Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve got to say it: I don’t like Pumpkin Spice, the flavor. Doesn’t matter if it’s in a latte, a candy bar, ice cream… I tend to stay away.

But pumpkin, spiced? Now that’s a flavor. It all comes down to ingredients, and where the “spice” is coming from. When you take actual pumpkin and punch it up with spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, you get magic. When you dilute it all down to some Pumpkin Spice syrup, you really just get the sugar.

The Pumpkin Spice Cupcake recipe I’m sharing today adds buttermilk into the mix for even more flavor. It’s a smart move, giving the cake more depth than pumpkin could contribute on its own.

IMG_0387You’ll top these cupcakes with a simple-but-awesome Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. You could omit the cinnamon if you want something simpler, but I highly recommend keeping it in there. It’s the perfect complement to the spiced cupcakes and makes for an all around awesome treat.

This recipe means serious spice business, so make sure you have everything on hand before you start. It’s a good amount of measuring small bits of spices, but I promise it’s worth it! I turned a bundt cake recipe into cupcakes since I don’t own a bundt pan. If you’re interested in other sizes, check out the reader comments on Cozycakes Cottage.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Original recipe: Cozycakes Cottage. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.

Yield: ~26 cupcakes

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~2 hours

Cook Time: ~18 minutes


For your cake

  • 2 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tps baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/3 cups canned pumpkin (you’ll need one 15 oz can)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I used dried buttermilk. If you do the same, follow the instructions on your can!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs

For your frosting 

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk


Make your cake batter 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Mix your flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt in a large mixing bowl, then set it aside. If you’re using dried buttermilk, mix that in too.
  3. Mix your pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl. If you’re using dried buttermilk, make sure to add water at this step!
  4. Use your mixer to beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until they’re fluffy. It’ll take a few minutes.
  5. Add your eggs, and beat until they’re totally incorporated.
  6. Turn the mixer speed down to low. Add your flour and pumpkin mixtures in there, alternating between the two until you’re out of both. Make sure everything is mixed together before moving on—sometime dry ingredients hide in clumps at the bottom of batter!
  7. Line your cupcake tin, and fill each tin about 2/3 of the way full.
  8. Bake 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Mine took exactly 18 minutes.
  9. Let the cupcakes cool in their tins for about 10 minutes, then remove and cool all the way on a wire rack. Make sure they’re completely cooled before you frost them!

Frost your cupcakes

  1. Use your mixer to beat the butter and cream cheese until they’re fluffy. It’ll take a couple minutes on medium speed.
  2. Add your vanilla and cinnamon, and beat again.
  3. Lower the speed, and gradually add your powdered sugar. Mix until it’s smooth and fully combined.
  4. Add the milk, and mix again.
  5. Frost your cupcakes, and enjoy!


Strawberry Basil Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream

A couple of months ago, we had a cooking challenge at work. There was only one rule: you had to use basil. People tried all kinds of recipes, from pesto to pizza. But the minute I heard the challenge, I knew I had to bake with basil, rather than cooking with it.

IMG_4381I’d baked with basil before, and loved these lemon basil chocolate chip cookies from a bit ago. So, I had good faith in basil as a baking ingredient. Now I just needed the perfect recipe. Given that 1) I work at Pinterest and 2) I’m obsessed with Pinterest, it felt pretty appropriate to turn to Pinterest for ideas. I stumbled on this recipe for basil cupcakes, and knew I’d found my winner.

And this recipe was a winner in every sense of the word. The cupcakes turned out great….and I won the cooking challenge, too! I ended up submitting two entries, and will share the other recipe another time (hint: it involves tangerine).

For now, let’s talk about these cupcakes. When you bake with herbs, you have a few options. You can throw the herb directly into batter, infuse it into an ingredient, or mix it into an ingredient. This recipe takes the latter route, and you mix bits of basil into regular sugar for the cake, then powdered sugar for the frosting.


Basil sugar

I loved the cupcakes the minute I tasted them: strawberry’s sweetness balances nicely with basil’s earthiness. And since the basil is mixed into the sugar, you don’t get distinct bites of basil as you chomp on the cake. At first, I wasn’t so sure about the frosting, though. I tried a bit of it on its own and couldn’t decide if it was distinctly delicious, or too salty, or too basil-y. I figured the only way to know for sure was to slather it on some cupcakes, and pass them out to taste testers.

