These were challenging and fun. I think that the next time I try them I will have more success. I made them last spring for a Sex and the City movie party (hence the hot pink table covering and gold star confetti), for friends and they were a huge hit. They were delicious and not too sweet.
I first saw them on Martha Stewart's show when Jennifer Shea, the owner of Trophy Cupcakes in Seattle (see this post). Then, my parents stopped there and picked some up and they were amazing. I found the recipe on the MS website and decided to give it a shot.
The cake was extremely easy to make, I've made it since for other cupcakes, but substituted the boiling water for coffee and it was awesome.
Before I attempt them again I will own a butane kitchen torch so I can do a better job of browning them. This time I put them under the broiler and watched them very carefully. And also, I think if the egg whites for the frosting were room temperature, and I had whipped the topping until it was a bit thicker it may have piped better.
Here's Trophy Cupcakes' cupcake (obviously put mine to shame):
2 1/4 cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar
1 3/4 cups AP flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
Sift 2 cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt 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 flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl 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 tbsp. 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 cup liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping.
Place 2 tsp. chocolate in each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each cup 3/4-full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.
Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round or French tip (such as Ateco #867 or Ateco #809). 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.
Marshmallow Frosting Ingredients:
8 large egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and egg whites are warm to the touch, about 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.
Makes 24 cupcakes.