Campfire Delight Cupcakes–Malted Belgian Chocolate & Toasted Marshmallow Filling

Happy Wednesday! It dawned on me the other day that next weekend is our Canadian Victoria Day holiday, which is essentially our first, and very celebratory, long weekend of the year. For my family, it marks the beginning of summer, the beginning of weekends at the lake, and, for me, the beginning of attempts to figure out how to pack up and serve towering layer cakes at the cottage. I started thinking about what I was going to bake and bring for the holiday weekend, and I realized that cupcake versions of my favourite cake recipes and combinations just may be the answer. Typically, I tend to choose layer cakes over cupcakes for most occasions (and clearly blog posts–this is my first ever cupcake post in the 9 months I’ve had this blog), but summer weekends, camping, time at the lake, picnics–these may all be perfect reasons to add more cupcaking to my to-bake list. Once I started brainstorming and translating my layer cakes into cupcakes, there were a few I was eager to do right away, and this was the first one to come to mind. Actually, I have several more coming this week for you, so let’s call this part 1 of several cupcake-themed posts, so stay tuned!

You may recall the Campfire Delight: 6-Layer Chocolate Malted & Toasted Marshmallow Cake I posted a few months back–I hold this one close to my heart. Truly. It’s in my top 3 cakes of all time, with the dark richness of the chocolate cake paired with creamy malt-infused Belgian chocolate frosting, and fluffy (but decadent) toasted marshmallow filling using real toasted marshmallows. For my taste, the combination of flavours and textures is simply to die for, so to turn it into mini campfire delights was a sweet way to start the week! I should also note that turning some of the cakes into cupcakes works well for that extra batter when you do make the cake version, as well as the remaining frosting and filling. A perfect little way to taste test your cake, share with the kids, or gain some extra neighbour love.

This was the original Campfire Delight Cake sliced, and as you can see, packing up this cake and serving summer-style may pose a few issues, so Campfire Delight Cupcakes it will be . . .

Essentially, a Campfire Delight Cupcake is the same rich, dark chocolate cake using premium Callebaut extra dark cocoa powder and buttermilk, injected with a dollop of Toasted-Marshmallow Filling, then frosted with a generous swirling of Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting, and finally, some Dutch dark chocolate sprinkles and a chocolate malt ball. Delightful and decadent, all at once. Camping and convenience aside, cupcake versions of some of my layer cakes may be just the answer when you want a quick and easy dessert with the same flavours, or, well, for anyone who has a touch of the cupcake fever. I can also imagine these stacked up and served on a rustic chic outdoor wedding dessert table. Ohh, yes, I love that idea. Wedding do-over, please! Actually, wait, a wedding do-over has the potential for being a borderline scary thought.

Camping anyone?

Campfire Delight Cupcakes

Yield: 12 standard cupcakes

Ingredients

    For the Cupcakes:
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (110 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) white sugar
  • 1/3 cup (60 g) dark cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute)
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (2 g) salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) brewed coffee or espresso, hot
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) pure vanilla extract
  • For the Toasted Marshmallow Filling:
  • 8 large white marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup (63 g) icing sugar (confectioners' or powdered), sifted
  • 1/2 cup butter (113 g)(1 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 jar (107 g) marshmallow cream (such as Marshmallow Fluff)
  • For the Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks)(227 g), at room temperature
  • 2 cups (250 g) icing sugar (confectioners' or powdered), sifted
  • 1/3 cup (38 g) Ovaltine Classic (brown in colour)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 oz (125 g) quality Belgian chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) whipping (35% fat) cream
  • Note Frosting will become a slightly richer brown tone a short while after making. If you are using a malt powder or Ovaltine that is not brown in colour, you can add an extra 3 oz, or so, of melted chocolate.

