Let's start by preheating the oven to 350F. Now, combine all the dry ingredients together in a big bowl. Separately combine the wet ingredients together. Set aside and prepare the crumb mixture that will line the bottom of these cupcakes.
In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar. Place approximately 1 tbsp. of the crumb mixture into each muffin cup. I used a #50 ice cream scoop to keep things nice and neat.
The recipe says to pack down the crumbs with the bottom of a glass, but all of my glasses were too wide so I used my Pampered Chef wooden-mini-muffin-crust-press-thingy (I've had this thing for years, but I think this is the very first time I've ever used it... it worked great btw).
On the left, the neat little mounds of pre-measured crumbs. On the right, the crumbs are gently tamped into place to form a bottom crust.
Next they get a nice healthy dose of chocolate. The recipe calls for chopped bittersweet chocolate, but I was in too much of a hurry to chop 9 ounces of chocolate so mini semi-sweet chips fit the bill. Add 2 tsp. to each cup. Then into a 350F oven for 5 minutes (the chocolate will be soft after 5 minutes, but will still hold it's shape).
Now it's time to combine the wet and dry ingredient. Mix together on low for 30 seconds. Scrape bowl and increase speed to high and mix 2 minutes. Add boiling water and combine. Batter is very, very liquid-y. Looks like chocolate milk.
The recipe said to fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full.
The cupcakes domed nicely in the oven, but cooled with these weird kind of humps. I filled the second batch about 4/5 full....
They looked much better, but there was still a little hump action... don't know what that's all about, but I wasn't too worried because I knew the marshmallow frosting would hide all flaws!
Speaking of the marshmallow frosting... place your stand mixer bowl over a barely simmering pot of water. Whisk egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar together until sugar crystals are completely dissolved and the egg whites are warm (3-4 min).
Then transfer the mixer bowl to the stand mixer and whip the warm whites until stiff peaks form (5-7 minutes) - add vanilla and beat just a minute to combine.
I piped frosting swirls using a size 1M tip, then got out one of my favorite kitchen toys...
My torch :). It's so much fun to use. Great for browning Creme Brulee and Meringue.
Voila! The look yummy, don't they?
These cupcakes were for a school party. Check out this neat cupcake carrier I found at my favorite store Costco. It actually came with 3 tiers, but I'm only using 2 of them here - each one holds 12 cupcakes. I'll post more about this nifty carrier later.
I had extra cupcakes to play around with - here's what happens when you use the same piping tip, but vary the application slightly. The cupcakes in the back were piped in a swirl motion, starting from the outside and swirling in, resulting in an ice cream cone-like dollop. The cupcakes in the front were piped in a swirl motion starting from the inside and swirling out, resulting in a flatter top that resembles a rosette.
Mmmm - enjoy!
Items used to make this recipe:
professional cupcake pan https://amzn.to/2InwodR
foil cupcake liners https://amzn.to/2I7ZnTD
kitchen torch https://amzn.to/2IdzIZI
cupcake carrier https://amzn.to/2D6CXOB
disposable piping bags https://amzn.to/2IoX2Tq
large open star piping tip https://amzn.to/2Gbr8Zg
pure vanilla extract https://amzn.to/2UHQtCi
makes 24+ cupcakes
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon natural cocoa powder (substitution listed below)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (or mini chocolate chips)
8 large egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
Sift 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer.
Using the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed.
In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.
Add to flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.
Scrape down sides of bowl if necessary and continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.
Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined.
Place 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup.
Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner.
Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping. (note - I didn't have any crumbs leftover from making the bottom crusts so I skipped this step)
Place 2 teaspoons chocolate in each muffin cup.
Bake for about 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and fill each muffin cup 3/4 to 4/5 full with cake batter.
Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture.
Return to oven and bake until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.
Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large start tip.
Pipe frosting in a spiral motion on each cupcake.
Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet.
Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container, up to 2 days.
To make the marshmallow frosting:
Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer.
Set bowl over a saucepan with simmering water.
Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately.
The marshmallow frosting is very sweet and you might want to have a wet paper towel handy when you eat one of these cupcakes... despite how careful I tried to be, I ended up with little spots of sticky white marshmallow all over my hands and face (not a graceful cupcake - don't want to see what will happen when a little one eats one of these). Aside from that, these are really moist and delicious! I had quite a bit of leftover cake batter... enough for 6 additional cupcakes (no graham cracker crumbs leftover for crusts though). And I think I have enough leftover meringue frosting to frost another batch of cupcakes.