Before we begin... the list of ingredients is in the post below!
Begin by preparing one devil's food cake mix not according to package directions, you'll want to use Saucy directions for this one. Don't know the Saucy directions? Here is a refresher:
Mix one cake mix package in stand mixer with three eggs, 1/2 cup melted butter, and one cup water or milk. Water is fine, if you like really dense and heavy cake, use milk - or buttermilk.
Blend on low speed for a minute and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Crank up the mixer to high speed and blend for 2-3 minutes until it is smooth and lighter in colour.
Using an ice cream scoop, place an equal amount in papers lining a muffin tin. Bake 16-18 minutes at 350 degrees.
While the cupcakes are in the oven, you have time to prep your toppings.
Cut your Hershey bar into small bite-sized pieces.
Then, put mini marshmallows on the ends of small pretzel rods - and using the kitchen torch you picked up this weekend - give them a light browning. Be careful! Marshmallows are pure sugar, and just like over a campfire, they can burn easily. The kitchen torch is strong: use it on its lowest setting for this task. Torch all of the marshmallow-pretzels and set aside.
Next, decide if you need to cut your graham wafers in two. This depends on the brand of crackers you use. I like mine split like this:
Mix your buttercream frosting: blend one cup of real butter with one cup of vegetable shortening until smooth. Add a pinch of salt and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Gradually add 4 cup of confectioner's sugar, beating well after each addition. Eventually you will have a very thick and gooey mixture. On the highest speed of your mixer, stream in the heavy whipping cream - pour in nice and slow, not too much at once.
How much whipping cream? This is where I haven't got much more of a guesstimate for you. I think this depends on how warm your kitchen is and how heavy the cream is. I'd say at least 1/4 cup. You'll be mixing at very, very high speed, so you're sort of whipping the cream along with the frosting... get it... buttercream.
You'll just have to stop and test the texture of the buttercream as you go. This is the fearless part. Abandon the idea that you need an exact measure. If you stick the back of a teaspoon into your buttercream and pull some out, and it sticks to the spoon with little peaks... then it's good. Stop adding cream. That's all I have to say about that.
Surely your cupcakes must be done by now. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. When completely cool to the touch, use a melon baller to scoop out the insides, like so:
You'll need the caramel or butterscotch topping I mentioned last week. This is what I had on hand:
Off a teaspoon, drizzle some of the caramel topping around the marshmallow. It's really very easy. Kids could do it. The reason you need to do this step is to soften the marshmallow. This way, when someone cuts or bites into the cupcake, the marshmallow is soft and gooey, not a dense ball of marshmallow in the centre. Even the freshest marshmallows would just be a dense ball if left alone, buried in the middle of a dry cake. You absolutely need to soften it with something:
Next, prepare your melting chocolate. Not very much, I'd say about 1/2 cup of melted chocolate is fine. I melt mine over a double boiler but you can use the microwave if you like, according to package directions. Melt the chocolate and set it aside to cool a bit.
The last step is simply to assemble your s'mores cupcakes. For a refresher on how to frost a cupcake, click here.
Swirl your buttercream nicely atop each cake. Push one piece of Hershey's chocolate into the buttercream pile. Take a piece of graham wafer and dip it into the cooled melted chocolate. Push it gently into the buttercream... the melted chocolate will sort of ooze down the side of the cracker and land in the frosting... oooh. Yes...
Lastly, top your cupcakes with graham crumbs and mini chocolate chips. Top it off with the pretzel-marshmallow stick and enjoy!
** Store in a cool place in an airtight container. Serve at room temperature.