PEEPS® Surprise S’mores Cupcakes?! These sweet little chocolate & graham cracker cupcakes contain a secret surprise – they’re filled & iced with PEEPS®!
I’m not ready for spring.
Don’t give me that look. I know the weather this winter has been horrible. That darn groundhog wasn’t kidding when his shadow scared him back in the ground – it’s been a pretty bad six weeks, and coming from a Floridian like me, that’s something. We may not have had feet of snow, or icy roads, or generally miserable living conditions, but I’ve barely gotten to wear my flip flops this year, and there’s a problem with that.
All kidding aside, I personally enjoy winter quite a bit (I know, I’m nuts), and while I may not be ready for 90+ degree weather again, I can safely say these PEEPS® Surprise S’mores Cupcakes might help me adjust a little easier.
When I think of spring, I think of flowers and sunshine and cute little fluffy baby animals. New life. A refreshed earth, emerging from it’s chilly hibernation.
I don’t really think of s’mores, which I feel are more of a late summer/early autumn camping type treat; and yet, that’s what I’m serving up for you today. Rich, chocolaty goodness, birthed from a simple, store-bought box of cake mix.
I’ve said before that I rarely use cake mix, but I feel it has it’s place in the kitchen, and when life throws unexpected events at you, you have to make do with quick solutions, right? Of course, I wasn’t going to follow the script on the box, oh no. This box mix deserved to taste like homemade, even though I was skipping the sorting and sifting.
And so, my favorite cast of characters took the stage: espresso powder, vanilla extract, melted butter, and sour cream. Espresso powder (and hot water), to elevate the richness and depth of the settled cocoa; vanilla, to enhance the sweetness of the cake. Butter, in place of vegetable oil, because it just tastes better, and sour cream (and an extra egg) for a nice fluffy, tender crumb.
I might use box mix every now and then, but that doesn’t mean I play by the rules.
So. You want to know the “surprise”, I suppose.
It’s actually pretty straightforward. You can’t tell until you unwrap the little devils, but the cupcake sits on top of a slightly crunchy graham cracker crust.
And then, when you bite in to the colorful buttercream icing, you realize…hey, this kind of tastes like marshmallows. Really sugary marshmallows…
OH, THE HUMANITY. THE SECRET IS PEEPS®!!!
No PEEPS® were harmed in the making of these cupcakes.
They were simply re-purposed. Honest! They practically jumped in my double boiler.
They didn’t go down without a fight, either. It was a messy endeavor, but the results were well worth it.
A small word of caution: these babies aren’t for the fainthearted. If you were never a fan of PEEPS® in your Easter basket as a kid, you probably will love the cupcake, but won’t care much for the icing. To that, I say – use less icing! It’s a standard buttercream, which is already sweet, and then you add over a half pound of more melted sugar (hello, diabetes). They’re so worth eating, even if it’s with a tiny swipe of icing on the top.
But for you sugarholics out there, I guarantee you’ll love them.
And so will every kid you know!
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs, finely crushed (about 12-14 whole crackers)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 box dry Devil's Food cake mix
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup melted butter
- 1¼ cups hot water
- 1 Tablespoon sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3-4 cups confectioner's sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons milk
- 10 ounces Marshmallow PEEPS®, chopped (approx. 4 packages)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with liners and set aside.
- Combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix until combined, and small clumps form.
- Divide mixture evenly between cupcake liners, about 1 Tablespoon per liner. Pack it down firmly with the bottom of a small glass.
- Bake 5 minutes, them remove to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix and espresso powder.
- Add remaining ingredients and whisk for 2-3 minutes, until batter is combined and uniform. Be careful not to over mix.
- Using a large ice cream scoop, add batter on top of graham cracker crust, filling cupcake liners about ¾ of the way full.
- If desired, sprinkle more graham cracker crumbs on top of each cupcake, then place pans in oven.
- Drop oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove and place on cooling rack.
- When cool, using a paring knife, cut a small, 1-inch deep cone of cake out of the center of each cupcake. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter 3-4 minutes until creamy.
- Add in the confectioner's sugar slowly, about ½ cup at a time, until smooth. Taste after each addition to gauge how sweet you want it. Remember, you'll be adding melted sugar-covered marshmallows to this!
- Add salt and milk, beating on low until incorporated, then on high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. If you're making multiple colors, divide your buttercream into separate bowls.
- In a double boiler (or a metal bowl set over a pot of boiling water - be careful with this!), melt your PEEPS®, using a silicone spatula to help the process. I used 4 colors, and melted each color separately, but you may only use one color if you're looking for an easier time.
- Working quickly, add your melted PEEPS® to a bowl of buttercream, and mix with a spatula until fully incorporated and smooth. If only making one color, simply add all of the melted PEEPS® in to your stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed until incorporated.
- Fill a piping bag with your icings, striping each color separately inside to achieve a variegated color.
- Pipe a small amount of icing inside the cut out cupcake centers, and proceed to frost each cupcake, re-striping the bag with your colored icing each time you fill it. The result is unpredictable and so spring-like!
- Decorate with sprinkles and full-sized PEEPS®, and enjoy!
Looking for a little more PEEPS® stuff to love?
Now onto some more amazing PEEPS® ideas! Hop through each post below to find delicious recipes, fabulous crafts, and more!