Its my birthday today, so like the
loser (control freak) I am I just had to make my own birthday cakes. As is tradition at my work, when its your birthday you bring in some kind of sweet treats. (Why its not the other way round I don;t know!!).
Over the past few weeks I have made loads of custard based recipes and have amassed shed loads of egg whites so wanted to use them up. Meringue was definitely in. I whipped up a batch of my lemon meringue cupcakes and for the other batch I settled on s’mores cupcakes.
For those who aren’t US afficionados, s’mores are a combination of toasted marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers (nearest UK equivalent are digestive biscuits), usually reserved as a campfire treat. Taking these elements, I’ve baked them into cupcake form – into the treats you see before you.
Chocolate sponge, topped with a layer of crushed digestive biscuits and baked, then frosted with a soft Italian Meringue which it then toasted off with my handy blowtorch. Look great, and I got good feedback from eaters.
If I’m honest, I liked them they’re a great cake but I felt it needed another level of flavour. A dark, bitter chocolate ganache piped into the centre of the cake would’ve cut through the sweet meringue perfectly and balanced out the textures – for me the meringue alone just didn’t cut it with the chocolate sponge.
Make these with a ganache middle and you’re onto a winner.
For the Cakes
Use my Devil’s food cake recipe for the batter
3-4 digestive biscuits, crushed to a rubble
200g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids, chopped. This needs to be bitter chocolate so go for the best quality you can afford.
150g double cream
200g caster sugar, plus an additional tablespoon, set to one side.
1 tbsp golden syrup
4 large egg whites
Preheat the oven to 180C
Make the chocolate cake batter and divide between paper lined muffin tins, about 2/3 full – the batter will make about 16 cupcakes. Top each one with a sprinkling of the crushed biscuits. Bake in the oven for approx 18-22 minutes. Set aside on a wire rack to cool.
Then make the ganache. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set the cream in a small saucepan and bring to just about boiling point. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until all combined and glossy. leave to cool until of a pipeable consistency
Using a corer or knife, cut out the central part of the cakes and fill with ganache. Top this off with the cored pieces of cake.
For the meringue, place the sugar, syrup and water into a saucepan, place on the hob and bring to the soft ball stage – 115C.
While the syrup is on the hob, whisk up the egg whites until foamy and soft peaks start to appear. Add the tablespoon of caster sugar and continue to beat until it stiffens.
With the whisk running on a medium speed, slowly trickle in a steady stream the sugar syrup. Once all of the syrup has been added, turn the whisk up to a high speed and continue to mix until the meringue cools, is thick and shiny and holds stiff peaks.
Quickly pipe or spoon the frosting on top of the cakes.
Finish off with a blowtorch for that campfire effect – if you don’t have a blowtorch then pop them under the grill, making sure not to burn them.