S'mores Cupcakes

April 1 is a special day in my family. We get to celebrate not just one, but two birthdays! My cousin Bailey and my grandpa get to share their special day with each other. In honor of their birthday's, Bailey invited us all over for a "112th birthday party" this past Sunday. Since my favorite part about birthday celebrations is the cake, I offered to make some cupcakes to bring along. In my opinion you cannot have a birthday party without cake, it just isn't right. 

For this occasion I had a few more restraints than normal. Dairy products don't agree well with Bailey so the only cake options I had were dairy free ones. This can be a challenge for me; I am partial to good old butter cakes piled high with sweet and fluffy buttercream, neither of which were an option for this party. I toyed around with a couple of different ideas before having that aha moment. Early on I had decided that a chocolate cupcake made with cocoa powder would work really well for the base. Cocoa is dairy free, and although I know you can find dairy free chocolate out there, I just wasn't going to get around to buying any in time. 

What was really stumping me was the frosting. I am not a fan of using butter substitutes, I just don't think they taste good. Even the really nice brands without trans fats and all that other junk don't taste like butter. I like butter, and there really is no replacement in my book. I toyed with the idea of using coconut cream but I'm not a huge coconut fan and I'd never tried it before so didn't know how it would work. Then I came across a recipe for marshmallow frosting, basically just a meringue, and it all came together. Marshmallow frosting on a chocolate cake, only one thing is missing.... graham crackers! Who can resist a good old s'more, especially in cupcake form? The perfect dairy free cupcake to celebrate a couple of extra special people. 

This cupcake recipe is a cinch to make, all you need is one bowl and you are good to go. The recipe said it would make 1 dozen, but I always like to make a few mini cupcakes too as testers and it worked out great. I managed to get 1 dozen regular cupcakes and 6 minis.

As for the frosting; I'd never made marshmallow frosting before, but I have made marshmallows, and it was pretty much the same thing, just without the gelatin. Pretty easy to whip together, but incredibly sticky! I thought the combination of the dark chocolate cake with the sweet and light marshmallow frosting was a winner; the two complemented each other so well. I finished the whole thing off with some homemade graham crackers (dairy free of course) and some graham cracker crumbs. 

All I have left to say is: Happy Birthday Bailey and Grandpa! Have a wonderful day!

S'mores Cupcakes

Adapted from 

King Arthur Flour



  • 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
  • 1 cups (4 1/2 ounces) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/8 cup (1 1/8 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/8 cup (2 5/8 ounces) vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) coffee


  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (I actually didn't have any and it worked fine without, cream of tarter just helps stabilize the egg whites, but you can go without if you have to)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake or muffin pans with papers.

Prepare the cake batter. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add the coffee, beating until smooth. 

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cups; you'll pour a scant 1/4 cup batter (about 58g) into each cup. Bake the cupcakes for about 20-22 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes in the middle of the pan comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven. In about 5 minutes, or as soon as you can handle them, remove them from the pan, and place them on a rack to cool.

When the cupcakes are cool, make the frosting. Place the 2 egg whites in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat until the egg whites are foamy and thick; they should mound in the bowl, without holding a peak. Set them aside while you prepare the sugar syrup.

Combine the sugar, cream of tartar, water, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently; the sugar should be dissolved. If the sugar hasn't dissolved, cook and stir a bit more, until it has. Once the sugar has dissolved, boil the syrup, undisturbed, for 2 minutes, or until the syrup registers 240°F on a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer.

Begin to beat the egg whites, and immediately pour the boiling sugar syrup into the egg whites in a slow stream, beating all the while. As you beat, the mixture will thicken. Once all the syrup is added, stir in the vanilla, and continue to beat until the frosting is thick and will hold a peak.

Spoon the hot frosting atop the cooled cupcakes, swirling it decoratively.

Decorate while the frosting is still warm with graham crackers crumbs. You can also toast the edges of the frosting with a kitchen blow torch, or how I did it, using the flame on your gas stove. Just watch your fingers!