Readers, let me tell you: do not doubt the basil buttercream. It was the perfect complement to the strawberry cupcakes, and worked really well once you took a bite of cake and frosting together. It’s super hard to explain what it tastes like, but every bite of cupcake gives you a really nice range of flavors. You get a bit of saltiness, then herb-ish flavors, and then the sweetness of the strawberry cake.

You’ll need to try this recipe to see what I mean! It’s probably not a cake flavor you’ve ever dreamt of before…but trust me, you should give it a shot.


Strawberry Basil Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream

Original recipe: Cupcake Project. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary. 

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Suggested equipment: Food processor, mixer

Total Time: ~1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


For the cupcakes

  • 1 cup basil sugar (Make this first; you’ll need 1 cup sugar and 1 handful fresh basil leaves)
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt (plain)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup fresh strawberry puree (I used 7 strawberries)

For the frosting 

  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups basil powdered sugar (you’ll need 2 cups sugar, and 2 handfuls of basil)
  • 2 cups regular powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Make your cupcakes

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Make your basil sugar, following the link above in the ingredient list
  3. Use a medium mixing bowl, and mix your basil sugar, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  4. Add butter, then mix until it’s fully combined
  5. In a small mixing bowl, whisk your eggs, yogurt, oil and vanilla until the mixture is smooth
  6. Add your egg mixture to the flour mixture. Mix until it’s all just combined
  7. Fold in your strawberry puree, and mix until just combined
  8. Add in your milk, and mix until it’s just combined
  9. Line a cupcake pan with liners, and fill ’em up about 3/4 of the way
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the cupcakes bounce back a little when you touch the tops. Mine took 19 minutes on the dot
  11. Let cupcakes cool completely before you frost them

Make your frosting 

  1. First, whip up your basil powdered sugar using the link in the recipe list above
  2. In a mixing bowl or mixer, beat your butter until it’s light and fluffy. It should take just a few minutes if you use a mixer on high speed
  3. Add your basil powdered sugar in increments, mixing in between each addition
  4. Mix in your regular powdered sugar in increments, mixing in between each addition
  5. Add in your salt, and mix thoroughly to make sure it’s evenly distributed
  6. Frost your cupcakes!
  7. Wow people with this totally unexpected-but-amazing flavor combo 🙂

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

My other blog turned 5 last week, and I decided to bake some cake to celebrate. Sure, I’ll take any excuse to make a cake – but I truly did feel like a celebration was in order. I started the other blog as a place to pen critical commentary and personal musings. It’s been such a gift over the years, and I love writing for it. If you’ve never checked it out, please do! But first: make these strawberry cupcakes.

File_005I’d originally planned to make a snickerdoodle cake and headed out to buy some missing ingredients. But when I saw strawberries were on a buy one, get one free offer, I just couldn’t resist. Between Pinterest and a very organized Google doc, I keep a long list of recipes to try. As soon as I saw the strawberry promo, I remembered a strawberry cupcake recipe I’d saved last year. Clearly the sale was a sign that it was finally time to make this recipe!

These cupcakes were so fluffy, so moist, so delicious. There is strawberry puree in the actual cake batter, adding a subtle fruitiness. The cake texture is really light, thanks to cake flour and extra egg whites. Next time, I’d add more chopped strawberries to the batter, and use the flour trick to coat my berries so they don’t sink to the bottom of each cupcake.

The original recipe included frosting made with freeze-dried strawberries. I decided to swap in a different frosting using fresh strawberries instead so I could use more of my newly-obtained berries. I really loved the frosting I used and suggest using it for your cupcakes, too.

I highly recommend reading through this whole thing before you start baking. Which, technically, I always recommend doing with recipes – but it’s really important this time, since there are a number of elements you prep and set aside, use later, etc.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Original recipes:  Cake was from Sally’s Baking Addiction, frosting was from The Baker UpstairsI’ve added some modifications and rewritten the recipes with commentary. 

Yield: 24 cupcakes (original recipe claimed it made ~17 but I got 24!) 