Instructions

    For the Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and line a muffin/cupcake pan with your favourite cupcake liners.
  2. In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, egg and vanilla.
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splashguard that comes with mixer), Divide batter among (2/3 full or just less) liners. Batter will be liquidy, and cupcakes will rise.
  5. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs. Try not to over-bake. Carefully remove cupcakes from the pan immediately (it's hot!), and place them on a wire rack until completely cool.
  6. For the Toasted Marshmallow Filling:
  7. Place marshmallows on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place on lower rack of oven, and broil marshmallows until nice and brown on top, between 30-60 seconds. Remove pan from oven and gently turn the marshmallows over, and broil until they are golden brown. (Be sure to keep an eye on them--they burn very quickly.)
  8. In an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and icing sugar on low until blended, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and mix on med-high for about 3 minutes.
  9. Add marshmallow cream and toasted marshmallows, and mix on lowest setting for about 1 minute.
  10. For the Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting:
  11. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute.
  12. Add malt powder, vanilla and salt, and beat on low until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes).
  13. Add whipping cream and beat on med-high speed for another minute.
  14. Best used right away.
  15. Assembly of the Campfire Delight Cupcakes:
  16. Once cupcakes are cool, cut a cone shape hole from the top center of the cupcake downward, using a sharp paring knife or small spoon.
  17. Using a small spoon, or piping bag fitted with plain round piping tip, fill the cupcake hole with Toasted Marshmallow Filling until it's level with the top of the cupcake.
  18. Fill a large pastry bag (18") fitted with Ateco #887 (or the decorative tip of your choice) about 2/3 full and swirl the Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting in a circular motion, beginning on the outside rim of the cupcake and moving inward. Gently release pressure when you reach the top of your swirl.
  19. Top with real chocolate sprinkles and chocolate malt candy, such as Whoppers or Maltesers.
  20. Cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, but these keep particularly well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days (however, I've been known to eat them up to a week later, and they taste great!). If you do refrigerate, serve at room temperature.
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Good luck & enjoy!

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Campfire Delight: 6-Layer Rich Malted-Chocolate Toasted Marshmallow Cake

Campfire Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

There’s something about layer cakes that always brings me great comfort–from both making them and eating them. To me, layer cakes are baked bliss, truly. Don’t get me wrong, cupcakes are wonderful; cupcakes are sweet; cupcakes are darling (and perky), but they just aren’t layer cakes. Perhaps part of the glory of layer cakes is the intrigue of what’s beneath all of that swirled frosting, or the wonder of what fills the stacked layers under a perfectly composed exterior. Ever notice how layer cakes will offer one or two little hints as to what’s inside, without giving too much away? Think about a beautifully frosted pink cake with a few white sprinkles and a single strawberry on top: one could imagine that there are layers of vanilla cake inside with possible alternating layers of sweet pink strawberry cake, or maybe even layer up on layer of strawberry cake with fresh strawberry jam in between. Or, perhaps, there are layers of vanilla cake with homemade custard and fresh cut strawberries stacked inside.

Truth is, we never can tell, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m always ready to find out. True, it’s likely that my love and adoration for layer cakes is slightly unnatural, but, in my heart, I know that some of you agree.

Campfire Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

So, please, brace yourself: this cake is possibly the most delicious cake I’ve ever made. No jokes, no trying to be cute and sassy, but the honest truth. Take a peek for yourself:

Campfire Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

6 layers of dark, moist chocolate cake sandwiching alternating rich and fluffy frosting: satiny Belgian chocolate malted frosting and creamy toasted-marshmallow vanilla frosting with bits of actual crispy marshmallow in every bite. Strangely, the finished cake is not really super sweet–it’s more rich, light, and creamy sweet…

Here’s a little peek at the marshmallows after being lightly toasted in the oven. They taste amazing in the cake, and are also pretty incredible taken right from the parchment paper: ooey and gooey in all the right places. Now, I know it’s not exactly summer yet, and there aren’t a lot of campfires happening quite yet (at least not here in Canada), but the taste of toasted marshmallows seems to bring a sense of nostalgia, no matter what the season. This addition to the recipe really makes (and takes) the cake.

Campfire Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

Here it is standing tall and proud, flaunting an ever-important ”S” cake adjective for every one of its layers: sky-high, simple, sweet, satiny, special, and, most importantly, sinful. I think one of the simplest ways to create a wow-factor, is to split your layers. You’ve already baked them, so if you get really comfortable splitting them in two, you can create a sky-high cake in moments, and just think of how many fun fillings and frostings you can add into the mix. It really is one of the best techniques to learn (I’ll list a few tips and tricks on that subject below).

Campfire Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

A world without cake, well, please don’t even make me think about it.