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes + 6 mini cupcakes

Graham Crackers

In my mind, graham crackers seem to take a place somewhere between cracker and cookie. They seem to be too thin and crunchy to be a cookie, but they are so sweet that it's hard to place them in the same category as a normal, savory cracker like a Wheat Thin or Ritz. Regardless of where graham crackers are categorized they are delicious and perfect for snacking on when you just want a bite of something sweet. Homemade graham crackers are even better than the store bought kind, and they don't seem to go stale as fast. Whenever I buy graham crackers they seen to go soft and stale before I can eat them all, but that is no problem here. These crackers are salty and sweet, fully flavored with honey and vanilla, baked to a deep amber crunch, perfection in a bite.

The dough for these graham crackers is pretty simple to put together. It is a bit sticky and crumbly after mixing it up, but after resting in the fridge for a few hours it is much easier to work with. To roll out the crackers, I found it easiest to split the dough into four pieces and roll out each piece separately while keeping the rest of the dough in the fridge. I like to roll my crackers pretty thin so they are nice and crisp after baking, but you can roll them a little thicker if you prefer, you just might have to adjust the baking time.

The first time I made these I tried using a cookie cutter to make nice, even shapes, but the dough became so sticky as it warmed up that it became really difficult to use the cookie cutter well. After that I just used a knife to cut the crackers into little squares or diamonds and that seemed to work a lot better. They may not be as uniform in size or shape which makes it a little more difficult to bake them evenly, but I didn't have too much trouble. I kind of like the rustic look that cutting out the crackers free hand gives.

These puppies can over bake in mere seconds, so watch them carefully toward the end of baking, especially if they are quite thin. Right after pulling them out of the oven they will still be slightly soft, but don't worry, as they cool they will crisp up right away.

I can't wait until summer when I can make a big batch of these homemade graham crackers to have ready by the campfire, just waiting to create the perfect smore!

Some all purpose flour and some whole wheat flour,

the base for my graham crackers

Add in the brown sugar

Measure out the honey and the milk

Then in goes the vanilla

Cold butter, ready to go

Into the mixing bowl

Mix until nice and crumbly

Add in the liquid

And mix it up until it almost comes together, it will

still be quite crumbly

Dump it all on top of some greased plastic, and place in the refrigerator for a few hours

Cut off about a fourth of the dough and get ready to roll

Rolling, rolling, rolling...

All done

Nice and thin

Start cutting out your shapes

Place on a baking sheet and dock with the 

tines of a fork


Perfect for snacking

Graham Crackers
From Smitten Kitchen

  • 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (375 grams) flour (I used about 2/3 all purpose and 1/3 whole wheat)
  • 1 cup (176 grams) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt (4 grams)
  • 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
  • 1/3 cup (114 grams) mild-flavored honey, such as clover
  • 5 tablespoons (77 grams) milk, full-fat is best
  • 2 tablespoons (27 grams) pure vanilla extract

Topping (optional)

  • 3 tablespoons (43 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) ground cinnamon

Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. (If you don't have a food processor or electric mixer, you can cut the ingredients together with a pastry blender. Just make sure they're very well incorporated.)

Add the honey, milk and vanilla to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft, sticky and crumbly. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dust it lightly with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Wrap it, then chill it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight. Meanwhile, prepare the topping, if using, by combining the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and setting aside.

Divide the dough for rolling (I cut mine into fourths), take one piece and return the rest of the dough to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut the dough into crackers of your desired shape and size, (you can square off the edges if you want to make the crackers nice and neat, or just leave the ragged edges for a rustic touch.) I like small squares or diamonds, perfect for snacking on.

Place the crackers on parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping if using. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350°F. Use a fork, toothpick or skewer to prick the dough if desired.

Bake for 11-15 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Watch them carefully toward the end of baking, they can over cook quickly if you aren't paying attention, and nobody likes a burned cracker.