Suggested equipment: Mixer, either stand or hand-held

Total Time: ~2 hours

Cook Time: ~25 minutes 



  • 15 strawberries (Berry size varies so much it’s hard to use as a descriptor, but you’ll want enough berries for the puree + berry pieces to fold into the batter. You can adjust berry quantity when you get to the final fold-in step) 
  • 1 large egg, room temperature, separated into the whites and the yolk
  • 2 additional egg whites, room temperature and separated out from the yolks (you won’t use the 2 yolks from these eggs) 
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour (I highly recommend buying cake flour vs. using regular flour)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temp


  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons strawberry puree

Step by Step Directions

Make your cupcakes 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Slice 8 strawberries and place them in a food processor or blender. Pulse until strawberries are a chunky puree, and then set it aside for now. Chop up the rest of your strawberries into small pieces
  3. Beat your egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form – it will take about 2-3 minutes but you need to keep a close eye on it. You’ll want to use a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for this step. This handy tutorial shows what your egg whites should look like when you’re done. Set the whites aside
  4. Sift your cake flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Set this bowl aside, too!
  5. Then, using your mixer, beat the butter on high until smooth and creamy
  6. Add sugar to the mixer bowl, and cream the ingredients on high speed for 3-4 minutes until they’re very well creamed
  7. Add your egg yolk and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until combined
  8. Switch your mixer to low speed. Start adding the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the whole milk. You should start and end this cycle with the dry ingredients. Between each addition, mix the batter until it is just incorporated. Don’t overmix!
  9. Decide how many strawberries you want to add into the batter, and chop up as many berries as you need to get there
  10. Measure out 1/3 cup of your strawberry puree. Refrigerate the rest for now – you’ll want it for the frosting
  11. Fold in the egg whites, strawberry puree and strawberry pieces. This is the time to adjust your berry ratio if you want fewer/more berry pieces!
  12. Once your batter is properly incorporated, pour batter into cupcake liners. I filled mine 2/3 of the way, even though the original recipe suggested to fill halfway
  13. Bake for 20-24 minutes, until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched, and a toothpick in the middle comes out clean. Mine baked for 21 minutes but you should always start checking at the minimum time to see how your treats are faring
  14. Cool cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then move them to a rack to cool completely. Make sure the cakes are fully cooled before you start to frost them!

Make your frosting and assemble 

  1. Beat your butter until it’s light and fluffy
  2. Add the salt, powdered sugar and vanilla, then mix to combine so it’s nice and smooth
  3. Add in your puree and beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Make sure the puree is well integrated before you stop beating the frosting – some bits of puree may be hiding on the bottom!
  4. Frost your cupcakes, and enjoy

A note on storage: These keep well in storage containers for a couple days. I actually froze a few, too, and they defrosted beautifully. Lots of bakers hesitate to freeze frosting but I sometimes do it out of necessity – in this case, because I wanted to save a couple cupcakes for friends. The cupcakes defrosted nicely and tasted great!

Tahini Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

You know when a recipe catches your eye, and you just can’t stop wondering about it until you finally get to make it? This cupcake recipe has been on my mind ever since I saved it last year. It’s from one of my favorite blogs, My Name is Yeh. Blogger Molly Yeh posts compelling recipes accompanied by gorgeous photos and engaging writing. She posts many great, creative recipes but I am particularly fascinated by her cakes. I always want to make layer cakes and rarely do, largely because I simply don’t want to schlep a cake across town to share it with coworkers or friends. Cupcakes, on the other hand, are a conveniently portable treat. So when Molly posted a recipe for Tahini Cupcakes, I knew I had to make them.

Tahini Cupcakes may not be something you’ve seen before, but trust me, you’re going to want to try them. Tahini is made from sesame that’s ground into a peanut butter-like consistency. It adds a nutty flavor to both the cake batter and chocolate frosting in this recipe. If you don’t tell anyone what’s in the cupcake, they probably won’t be able to guess offhand. One of my friends figured it out because the taste reminded her of halva, a dense confection that’s often made with sesame paste. The rest of my tasters couldn’t pinpoint the star ingredient: they just noticed a nutty taste and a slightly different texture than other cupcakes. Regardless, they liked what they tasted and asked for more.

Cupcakes are one of my ultimate comfort foods- the combination of cake and frosting is so fulfilling in both texture and flavor. Yet, these cupcakes are comforting in a different way than most. It’s less about being a sugarbomb, more about culinary adventure. Tahini adds a depth to the treat that you just don’t usually get, and the sweetness is a bit more subdued than you’d find in a more classic flavor combination. The winning texture play of cake/frosting is still there, and the frosting is chocolatey enough that it can satisfy a chocolate craving.

