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Vegan S’mores Cupcakes (Gluten Free and Lower Sugar options)

These Vegan S’mores Cupcakes are decadent, chocolatey, bursting with melted marshmallows, and are made fully with pantry staples and easy to find ingredients!

Artistic photo of one cupcake close up

I’ve never been one for camping.  I love nature, and I love adventure, but sleeping in a tent?  Not my #1 activity.  That being said, knowing that camping meant making s’mores ALMOST made going camping as a kid worth it.

Almost.

Thankfully, now I am an adult and can treat myself to s’mores any time I want!  I think these vegan s’mores cupcakes are the best way to get your s’mores fix – a graham cracker flavored crust (more on that below), a rich chocolate cupcake stuffed with melted marshmallows, a decadent chocolate glaze, and then topped off with a generous helping of more graham flavored crumbs!

When I went vegan and gluten free, I realized that s’mores were a treat made a little more challenging by my restrictions.  This was mainly due to the graham cracker component.  Gluten free and vegan graham crackers certainly do exist, and there are some great brands out there, but they’re not always easy to find, and I wanted to know I could make these any moment the craving hit. Plus I think the homemade faux-graham crust is just as good if not better than the real thing, and it’s all easy pantry staples!

The other component is the marshmallows – make sure you use vegan ones!  I find these Dandies marshmallows to be the best, and you can easily buy them online, but also they are pretty accessible at most grocery stores. 

The sooner we get to baking, the sooner you can enjoy these glorious treats!

Close up of one cupcake cut open to see the marshmallow filled center

How To Make Them:

There are three main components to these vegan s’mores cupcakes – the crust/crumble, the chocolate cupcake, and the glaze.  You’ll want to start by making the crust/crumble as well as the cupcake batter, whereas the glaze gets made at the very end so it’s fresh.  The marshmallow instructions will come later on, but spoiler alert – you add them in once the cupcake is almost done baking, NOT before the baking begins.

The crust/crumble..

We start with the faux graham crust/crumble.  I am obsessed with this, and find myself eating it on its own as I’m baking these.  This part is made simply by combining melted coconut oil, coconut sugar, ground up oats or oat flour (more on this in the next paragraph!), and salt.  You will use most of this mixture as the base of the cupcakes, each one gets 2-tablespoons’ worth pressed down firmly into the cupcake liner.  Then the rest – or however much you want – can be used as the final topping over the chocolate glaze once the cupcakes are done.

Let’s talk about the oats for a second.  You have two options here – one is to use rolled oats and grind them in a food processor. The other is to buy pre-made oat flour. Pre-made oat flour is going to be much finer than whatever you grind up on your own using rolled oats. My personal preference here actually is grinding up rolled oats – it leaves it a bit more textured, and that’s what makes it so great as the crumble topping. That’s what I’ve done in these photos.

Also the amount of coconut oil will vary slightly depending on whether or not you use ground up rolled oats or packaged oat flour. Since the oat flour will be finer, you will need less liquid. Exact amounts for these two items are:

-If using ground up oats, then do 1.75 cups of rolled oats ground up in a food processor, + 2/3 cup melted coconut oil.

If using packaged oat flour, then do 1 cup + 2 tbsp PACKED oat flour, + 7 tbsp melted coconut oil.

The cupcake batter..

Onto the cupcake batter.  This is the same as my Classic Chocolate Cupcake recipe, but I’ve scaled it to be 75% of the size since here you have the graham cracker crust base taking up some room in the liners.  If you did the cupcake batter at full scale, they’d totally overflow, in a bad way! 

Once you’ve got everything measured out, add the dry ingredients (gluten free or all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar ((see the Ingredients Needed section to learn how to make these sugar free!)), baking powder, salt) to a large bowl and mix together, then add the wet ingredients (non-dairy milk, neutral oil, unsweetened applesauce, vanilla extract) into it and mix until just combined. Applesauce helps keep them a bit more moist but if you don’t have any you can 100% leave it out and it will be okay!

Graham cracker crust batter in a bowl
Crust batter inside muffin liners
Full batter in muffin tin
Assembly & baking..

We’re up to assembly! It’s nearly vegan s’mores cupcakes time! To assemble the cupcake, line your pan with cupcake liners – these will not work well without liners! – and start with the graham cracker crust.  Scoop 2-tablespoons’ worth of the crust mixture and pack it firmly down on the bottom of each liner.  You can see how this should look in the photo above.  Once that is done, pour the cupcake batter evenly across all 12 liners.  Personally I like to transfer my batter from the bowl into a large measuring cup since I find that’s the easiest way to pour without making a mess or losing any.

Pop the cupcakes into the oven for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees.  When you remove them, they will be slightly underdone.  Using a small spoon, remove a bit of the cupcake batter from the center of each cupcake.  Try not to accidentally also scoop out the crust at the bottom.  Here’s the fun part – now you get to put the marshmallows in!  I’d recommend about 3-5 mini marshmallows in each one, depending on how much marshmallow you like.  The photo of the completed cupcake cut in half had 5 minis in it. 

