Friday, November 11, 2016

S'Mores Cupcakes

To break the monotonous bread posts, I thought I would share a cupcake recipe.  This was the cupcakes that I made for my son's birthday last month.  I had to return the book to the library before I had a chance to write down the recipe hence the gap of almost a month.  So here in November I'm writing the recipe since I got to borrow the book again.  The book is called Cake Magic!  Mix and Match Your Way to 100 Amazing Combinations by Caroline Wright.  I've always loved trying out recipes from a new book and this book has lots of colorful photos and ideas to make cakes from a few basic recipes.  There are about eight cake recipes where each recipe has four or five variants of flavors.  It's pretty interesting and I'd love to try some more recipes.

So there's a dry cake mix that you need to prepare before you choose which kind of cake you'd want to make.  In this case, I chose to do a brown sugar cake.  I'd add brown sugar, butter, eggs, yogurt, etc to the dry cake mix to make the cake.  Within brown sugar cake category, there's a few options/add-ins to the cake.  For example, cinnamon-raisin, nuts, chocolate chip, root beer , and so on.  In addition to that, this book uses different kinds of syrups to soak the cake, sort of making it has a more complex flavor and helping the cake stays moist.  It's kinda fun to pick and choose which flavor combinations to go with, and the book gives plenty of pairings examples.

The only thing that I don't like is the method of making the cake.  It involves only dump and stir the ingredients resulting in a cake that has quick-bread-like texture rather than a fine and luxurious crumbs.  I'm going to try the creaming method next time I try another recipe, hoping to improve the texture of the cake.  But we love the flavor combination for this time and this S'mores Cupcakes was a hit!

S'Mores Cupcakes

Yields 24 cupcakes

Cake Magic! Cake Mix:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together well to combine.  Whisk the mix again before measuring.

Brown Sugar Cake:

1 quantity of Cake Magic! Cake Mix, whisked well before measuring
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup full-fat plain yogurt
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Vanilla Syrup
Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting
Graham Cracker Crumble
Mini marshmallows or large marshmallows, cut into two

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.  Line 2 x 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.

Whisk together the cake mix, baking soda, and brown sugar in a large bowl.  Stir in the butter, yogurt, water, molasses, vanilla, and eggs until moistened and no lumps remain.  Divide the batter between the prepared pans.

Bake until the layers are domed and a few moist crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the center of the cake, 20 to 25 minutes.  Make the Vanilla Syrup.

Remove the pans from the oven, pierce the cupcakes while they're still in the pans with a skewer.  Generously brush the Vanilla Syrup over the surface to the hot cakes.  Place the pans on cooling rack to cool completely.  This may take up to an hour.  Take the cupcakes out of the pans.

While waiting for the cupcakes to cool, make the frosting.  Frost the cupcakes with Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting.  Sprinkle the Graham Cracker Crumble on top, pat down to make them stick.  Top each cupcake with marshmallows.  Torch the marshmallows until slightly blackened.

Vanilla Syrup:

Makes 1 cup

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine the sugar, water, and salt in a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for about 5 minutes.  Stir to dissolve the sugar, then stir in the vanilla and remove from the heat.  Set aside to cool.  Use the syrup warm or let it stand, covered, until it reaches room temperature.

Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting:

Makes 2 cups

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

Combine the butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, salt, and 1 cup of the sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.  Add the remaining sugar and beat on medium speed until the frosting is pale and no longer grainy, about 2 minutes.

Graham Cracker Crumble:

Makes about 3 cups

2 sleeves graham crackers (about 10 cracker sheets), finely crushed (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup malted milk powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 300 degree F.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, malted milk powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and toss to combine.  Drizzle with melted butter over the crumb mixture and stir until clumps form.

Scatter the clumps onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake until the crumbles are golden brown and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes.  Let cool completely before using.

This can be made ahead as it can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days.

Source:  adapted from Cake Magic!  Mix and Match Your Way to 100 Amazing Combination by Caroline Wright

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