My boyfriend declared this his favorite cupcake ever for both its texture and its taste, so I suppose I should make another batch soon. I also want to try out some of the other tahini recipes Molly has shared, like these tahini chocolate chip cookies she just posted this week. She also has a recipe for chocolate tahini cake with rosemary buttercream– clearly I’ll need to try that one, too.

Tahini Cupcakes with Chocolate Tahini Frosting 

Source: My Name is Yeh

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Suggested equipment: a mixer is helpful for the frosting

Total Time: ~1 hour

Cook Time: ~15 minutes 

I broke the original recipe into a few more detailed steps and wrote my own commentary below.



  • 2 c sugar
  • 2 1/4 c flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c liquid buttermilk OR dried buttermilk (you’ll have to follow the instructions for measurements on your specific brand’s packaging, see note below)
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs flavorless oil, like canola or vegetable oil
  • 6 tbs pure tahini (see note below)  
  • 3/4 c water (if you’re using dried buttermilk, you will need to add additional water beyond this ¾ cups. Your buttermilk’s packaging should provide instructions for how much water to add)


  • 1 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c tahini
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • A pinch or two of salt
  • A pinch of cinnamon

Ingredient Notes 

  • Tahini:  Make sure you buy pure tahini. You might also find 20151219_170330tahini sauce, tahini dip, etc. You want to buy tahini that lists sesame as the sole ingredient. Trader Joe’s, for example, sells a tahini sauce that has garlic in it too- great for hummus, not so great for cupcakes. I got my tahini via Smart & Final from a brand called Roland. Specialty groceries may have it, and Whole Foods usually sells it. I’ve read it’s wise to aim for the freshest tahini you can find, as sometimes tahini gets rancid on-shelf. (If you accidentally buy tahini sauce, I implore you to bake the cupcakes anyway and let me know what happens- experiments can net surprisingly delicious results!)
  • Buttermilk: I tend to use dried buttermilk so I don’t have to buy new cartons of liquid buttermilk every time I need it. It’s cheaper and easier, though I’m sure some bakers would tell me the results aren’t as good. I haven’t had an issue with taste in the past, so I used dried buttermilk here too. If you sub in dried buttermilk for liquid buttermilk, follow the extra notes in both the ingredients and recipe. You’ll add the dried buttermilk when you’re mixing dry ingredients and then add extra water to the original recipe for the “liquid” aspect. Measurements can vary by brand so I left measurements out here- you’ll want to read your can’s instructions for help

Step by Step Directions

Make your cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line and grease your cupcake pan and set it aside (I only own 1 muffin tin so I did two rounds of baking vs. 2 pans at once)
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (including the dried buttermilk if you’re using it)
  3. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, oil, and tahini (You may need to stir your tahini a bit before adding it in; it gets lumpy in the container but the separation is natural and you should stir it to a smoother consistency before adding it to your batter)
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
  5. Stir in the water (this is when I added my additional water for the buttermilk)
  6. Pour your batter into cupcake pans and throw them in the oven
  7. This is when I set out my butter so it’d soften in time to make the frosting!
  8. Cupcakes will take 15-18 minutes to bake. Mine were exactly 15 minutes but you should always check for doneness by sticking a toothpick into a cupcake’s center and checking if it comes out clean
  9. When the cupcakes are done, let them cool for a few minutes in the pans and then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully.

Make your frosting 

  1. Beat together the butter and tahini
  2. Beat in the cocoa powder
  3. Beat in the powdered sugar
  4. Add vanilla, salt, and cinnamon
  5. Taste and make adjustments as desired- I added a bit more salt
  6. Frost your cupcakes, and add sprinkles if you want. And really, why wouldn’t you?

I took a ton of pictures, and most of them came out even worse than usual. Sorry! 



