These s'mores cupcakes are made up of a fudgy chocolate brownie cupcake with the middle scooped out and filled with salted caramel and topped with toasted marshmallow meringue and graham crumbs.
Is it sad that I've never made legit campfire s'mores with the whole burnt marshmallow on a stick and circle of friends laughing around a bonfire thing? I mean, first of all, I'm pretty sure it's illegal to have campfires anywhere in Vancouver because of the strict wildfire laws. The thought of eating a marshmallow off a random branch is kind of unsanitary. And then there's the problem that I don't really have friends to do this all with. *cry laughing emoji or mostly just crying emoji*
But you know what? Blowtorches are a wonderful thing. I just finally got one and I can't stop trying to torch EVERYTHING. It's so much fun watching the fluffy white marshmallows instantly transform into deep brown and burnt hues. It's also scary which is why I guess I get a thrill from it and also make my fiancé do the torching while I prepare to put out a fire, just in case.
If you're interested, this is the exact blowtorch that I got. It's legit meant for soldering pipes so it's heavy duty and a low key flamethrower. BUT you can adjust the strength of the flame and the low flame is perfect for torching marshmallow meringue.
You can have s'mores in the form of s'mores cupcakes as the perfect end of summer treat. They're great for bringing to end of summer parties too. I don't miss a thing about campfire s'mores.
Anatomy of a s'mores cupcake
This s'mores cupcake recipe has three parts:
The chocolate cupcake base is fudgy and moist. It's almost like a brownie in texture but still light enough to be a cake. Making the chocolate cupcakes is pretty standard. Cream together the wet ingredients with the sugar and then fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Bake the cupcakes in your favourite cupcake liners - mine are basic parchment liners.
The salted caramel filling is the little surprise you'll find upon biting into one of these cupcakes. The caramel adds some flair and keeps the cupcake from being just chocolate. The meringue on top doesn't have much flavour so the caramel helps give the cupcake more sweetness and saltiness. The caramel is made by simply melting sugar in a pan and stirring in heavy cream and butter until it's thick and opaque.
The marshmallow meringue on top is the most visually pleasing part. The meringue is made by heating egg whites and sugar in a double boiler and then whipped until it's white, glossy, and stiff peaks. You should be able to flip the bowl upside down and the meringue shouldn't budge.
How to fill s'mores cupcakes with caramel
If a cupcake isn't filled with something on the inside, it's just boring. No boring cupcakes allowed here. These s'mores cupcakes are filled with salted caramel because they're just that extra.
To fill cupcakes, just scoop out the middle section of the cupcakes, about halfway deep into the cupcakes. A small melon baller works great for this. I have a double-ended melon baller and I use the smaller end to do this. You can also use a knife to dig out a small hole. You can then have a little snack with all the center pieces of cake. You need to taste test ok!
You want to fill the cupcakes with a filling that isn't too liquid otherwise the cake will just absorb it all. Something thick like caramel, buttercream, pastry cream, nut butter, or jam are great fillings.
How to torch marshmallow meringue without burning your house down
Blowtorches can be dangerous if you're not careful. Follow the instructions for your specific blowtorch.
If you have a kitchen or chef's torch, you may only have one flame intensity. If your blowtorch has an adjustable flame, use the lowest setting.
Using the lowest flame on your blowtorch gives you more time to evenly torch your meringue and you can even go over the same spot multiple times without burning it on the first pass.
Start from one side of the marshmallow meringue and quickly run the tip of the flame over the surface of the meringue, without staying in the same spot for too long. Go over any spots that need a little bit more colour again afterwards.
Tips for perfect s'mores cupcakes
- Don't overbake your chocolate cupcakes. Insert a toothpick into a cupcake to check for doneness. These cupcakes are moist so there will be some moisture and crumbs on the toothpick. As long as the toothpick isn't wet from batter, they're ready.
- Make sure the cupcakes and caramel have cooled completely before filling the cupcakes otherwise the cake will absorb the caramel and you won't an oozy filling.
- Use a fun piping tip like an open star tip or closed star tip to pipe the marshmallow meringue. After torching it, the piping pattern really stands out and looks amazing.
- You can make the chocolate cupcakes and caramel ahead of time the day before but make the marshmallow meringue before serving.
More s’mores dessert recipes to try
S'mores Cupcakes with Caramel Filling
- 110 g all-purpose flour
- 50 g natural cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 60 g unsalted butter, softened
- 180 g granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk (save the egg white for later)
- 60 g milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 105 g granulated sugar
- 120 g heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large egg whites
- 150 g granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer or stand mixer until creamy.
- Add the eggs, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla extract and cream together for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and fold together with a silicone spatula until no large patches of dry flour remain. Don't overmix.
- Spoon the batter into cupcake liners until about ¾ full.
- Bake cupcakes for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let cupcakes cool completely. Using a small melon baller or knife, scoop out the middle section of each cupcake about halfway deep.
- In a small saucepan, heat sugar on medium heat until melted and browned.
- Remove pan from heat and pour in heavy cream while stirring constantly. Be careful as mixture will bubble up once you add the cream. Keep stirring until mixture is opaque light brown and coats the back of a spoon, about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in butter until melted and incorporated.
- Transfer caramel to a small container to cool completely. It will thicken as it cools.
- Spoon about 1-2 tablespoons into each cupcake until filled to the top.
- In a small pot, bring about an inch of water to a simmer.
- Add the egg whites and sugar to a heat-safe bowl that fits perfectly into the pot without touching the water.
- Stir constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 4 minutes. Rub a bit of egg white between your fingers and it should not feel grainy at all.
- Remove the bowl from the pot and add the cream of tartar.
- With a hand mixer or stand mixer, whisk the egg whites on low speed until frothy. Increase to high speed and beat until the meringue reaches stiff peaks, about 5-7 minutes. The meringue should stand up on its own when the whisk is pulled out of it.
- Transfer meringue to a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip such as a Wilton #2D.
- Starting from one side each cupcake, pipe in a side to side motion until you reach the other side and the surface of the cupcake is covered with meringue.
- Using a blowtorch on a low setting, torch the meringue until browned and toasted. Sprinkle with a handful of crushed graham crackers.
- Toasted cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.