I think I'm off to a good start. Yesterday was my first (of 30) attempts at cupcake creating. The flavor - Smore's. The plan a chocolate cupcake in between two graham crackers and marshmallow frosting.
I started with the cupcake. I wanted it to be a super moist chocolate cake and it couldn't be from a mix (just a note: none of the 30 cupcake creations will be from a mix). So, I found a recipe online and started to lay out the ingredients. As I thought more about Smore's I realized I need to add the 'gooey' part. Smore's are inherently messy. Usually it comes from the marshmallows but I figured adding a lava cake feel to the chocolate would be good enough. So, back to Google and a recipe for making the 'lava' part of the chocolate cake. I found some recipe that simply melted down chocolate and whipping cream. A slight alteration of the recipe (I didn't have whipping cream but just bought milk) and I was good to go.
Next up, the marshmallow frosting. I found the perfect recipe and halved it - it just seemed a bit over-the-top as far as ingredients went. Now it was time to get to work.
Step 1: Bite sized graham crackers at the bottom of each cupcake liner.
Step 2: Prepare 'gooey' chocolate mixture which entailed heating up a 1/2 cup milk and melting down a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Then refrigerating to harden a bit. It was supposed to sit for an hour in the refrigerator but I was ready to use before that. I think it turned out just fine regardless.
Step 3: Prepare chocolate cake batter. I found a simple recipe from a blog that claimed 'moist' so I went with it. Combine dry ingredients - 1 cup sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used dark chocolate cocoa powder although it called for unsweetened), 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt. Sift together. Then combine wet ingredients - 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 2 tsps. vanilla extract. Start with mixing the wet ingredients and slowly add the dry. When it's all mixed add 1 cup boiling water. It's a bit runny to start but that's okay.
Step 4: Pour and Cook. I filled the cupcake liner about 3/4 full with cupcake batter and then put a large spoonful of the melted chocolate on top. Bake for about 21 minutes at 350.
Step 5: Make the frosting. Over simmering water I whisked 4 egg whites, 1 cup sugar, and a 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar for about 3 - 4 minutes. Then I removed the bowl from the water and proceeded to whisk for what seemed like forever with a hand held mixer with a whisk attachment. After several minutes the hand held mixer was heating up so I switched over to my Cuisinart stand mixer with whisk attachment. I cranked that baby up and whisked until there was glossy stiff peaks. Done. One thing to note - the frosting turned out a bit grainy due to the kind of sugar I was using. I would recommend a super fine sugar. I guess another thing to note - I got sick of whisking and so my frosting isn't as stiff as it should be. I think if I had used the Cuisinart from the get go it would have been fine. But in the long run I like how it turned out - it looks like a melted marshmallow.
Step 6: Frost and decorate. I think I need to invest in a real piping bag although the cut Ziploc bag worked out this time. If the frosting had been stiffer and I had a real piping back I would have ended up with nice little decorative mounds of frosting - instead I have melted marshmallows. I'll opt for the latter for these cupcakes. Final touch - a bit of graham cracker to close the S'more (see the first picture).
Success! I have to admit (all modesty aside) that these cupcakes are excellent. Gabe will attest that I was high-fiving throughout the rest of the day - basking in my glorious baking skills. I mean come on - the last cupcake I made was from a mix and the one before that tasted excellent but turned out to be more like muffins - super dense (both don't count towards my 30). So let me bask.