Web-Hopping Vol. 2

Baking news is starting to look spicy- pumpkin spice-y, that is. I’m seeing lots of fall flavors on my jaunts around the web. I guess in some places, it’s starting to look a lot like fall. In San Francisco, though, we can’t figure out quite what season we’re in: 90 degrees and so hot one day, foggy and cold the next. Our seasons are always more psychological than physical, and our weather rarely maps with “standard” seasonal changes. I don’t think I’m quite ready to welcome fall yet. But once that changes, look out for recipes like pumpkin chocolate chip bars and butternut squash cupcakes and all other kinds of fall goodness.

Now… on to the links!

Photo from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Cornmeal Lime Cookies: This was referenced in a Kitchn thread and I just had to click on over to check it out. They require whole wheat flour which I never buy, but I think I’m going to have to change that.

Pumpkin Churro Layer Cake: This cake screams fall- and apparently, fall tastes delicious. It’s a pumpkin cake dipped in sugar and cinnamon to mimic churro toppings. This is high on my fall-time cake list!

Kefir goes seasonal: Technically, this link is PR from Lifeway Foods about their new seasonal kefir flavors. But this article got seasonality on my mind, and I think it’s a super interesting trend in packaged foods. Seasonality is “in” whether it’s on the menu at a stellar restaurant or in packaged goods we’ve been eating for years. Lifeway has figured this out and plans to release limited quantities of seasonal flavors to stir interest. Other packaged goods companies should do the same but it can be hard to figure out from a manufacturing and distribution perspective, so bravo Lifeway!

Picture from The Muffin Myth

Chocolate and Olive Oil Zucchini Cupcakes with Salted Honey Mascarpone: I love putting zucchini in baked goods. I’ve done cupcakes, breads, cookies, you name it!

Romanesco, Lemon and Cardamom Cookies: I can’t resist an intriguing recipe and this recipe sure delivers. I love trying out vegetables in baked goods, so I’ll need to get myself some romanesco (or cauliflower) and give these cookies a go.

Have a wonderful week, dear readers!

Web-Hopping Vol.1

Welcome to the first edition of Web-Hopping! I spend a lot of time scanning the web for recipes and food news. I love blogging about what I find, but I simply can’t cover everything in-depth. So: meet Web-Hopping! Every week I’ll share my newest food-related finds, whether that’s recipes, gadgets, or trends. Whatever piques my interest online, with some in-real-life mentions thrown in there, too. And without further ado: here comes Vol. 1!

My list skews a bit cake-y this week. I blame it the slice of cake I eyed, but didn’t purchase after a marvelous brunch last Sunday (bakery review coming soon). Guess I’ll need to get a good slice of cake this weekend!

Lamingtons pictured on the Food52 blog

Lamington Cakes: I’d never heard of Lamingtons until I saw them on Food52, which cites them as an Australian specialty. And now I simply must try some! Think a cake sandwich with a jam filling, enrobed in chocolate and topped with shredded coconut. Yum.

Cocoa Powder 411: I turn to Sally’s Baking Addiction for both recipes, and baking tips. Her recent post comparing types of cocoa powder was super helpful – especially since I wanted to bake brownies and didn’t have Dutch Process cocoa on hand!

Scoop n Cut Cookie Tool: If I ever win the lottery, I’m filling my kitchen with every imaginable kitchen gadget, from cookie slicers to cherry pitters (I already have one of those banana slicers, aren’t you jealous?). I saw this cookie tool pop up on Baking Bites this week. I actually prefer my cookies not uniform, so I don’t use a dough scooper. But I could use a dough slicer…

Honey Lemon Cupcakes from Gimme Some Oven

Honey Lemon Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting:I love unusual cake combinations, so this recipe from Gimme Some Oven immediately caught my eye. Sounds light and refreshing, with a nice bit of flair.

Basil Mascarpone Buttercream: I am obsessed with the blog My Name is Yeh. Unique recipes, beautiful photos, plus her writing style is very endearing. Molly posts a lot of great cake recipes- I made her Cardamom Vanilla Cake for my birthday earlier this year. This particular chocolate cake recipe caught my eye because of its buttercream. I love herbs in desserts, and I love mascarpone in desserts, so how could this not be amazing? It has floated high on my “to bake” list!

S’Mores Cupcakes with Marshmallow Crispies

When I say “S’Mores” what comes to mind? Perhaps a campfire, or maybe summer camp? Me? I think of the beach.

