National Cupcake Day: S’more cupcakes, red velvet and more recipes

This recipe for s'mores cupcakes brings together the perfect mix of textures and flavors in a dessert.
This recipe for s’mores cupcakes brings together the perfect mix of textures and flavors in a dessert.
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Sunday is National Cupcake Day. It’s the perfect excuse to reminisce about when people devoted the same Cronut enthusiasm to the red velvet cupcake.

There are still lines for the Sprinkles ATM in Beverly Hills and a continued abundance of cupcake bakeries, proving the cupcake is still a fan favorite. And it’s still the best way to acceptably eat a ton of cake. Taking a fork to a full-size cake at a party? Unacceptable. Casually eating five cupcakes over the course of half an hour? No one will even notice.

“Are you eating another cupcake?”

“Are you seriously asking me that? It’s obviously the same one.”


You get the idea.

To celebrate National Cupcake Day, here are three recipes to indulge in. There’s one for the classic red velvet with cream cheese frosting, a s’more cupcake and the beloved vanilla cupcakes from Joan’s on Third. Enjoy!


Total time: 50 minutes, plus cooling time. | Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

Cream cheese icing

3/4 cup butter (1½ sticks), softened

1 pound cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon lemon oil extract


In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the softened butter. Add the cream cheese and beat, scraping the bowl once or twice, until fully incorporated but still a little stiff. Add the sugar and beat until somewhat fluffy and spreadable. Beat in the vanilla and lemon oil, careful not to overmix. This makes about 4½ cups frosting. You may not use all of the frosting for the cupcakes; the remaining will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to a week (soften at room temperature and beat again before using).

Red velvet cupcakes

2 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon (12 ounces) flour

2 cups (14 ounces) sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (1½ ounces) cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

3/4 teaspoon red food coloring, or as needed to achieve desired color

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon coffee extract or strong coffee

Simple syrup (¾ cup sugar dissolved in 1½ cups water), optional

Prepared cream cheese icing

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with 24 paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and cinnamon. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla and coffee extract or coffee. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring just until combined to form a smooth batter. Add additional food coloring if needed to achieve the desired shade of red.

3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Bake until the cupcakes are puffed and spring back when touched, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and cool on a rack.

4. If desired, gently brush the tops of the cooled cupcakes with simple syrup to keep them very moist (the hotel places the syrup in a squeeze bottle and inserts the tip into the top of each cupcake to add a little syrup). Frost the cupcakes with the cream cheese icing and decorate as desired.

Each cupcake: Calories 405, protein 4 grams, carbohydrates 40 grams, fiber 1 gram, fat 27 grams, saturated fat 9 grams, cholesterol 52 mg, sugar 28 grams, sodium 228 mg.


Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes | Makes 20 cupcakes

Note: Graham flour, the coarsely ground whole-wheat flour traditionally used in graham crackers, is available at well-stocked specialty stores. You can use semisweet chocolate chips or a coarsely chopped 70% chocolate of your choice.

1 1/4 cups graham flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon vanilla

6 eggs

3 cups chocolate chips or pieces


Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin trays -- two trays unless you have a very large one -- with paper muffin liners. Sift the graham and all-purpose flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice into a large bowl and set aside

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter, sugar and honey on high speed until creamy and light, about 3 minutes. Turn the speed down and add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl.

With the mixer turned to low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing only until combined. Add the chocolate and mix just until combined.

Spoon the batter into the lined muffin pan cups, about one-third cup each. Bake until the tops are dark golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack while you make the frosting.

Marshmallow frosting and assembly

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, divided

1 1/2 ( 1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin

4 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooled cupcakes


In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, pour three-fourths cup of water and sprinkle the gelatin over the top to soften while you make the syrup.

In a small heavy-bottom saucepan with a candy thermometer placed over the side of the pan, bring the remaining one-quarter cup plus 2 tablespoons water, the corn syrup and the sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar registers 235 on the thermometer. Remove from heat.

With the mixer at low speed, whisk the gelatin and water and pour the hot syrup slowly into the side of the mixing bowl (watch that the syrup does not touch the whisk, or it will splatter against the side of the bowl). As soon as the syrup has all been added, whisk at low speed until the mixture is frothy, then gradually increase the speed. As the marshmallow mixture gains volume, it will thicken and you’ll be able to increase the speed to its highest speed. Mix at high speed until the marshmallow topping is very fluffy and has increased in volume by two-thirds, about 10 minutes.

While the frosting is mixing, fit a piping bag with a large decorator’s tip. As soon as the frosting is ready, spoon it into the piping bag and pipe it out onto the cupcakes. Don’t wait too long to do this, as the marshmallow will harden up a bit.

After all the frosting has been piped out onto the cupcakes, toast the marshmallow frosting with a blow torch, moving around the sides of the frosting and being careful not to burn the sugar. The frosting should be golden brown, with white near the base. (Don’t get too close to the paper cupcake liners.) The cupcakes are best warm, as is the frosting, but these hold for up to a day, frosted and toasted.

Each cupcake:

425 calories; 5 grams protein; 64 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 19 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 80 mg cholesterol; 51 grams sugar; 136 mg sodium.


Total time: 35 minutes, plus cooling time | Serves 12


1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (5.84 ounces) flour

1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder

Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

1 cup (7 ounces) sugar

2 eggs


Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin cups with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the milk and vanilla extract. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter. Gradually add in the sugar, beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Beat in the flour and milk mixtures, alternating one-third of each at a time, until each mixture is fully incorporated and the batter is smooth.

Fill each muffin cup three-fourths full of batter. Bake the cupcakes until puffed, set and lightly golden, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes before frosting.

Frosting and final assembly

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

5 cups (1 1/4 pounds) powdered sugar, sifted and divided

1/4 cup milk

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter with one-half of the powdered sugar until combined. Beat in the milk and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl, and beating until smooth.

With the mixer set to low speed, gently beat in the remaining sugar until combined. Increase the speed and continue to beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. This makes about 2 1/2 cups frosting.

Frost each cupcake with a generous 2 tablespoons frosting.

Each cupcake:
456 calories; 3 grams protein; 75 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 17 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 77 mg. cholesterol; 64 grams sugar; 116 mg. sodium.
Want to go cupcake cray? Follow me on Twitter: @Jenn_Harris_


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