzle of chocolate ganache for extra decadence.
Q: Can I use a different type of sugar for the frosting?
A: This recipe calls for regular granulated sugar for the frosting and I wouldn't break away from that. Powdered sugar is much finer and much sweeter, which will result in undesirable results.
Q: Can I make these cupcakes ahead of time?
A: Yes, you can make these cupcakes a day ahead. Just store them in an airtight container at room temperature and add the frosting just before serving.
Q: What can I do if I don't have a kitchen torch?
A: If you don't have a kitchen torch, you can broil the frosted cupcakes in your oven to get that toasted marshmallow effect. Just be sure to watch them closely to prevent burning.
Q: Can I use a different type of frosting?
A: Yes, while this recipe uses a marshmallow meringue frosting, you can also use other types of frosting like a classic simple American buttercream, cream cheese frosting or peanut butter frosting if you prefer.
Q: Can I use a cupcake corer to fill these cupcakes?
A: Absolutely! If you want to add an extra surprise to these cupcakes, you can use a cupcake corer to remove a small piece from the center of the cupcakes after they have cooled. Then, fill the hole with your favorite filling like chocolate ganache, extra graham cracker crumbs, or marshmallow cream before frosting the cupcakes.
Q: Can I use a chocolate cake mix instead of making the cake from scratch?
A: Yes, you can use a chocolate cake mix for this recipe if you're short on time. Just follow the instructions on the box and add the espresso or coffee in the place of water to enhance the chocolate flavor.
It's always fun to see how others interpret and execute a recipe. So, don't forget to share your s'mores cupcake creations on social media.