mini-caramel-s'mores-cakes

Cakes & Cupcakes Sweets

Mini Caramel S’mores Cakes

September 3, 2020

A rich and chocolatey caramel filled cake topped with a mile high swirl of toasted marshmallow meringue and a Ghirardelli […]

A rich and chocolatey caramel filled cake topped with a mile high swirl of toasted marshmallow meringue and a Ghirardelli White Chocolate Caramel Square. A delicious twist on everyone’s favorite summertime dessert, these mini s’mores cakes are the perfect way to celebrate Labor Day weekend!

This post is sponsored by Ghirardelli. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Browned Butter Blondie possible. 

I’m finding it hard to believe that it’s the end of August, the kids are back in school, and that little chill in the air that signifies the beginning of Fall is just around the corner. But before we say hello to all things pumpkin spice, let’s not forget that the official end of summer is still a month away. Summertime isn’t over till it’s over and I for one will be holding on tight to every last minute of it. We’ve still got lots of summering to do my friends, starting with these mini caramel s’mores cakes. They are a fancy pants version of your classic s’mores and they are going to win over your summer lovin’ heart from the very first bite. I can’t think of a more perfect dessert to celebrate Labor Day weekend!

mini caramel s'mores cakes

I’ll be the first to say yes please to a mini cake with layers of buttery, graham cracker blondie and rich, dark chocolate fudge brownie filled with homemade salted caramel. Top it all off with a mile high swirl of toasted marshmallow meringue and a square of Ghirardelli White Chocolate Caramel and H-E-L-L-O!!!

Dessert. Is. Served. These mini caramel s’mores cakes are everything your weekend needs and then some!

mini caramel s'mores cakes

THINGS YOU NEED FOR MINI CARAMEL S’MORES CAKES

Flour. Regular ‘ol all purpose is all we need for this recipe. Be sure to scoop and level the flour correctly for best results.

Butter. We’ll use melted butter for the brownies and softened butter for the graham cracker blondie base. The recipe calls for unsalted butter, but if you prefer to use salted butter, omit the extra salt in the dry ingredients.

Eggs. Be sure to use room temperature eggs for both batters in this recipe. Cold eggs do not incorporate smoothly with the dry ingredients and can lead to a lumpy, bumpy batter. Take your eggs out about an hour before baking or rest them in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes before you mix the batters.

Cocoa. The brownie portion of the recipe calls for Dutch process unsweetened cocoa. My go-to is Dutch cocoa from Ghirardelli. The quality can’t be beat and it makes a rich, ultra chocolatey brownie layer that is positively irresistible. I use Ghirardelli’s cocoa for brownies, cookies, cakes and more!

Sugar. You’ll need both regular granulated sugar and light brown sugar for these mini caramel s’mores cakes. Each layer is sweetened to perfection!

Graham crackers. We’ll use crushed graham cracker crumbs for the blondie base. Grind them up in a food processor or use a rolling pin to crush the crackers inside a sealed plastic bag. Be sure your crumbs are finely ground with no large pieces remaining.

Salted Caramel. It’s no secret that salted caramel is one of my absolute favorite ingredients. Don’t tell chocolate. {wink, wink}. Pick up a jar of your favorite caramel or whip up your own from scratch using this recipe. Once the mini cakes are cool, we’ll scoop out the centers and place a dollop of caramel inside for a delicious caramely twist on a classic s’mores treat.

Meringue. These mini caramel s’mores cakes are topped with a mile high Swiss meringue that is made with just four ingredients in 10 minutes. If you have never made meringue before, don’t you worry one bit. Read on for a step by step guide for the perfect meringue every time. I can never resist a chance to break out the kitchen torch and these mini desserts are giving me all the classic s’mores feels with those toasted tops!

Ghirardelli White Chocolate Caramel Squares. When it comes to caramel, more is just better. Not only is there a spoonful of salted caramel hiding inside each individual cake, but these mini desserts are topped with a Ghirardelli White Chocolate Caramel Square. Each rich and creamy white chocolate square is filled with a luscious. buttery, caramel filling that pairs perfectly with the chocolate and graham flavors of everyone’s favorite summertime dessert.

mini caramel s'mores cakes

TIPS FOR THE BEST MINI CAKES

This recipe might seem a little fussy at first, but each step is broken down into a simple how-to and the recipes are quite simple. Trust me when I say these fancy little s’mores cakes are worth every minute in the kitchen and they are a serious crowd pleaser. I find it easiest to whip up the graham cracker blondie batter and chill it in the prepared mini cheesecake molds while you mix the brownie batter. Once the cakes have cooled, core out the center of each cake and use a piping bag or spoon to fill with salted caramel.

