If there’s one thing I love about baking for holidays, it’s themed M&M colors (as evidenced by these Valentine’s Day cookies & this Easter cookie cake). Unbeknownst to me, M&Ms decided to release a 4th of July mix of M&Ms, which I found out from my friend Heather. I went on a HUNT for these M&Ms and found Independence Day themed Kit-Kats, Snickers, Hershey Kisses, Skittles and Mike N Ikes (of all candies, really?), but no M&Ms were ever found. Soooo I stood in my kitchen and picked all of the blues and reds out of my standard bag of M&Ms to decorate these vanilla graham cupcakes. Desperate times!
Last year for 4th of July, I made this lemon blueberry cake (which I HIGHLY recommend for summer BBQs!). I recently went on vacation to Captiva Island in Florida, where I had the BEST cake I’ve ever eaten. No joke. I was inspired by The Bubble Room’s orange crunch cake and wanted to try my hand at incorporating graham crackers into cake batter. And so I present to you: Vanilla Graham Cupcakes!
This recipe is a standard vanilla cupcake recipe with a graham cracker and brown sugar layer baked in and topped with vanilla buttercream icing and M&Ms for decorations. The graham cracker layer adds a touch more sweetness and texture to the super-moist cupcake. The crunchy M&Ms are the perfect addition of chocolate to this otherwise very vanilla cake.
These vanilla graham cupcakes are super simple to make. After your batter comes together, you’ll mix together your graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and butter to create the graham cracker layer. Next, you’ll fill about 1/3 of each cupcake tin with batter, followed by a layer of graham crackers and topped off with just enough batter to cover the graham cracker layer. These cupcakes bake in 20 minutes and should be cooled completely before icing.
What are your favorite treats to make for summer holidays like Independence Day? Let me know in the comments below!
- FOR CAKE:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- FOR GRAHAM CRACKER LAYER
- 3/4 cup crushed graham crackers
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- FOR FROSTING
- 1/2 cup butter, room temp
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp milk (or water)
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep cupcake pan with liners. Set aside.
- FOR GRAHAM CRACKER LAYER
- In a small mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter. Mix together until ingredients form a wet crust. Set aside.
- FOR CAKE
- Measure out flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda in a mixing bowl and set aside.
- Cream together butter and sugar in mixer until well combined. Slowly add one egg white at a time to mixture. Add vanilla.
- Slowly add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the batter, then add 1/3 of buttermilk, mixing slowly. Continue alternating between dry ingredients and buttermilk until all ingredients have been added to the batter.
- Mix until well combined (about 10 seconds), but do not overmix.
- Begin scooping batter into cupcake pans, filling about 1/3 of the cup.
- Add 1 tsp of graham cracker mixture to each of the cupcakes, spreading the crumbs over the surface of the batter with the back of a spoon.
- Add additional batter to each cupcake (about 1 tsbp) until graham cracker layer is fully covered.
- Place in oven for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center of a cupcake and come out clean.
- Cool completely (about 1 hour) before icing and decorating.
- FOR ICING:
- Beat butter in mixer until it is slightly whipped.
- Slowly add 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
- Add vanilla and milk.
- Add the additional powdered sugar to icing and beat in mixer for about 10 seconds.
- Place icing in pastry bag to pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
- Top with decorations of your choice and enjoy!