Updated: Nov 15, 2020
This is the best chocolate cake you'll ever make -- trust me! We spice it up with a graham cracker crust and meringue topping. For tips and to bake-along live, just follow along with the video.
Prep: 45 minutes
Bake: 15 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
Graham Cracker Crust:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 10 sleeves)
2 T melted butter
2 T granulated sugar
Chocolate Cupcakes (if you can’t manage these ingredients, join me with a box mix and we can spruce it up together!)
1 cup AP Flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 T cocoa powder
3/4 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (feel free to substitute this!)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (feel free to substitute this too!)
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot coffee (water would do too)
Italian Meringue “Fluff”
3 egg whites (room temperature - if you separate in advance be careful to not let any yolk bits in your whites!)
1/3 cup water
1 cups granulated sugar
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t cream of tartar OR white vinegar OR lemon juice OR omit
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one dozen muffin tins and line with cupcake papers.
For the crust: whisk together the graham cracker crumbs and 2 T granulated sugar.
Add in the melted butter and stir to combine. Press evenly into prepared muffin tins. Place in freezer until it's time to use them.
For cupcakes: whisk together all dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar).
In a large measuring cup combine buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla extract.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until fully incorporated.
Lastly, add the hot coffee and stir until combine. The batter will be thin.
Pull the muffin tin from the freezer and evenly fill the twelve cupcake papers.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cupcakes spring back when pressed or there are only crumbs on a toothpick when inserted into the center. Allow them to cool.
Cook the water and sugar in a small pot until it reaches soft ball stage (if you'd like to follow along on the video, the Italian Meringue begins at the 22:00 mark). Make sure to not stir this mixture. Swirl the pan at the most if you need to get in stray sugar crystals, or use a pastry brush to gently push the sugar crystals into the water.
While your syrup cooks beat your egg whites and salt just until they are soft peaks. If you're using a stabilizer (cream of tartar, white vinegar, or lemon juice) add them to the egg whites here).
When the sugar mixture reaches soft ball immediately pour it down the side of the mixture bowl and into the egg whites, ensuring the stand mixer is running and you aren't pouring the syrup directly onto the egg whites.
Beat until the outside of the bowl is cool to the touch and the egg whites are glossy and still.
Pipe or spread the Italian meringue onto your cupcakes -- broil or use a hand torch to toast the topping. Feel free to add any other toppings.