If you are looking to save on time, pick up a jar of your favorite caramel from the market. If you are a everything-from-scratch kind of baker, I love this recipe for salted caramel. It comes together in just minutes with a handful of ingredients. Pro-tip: make the caramel before baking the mini cakes so that it has ample time to chill in the refrigerator for the best consistency. Read on for a few more tips and tricks for the very best mini caramel s’mores cakes.

Do not over mix. Stir the blondie and brownie batters with a light hand once the eggs are incorporated. Each of the recipes calls for folding the flour into the wet ingredients and less is definitely more at this stage of the game. I suggest you leave a few bits of flour remaining and don’t be tempted to over mix.

Don’t over fill the pan. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a bit obsessed with this new mini cheesecake pan I picked up on Amazon this summer. It makes the cutest individual desserts! For this blondie meets brownie mash up, be careful to fill the pan just shy of the top. The cakes will rise slightly above while baking. If you over fill the pan, the cakes will spill over and you’ll end up with more of a muffin top situation. If you don’t have a mini cheesecake pan on hand, you can bake a smaller version of these cakes in a muffin pan. Line the pan with muffin liners or grease it generously for easy removal of the cakes.

Watch the oven. We are essentially baking two batters at once here so keep an eye on your oven to prevent over baking. These cakes will come out dry and crumbly if over baked so use the toothpick test to determine when the brownies are baked through.

Cool completely. Truth be told,I’m always in a hurry when it comes to dessert and even moreso when it comes to s’mores. But you’ll need to wait for these cakes to cool completely before adding the salted caramel or you’ll have quite the mess on your hands. And don’t even think about topping these cakes with the meringue while the cakes are still warm. It will melt right before your eyes and slide off the top of the cake. Patience pays people. To hurry the process along, pop the mini cakes in the refrigerator to chill once they have cooled at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Whip it good. The meringue that is. Swiss meringue can be a bit daunting, mostly because the term “stiff peaks” seems a bit vague to some. For a stable meringue, you’ll want to whip the warm egg whites and sugar at high speed in an electric mixer with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. This means the meringue will “hug” the whisk and when inverted, the peaks will hold their form and not flop over. Practice makes perfect when it comes to meringue, but once you’ve got it, you got it!

Garnish with Ghirardelli. These delicious little s’mores-ified cakes are made even sweeter when topped with one of Ghirardelli’s brand new White Chocolate Caramel Squares. One bite and you’ll be hooked on the rich, buttery, caramel surrounded by creamy white chocolate. They are seriously decadent and make the perfect topper to these mini caramel s’mores cakes.

HOW TO STORE MINI CARAMEL S’MORES CAKES

These mini cakes aren’t going to last long but if you do happen to have a few left over, store them covered in the refrigerator for best results. The meringue will keep best when chilled. These cakes may be frozen before adding the salted caramel and swirl of Swiss meringue. Simply wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then cover in aluminum foil. Freeze for up to two months and defrost at room temperature. These s’mores inspired mini cakes are perfect for bringing the outdoors in any time of year!

I just know you’re going to go crazy for these mini caramel s’mores cakes and I cannot wait to hear just how much you love them. There’s lots to love about this twist on the nostalgic summertime treat so grab some Ghirardelli White Chocolate Caramel Squares and get baking!

If you like these Mini Caramel S’mores Cakes, you’ll also love:

The Ultimate S’mores Brownie Cupcakes

Mini Cherry Cheesecake Brownies

S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookies

5 Ingredient Dark Chocolate Pretzel Bark

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mini-caramel-s'mores-cakes

Mini Caramel S’mores Cakes

  • Author: Heather Mubarak
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 22-25
  • Total Time: 52 minute
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Cakes

Description

A rich and chocolatey caramel filled cake topped with a mile high swirl of toasted marshmallow meringue and a Ghirardelli White Chocolate Caramel Square. A delicious twist on everyone’s favorite summertime dessert, these mini caramel s’mores cakes are perfect for your Labor Day celebration!


