Kids around the neighborhood would flock to my house when I was a kid. I’d love to tell you it was because I was the coolest kid on the block — but I wouldn’t become cool for at least another decade … or two. Instead, it was my mother’s gifts from the kitchen. She could make magic happen in a single bite, and there was nothing that she wasn’t afraid to try. She just knew what went together and how to improve upon even the best of recipes. Although she was a bit shy and reserved with most things in life, a wild passion and zest came through the taste of those sweet treats. As hard as she tried to teach me, I simply had no interest. Probably because at that age I knew how much time it takes to wash dishes afterward.
I think her enthusiasm came from making sure that our family, and frankly, every kid in the county, left her home with a full belly and a full heart. That’s where the real passion for things in life shines through. The deepest joys are those that give happiness to others as well.
About a year ago, I uprooted my life and moved to a new place far from home to start my new journey with Hapari. During that year, if ever I felt a bit homesick, I took a note from my mother’s book and began baking. Most of my adventures in life have been large; so it makes complete sense that I would take on a large challenge on my first go of making cupcakes. Yes, they had to be from scratch. Yes, they had to be unique. Yes, they had to be chocolate.
So, where would I look for my first cupcake recipe? To Martha Stewart, of course! I immediately went shopping for the most adorable apron I could find and every ingredient in the recipe. Spoiler alert: If you’re someone who has common baking ingredients laying around the house, then you’ll find this much easier than I did!
After a few minutes or so, I began to realize the same joy my mother felt. It was peaceful. I realized it was just as much about the time she had to herself while she was baking as it was about giving the treats to smiling friends. I enjoyed my time listening to some of my favorite music, occupying my thoughts with the task at hand and realizing that after all the hard work was done that I’d be able to share something with those I care about. In the end, like most things in life, it’s just as much about the journey as it is the destination.
Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes Recipe
Recipe courtesy of Trophy Cupcakes
- 2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons 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 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Marshmallow Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
- Sift 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together 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 to 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 tablespoon 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 cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping.
- Place 2 teaspoons chocolate in each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each muffin cup three-quarters 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.