I’m from southern California, and the beach played a big role in my high school social life. Come the weekend, we’d head to the beach early in the evening to stake out a bonfire pit – there were never enough to go around. Once the sun went down, we’d take out our precious provisions of graham crackers, Hershey bars and marshmallows. We’d inevitably share our pit with latecomers who didn’t get their own, making these beach nights a fun mix of making new friends and seeing old friends.

My love for S’Mores grew strong- I even wrote one of my college essays about the delicious treats. And when I studied abroad in Spain, I had my parents bring graham crackers so I could teach local friends the beauty of the S’More. These days, I have to try S’Mores-inspired desserts wherever I see them. Recently, that has included the Frozen S’More at Dominique Ansel in NYC, the S’Mores Bread Pudding at Lambert’s in Austin, and the gourmet plated S’More at Aqua Nox in Vegas.


S’Mores Cupcakes with Marshmallow Crispies

I love baking S’Mores-inspired desserts myself, too. So you can imagine my glee when I found this recipe for S’Mores Cupcakes over at the fantastic blog Shutterbean. I save tons of S’More-like recipes, but this one stood out for its use of graham cracker in the cupcake itself. It’s a hearty, taste, if that makes sense, just a tinge of sweet with a satisfying, buttery cake. Then there’s a layer of chocolate ganache, rich without overpowering the cake. A bite of ganache and cake together is pure magic.

The proverbial cherry on top, in this case, is a marshmallow topper. Shutterbean’s recipe calls for plumped, golden marshmallows. Remember when I said that if you make mistakes baking, you should just run with it and see what happens? Well, here’s a good example. I baked my marshmallows too long, resulting in flattened, crispy marshmallow bits rather than fluffy toppers. I ran with it- and I actually liked it! The crisp marshmallow adds a nice crunch to the top of the cake. I’ll have to try these again to get the marshmallows just right, but I was actually pretty happy with my accidental “twist.”

I made the cakes at night, then the toppings in the morning since I was concerned about the mallows holding up. And then my boyfriend and I carried the container of cupcakes all around San Francisco running errands before work. As one does.

S’Mores Cupcakes with Marshmallow Crispies

Source: Shutterbean, which is one of my favorite blogs these days- especially since the author also lives in San Francisco and I get all fan-girl-like when she posts gorgeous pictures of my beloved city or references places I recognize

Yield: ~15 cupcakes. My tin makes 12 and I didn’t have time for Round 2, so I just baked the remaining batter in free-standing muffin liners placed in a pan. They were very short and stout since nothing structured their shape- but they still tasted great!

Suggested equipment: mixer

Total Time: ~1 hour

Cook Time: 20-24 minutes (mine took 22)

Italics below are my own comments on the original recipe. I broke the directions into a few more steps, too.


  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (You can put them in a bag and smash with a rolling pin, use a mortar and pestle, smash with your hands, etc. Just make sure you get the crumbs fine enough to mix into the flour, you don’t want pieces in there)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used semisweet chocolate chips instead of chopping chocolate) 
  • 12 large marshmallows
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Step by Step Directions

 Make your batter

  1. Whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in a separate bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing well between additions. Mix until just combined

Bake your cakes 

  1. Heat oven to 350° F with the racks in the middle and top positions
  2. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. Divide the batter among the muffin cups
  4. Bake on the middle rack, rotating once while baking about 20-24 minutes. (You’ll know they’re done when a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, without any batter on it)
  5. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes; then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely

“Roast” or “Crisp” the marshmallows 

Here is a picture from Shutterbean so you see what the original version looks like. Definitely a texture choice- so maybe you should try both kinds of mallows!

My “crispie” directions: Place the marshmallows on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 until the marshmallows are deflate – they will look like marshmallow puddles. These puddles will firm up as they cool, becoming crispy wafer-like treats that you can break into pieces

Shutterbean’s “roasted” directions: Place the marshmallows on a parchment-lined baking sheet, 2½ inches apart. Bake on the top rack until golden and deflated, 6 to 10 minutes. Let cool

Make the ganache

  1. Bring the cream to a boil in a small pot
  2. Remove from heat, add the chocolate, and let sit for 5 minutes
  3. Whisk to combine


After both the ganache and marshmallows cool a bit, assemble your cupcakes! Spread a layer of ganache on each cupcake, then stick your mallow of choice on top.

Final step: Share with friends, and let the S’More-fueled nostalgia commence!