Ingredients

Scale

For Graham Cracker Blondie Layer

1 cup finely crushed graham crackers

3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

8 TBSP (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP light brown sugar, packed

2 eggs, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

For Brownie Layer

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

For Salted Caramel Filling

¼ cup unsalted butter

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

½ cup heavy whipping cream

2 tsp vanilla

⅛ tsp kosher salt

For Marshmallow Meringue

1 cup granulated sugar

4 egg whites

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt


Instructions

For Graham Cracker Blondie Layer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 6 cup removable bottom mini cheesecake pan with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.

Place about 9 graham crackers (1 sleeve) into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Pulse to grind into fine crumbs.

In a medium bowl, whisk together crushed graham crackers, flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until lighter in color and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at time. Mix until well combined and scrape down bowl in between each addition.

Add the vanilla and mix until just combined.

Add the flour mixture and stir by hand with a wooden spoon or spatula until just barely combined.

Use a piping bag or large spoon to divide the blondie batter evenly between the 6 mini cheesecake cups.

Place the mini cheesecake pan in the refrigerator to chill the blondie layer while you prepare the brownie batter.

For Brownie Layer

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and sugar together over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Once melted cook about 30 seconds more until thick and viscous. The mixture should be bubbling a tiny bit on the sides of the pan. Do not over heat.

Remove the pan from heat and pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Once cool, add cocoa powder, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisk on medium speed to combine well. About 1 minute.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir the flour and salt in using a wooden spoon or spatula. Do not over mix.

Remove the mini cheesecake pan from the fridge and pipe or spoon the brownie batter into the prepared pan over the blondie layer, distributing evenly and filling almost to the top.

Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the brownies are set in the center and a toothpick inserted in the set comes out with just a few crumbs remaining. If brownie tops are too dark, cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.

Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Using a hot mitt, carefully push the removable bottoms up through the mini cheesecake pan to release the mini cakes.

Cool completely on a wire rack before topping with marshmallow meringue, about 1 hour.

Once cooled, use a spoon or cupcake core tool to carve out the center of each mini cake. Use small spoon or piping bag with the tip cut off to fill the centers to the top with the chilled salted caramel.

For Salted Caramel Filling

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.

Add brown sugar and stir to combine.

Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Mixture will thicken.

Add heavy cream, vanilla and salt and stir to combine completely.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly before transferring to a bowl or jar to cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator to speed up the chilling process. Caramel should be firm before spooning into the mini cakes.

For Marshmallow Meringue

In the metal or glass bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg whites and granulated sugar. Whisk to combine.

Place the bowl over a medium pot filled with two inches of simmering water to create a double boiler.

Whisk over medium low heat until sugar is complete dissolved and eggs become frothy.

Remove from the heat and place the mixing bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and salt and continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks form. This can take 8-12 minutes depending on your mixer. Mixture should hug the whisk and be stiff enough that it does not flop over when the whisk attachment is inverted upright.

Place the meringue in a large piping bag fitted with a large star piping tip. Swirl the meringue on top of the cooled mini cakes and toast with a kitchen torch if desired.

Chill until ready to serve. Before serving, top each mini s’mores cake with a Ghirardelli White Chocolate Caramel Square.

 

 

 

 

 


Notes

Mini cakes may be made in advance. Top with homemade marshmallow fluff before serving.

Store covered and chilled in the refrigerator once assembled.

Keywords: s'mores, cake, chocolate, marshmallow, mini desserts

  • Reply
    Ivonne
    February 17, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    Hi! These look and sound amazing! Is there a way to make it into one large cake? What size pan would be best?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      February 18, 2021 at 6:19 pm

      I’ve only made these as mini individual desserts. I’m not sure this recipe is suited for a larger pan.

  • Reply
    Melissa
    October 3, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    I’m having a hard time picturing the type of pan you used for these cakes. Can you tell me the brand you used or provide a link?

  • Reply
    Sheena
    September 5, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    Is there a way to make this in some other type of pan?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      September 6, 2020 at 2:46 pm

      Yes! You can absolutely make these in a muffin pan with liners. Keep in mind they will be smaller so you’ll need to adjust the baking time.

  • Reply
    Claire
    September 4, 2020 at 11:50 am

    Just curious if I missed a step. Blondie brownie batter to pan and then fridge but then recipe says to remive from oven and pour brownie batter on top?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      September 5, 2020 at 7:29 pm

      Ooops! Thanks for catching that! It should read “remove the pan from the fridge”, not the oven. Enjoy!!

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