Campfire Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

Did you know that you and I had a cake-for-two today?

Campfire Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

 Yum.

Campfire Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

Campfire Delight: 6-Layer Belgian Chocolate & Toasted Marshmallow Cake

Yield: One 6-layer, 8-inch round cake

Ingredients

    For the Chocolate Layer Cake:
  • 2-1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon (330 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups (600 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (135 g) Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder (or similar premium brand)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (7.5 g) baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (12 g) salt
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups (360 mL) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups (360 mL) strong black coffee, hot
  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons (22.5 mL) pure vanilla extract
  • For the Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1 lb butter (4 sticks)(2 cups)(454 g), at room temperature
  • 4 cups (500 g) icing sugar (confectioners' or powdered), sifted
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) Ovaltine Classic (brown in colour)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 oz (250 g) quality Belgian chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) whipping (35% fat) cream
  • For the Toasted Marshmallow Frosting:
  • 16 large white marshmallows
  • 1 cup (125 g) icing sugar (confectioners' or powdered), sifted
  • 1 cup butter (227 g)(2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 jar (213 g) marshmallow cream (such as Marshmallow Fluff)

Instructions

    For the Chocolate Layer Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare three 8" round cake pans (butter, line bottom with parchment paper, butter paper, dust with flour).
  2. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Combine eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork.
  3. Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splash-guard that comes with mixer). Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. (Batter will be thin.)
  4. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Continue to bake until toothpick or skewer comes almost clean (a few crumbs), about 12 more minutes. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.
  5. For the Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting:
  6. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute.
  7. Add malt powder, vanilla and salt, and beat on low until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes).
  8. Add whipping cream and beat on med-high speed for another minute.
  9. Best used right away.
  10. For the Toasted Marshmallow Frosting:
  11. Place marshmallows on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place on lower rack of oven, and broil marshmallows until nice and brown on top, between 30-60 seconds. Remove pan from oven and gently turn the marshmallows over, and broil until they are golden brown. (Be sure to keep an eye on them--they burn very quickly.)
  12. In an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and icing sugar on low until blended, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and mix on med-high for about 3 minutes.
  13. Add marshmallow cream and toasted marshmallows, and mix on lowest setting for about 1 minute.
  14. Assembly of the Campfire Delight Cake:
  15. On an 8"inch round cake board (or cake plate), put a small dollop of frosting. Cut your 3 cake layers each once horizontally with a long, serrated knife, so you have a total of 6 layers.
  16. Place your first layer face-up on the board (or plate) and cover with an even layer of the Toasted Marshmallow Frosting, leaving about 1/2" around the edge. Place another cake layer face-up and repeat with Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting.
  17. Repeat until you come to your final layer, which you will place face-down. If you find the cake too soft and unstable, put in refrigerator for a few moments to firm it up, then resume.
  18. Frost entire outside of cake with remaining Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting.

Notes

*To create the swirled frosting effect, place chilled cake with thin layer of frosting on a piece of wax paper on a cake turntable, and add remaining frosting to create a fairly smooth finish with a medium palette knife (straight, not offset). Then, with your dominant hand, hold palette knife with a medium-firm pressure at about a 45° angle starting at bottom of cake, and with your other hand slowly spin turntable while keeping your palette knife against cake at at all times, then gradually directing the palette knife upwards until you get to the top. Finish with same technique on top. If you aren't happy with your attempt, this frosting is so satiny, that you can smooth it over and try again.

**I always build my cakes on thin cake boards to make for easy lifting and transferring.

[malted chocolate frosting adapted from Williams-Sonoma]

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Sweetapolita’s Tips & Tricks for Splitting Cakes:

1. Always start with a cold cake: refrigerate for about 2 hours or freeze for about 30 minutes

2. With a good quality serrated knife (I only use my favourite Mac 10 1/2″ serrated bread knife–this thing is insanely sharp), trim any doming off the top of each layer.

3. Measure the height of your layer with a ruler, then create a score line on the halfway mark all the way  around the outside of the cake.

4. Lower yourself to almost eye-level to the cake. With a gentle sawing motion, slowly move the knife gradually towards the centre of the cake, then turn cake 1/4 turn, and repeat until you have cut through the entire layer.

Good luck & enjoy!

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