cupcake recipe from the book Modern Baker and frosting recipe from www.annies-eats.net
**note: this yields 18 cupcakes
for the graham cracker bottom:
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
for the chocolate cupcake:
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup boiling water
8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
for the marshmallow topping:
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
½ tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. (If you only have one muffin pan, simply cook half the graham cracker and cupcake mixture and then repeat.) In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well with a fork. Drop a heaping 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down to line the bottom. (If you have leftover graham cracker mixture, use it in this parfait.) Bake until golden and lightly fragrant, about 5 minutes.
For the cupcake batter, stir the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt together in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
Put the cut up chocolate in a large mixing bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Let stand for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter, then the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla and sour cream.
Whisk in the flour and sugar mixture in 3 separate additions, whisking until smooth after each.
Divide the batter equally among the cavities in the pans, spooning it in. Bake the cupcakes until they are well risen and feel firm when pressed in the center with a fingertip, about 20 minutes.
Cool in the pans on racks for 5 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to racks and cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the top of a double boiler. (Note: I just set my clean, dry mixer bowl over simmering water, to avoid dirtying two bowls.) Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160° F with an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Mix in the vanilla until combined. Frost cooled cupcakes. Brown with a kitchen torch and garnish with chocolate and graham cracker segments (optional).