Closeup of one cupcake with the center taken out before adding marshmallow filling
Closeup of one cupcake cut open with marshmallows inside of it before going back into the oven
Closeup again with chocolate cake pushed back on top of the marshmallow filling

Once the marshmallows are in each one, replace the removed chocolate cupcake bits on top of the marshmallows.  Again, follow along with the photos for guidance.  This doesn’t need to be perfect, but you want to keep the top layer cupcake not fully exposed marshmallow.  Put the cupcakes back in the oven for 4-5 more minutes to let the cupcakes finish baking and get the marshmallows melty and gooey.

The chocolate glaze..

While the cupcakes are cooling, it’s chocolate glaze time!  Here you just mix the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and non-dairy milk in a little bowl until it’s smooth.  This amount should be enough to glaze a dozen, but no judgement if you double it.

As the final bit of perfection on top of your already perfect vegan s’mores cupcakes, I like to add a generous helping of more graham crumble on top of the glazed cupcake.  The flavor is fantastic, and now you’ve got the true essence of the s’more – chocolate and marshmallow with graham crackers on the top and the bottom.

*Note – I have tried to make the cupcakes with the marshmallows in from the very beginning to avoid the slight hassle of putting them in midway through baking.  I do not recommend this, as the long bake time will cause the marshmallow to burst out of the cupcake entirely, and you will wind up with marshmallow and chocolate mush.  Which don’t get me wrong, is also delicious, but not the desired result here!

**Note 2.0 – I am using this opportunity just to write the word “smore” without the apostrophe so if someone searches “smores” not “s’mores” they will still find this. Aren’t you glad you read this note?? Don’t remind me that there’s a better way to do this, I like my way!

Okay no more notes! Go eat your vegan s’mores cupcakes!!

Storage:

After they have cooled, seal in an air-tight container at room temperature.  They will stay good 3-5 days, though the consistency really isn’t as strong after the first day or two.

Pro Tips & Tools:

  • Make sure you are measuring your flour either by weight or using the spoon and level method.  Do not scoop directly from the container, as you will wind up with too much! This is so important! If you want to buy a pre-made gluten free flour blend, make sure it’s King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour, it is BY FAR the best one for my recipes, NOT Bob’s Red Mills or any others. If you want to make a homemade blend, here is a link to the one I use.
  • Make sure you measure your liquid ingredients using liquid measuring cups.  This will ensure accuracy!  I love this set.
  • Vegan marshmallows are fairly common and you may be able to find them easily at your regular grocery store, but if you want to be sure to get the ones I use, these are my favorites.
  • Coconut sugar is what really gives the crust and crumble the graham cracker taste.  I always find it easily at my grocery store, but if you cannot, this is the one I use most often. 
  • Missing any of the basics? Here is my go-to muffin tin, and my go-to cupcake liners.
One completed cupcake cut open on a stack of places

Ingredients Needed:

  • Coconut oil – melted for the graham crust/crumble
  • Coconut sugar – this is what gives the graham crust/crumble its graham cracker flavor, I don’t recommend substituting for a different sugar.
  • Rolled oats OR packaged oat flour – the recipe calls for either 1 cup + 2 tbsp packed oat flour, or you can use 1.75 cups of rolled oats and grind them in a food processor to be flour consistency. Personally I prefer grinding up my own oats. It keeps it a bit chunkier which makes for a better crumble topping.
  • Non-dairy milk – any should work here, I tend to use soy or almond.  This will be used in the cupcake and if you choose to make the glaze.
  • Neutral oil – any should work here, I tend to use grapeseed.
  • Unsweetened applesauce – just a little bit helps keep the cupcakes more moist, but if you don’t have any on hand you can 100% leave this out and they will be fine!
  • Vanilla extract
  • Granulated sugar – If you want to make these sugar free, I love using this Monkfruit Sweetener in place of granulated sugar.
  • Flour – Make sure you are measuring your flour either by weight or using the spoon and level method.  Do not scoop directly from the container, as you will wind up with too much! This is so important! If you want to buy a pre-made gluten free flour blend, make sure it’s King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour, it is BY FAR the best one for my recipes, NOT Bob’s Red Mills or any others. If you want to make a homemade blend, here is a link to the one I use.
  • Cocoa powder
  • Baking powder – I recommend using baking powder that has no added aluminum. This one is my go-to.
  • Salt
  • Powdered sugar – optional, if you choose to make the glaze. If you want this part to be sugar free, you can use this Monkfruit Powdered Sweetener in place of powdered sugar.

What To Bake Next:

Artistic photo of one cupcake close up

Vegan S’mores Cupcakes (Gluten Free option)

These S’mores Cupcakes are decadent, chocolatey, bursting with melted marshmallows, and are made fully with pantry staples and easy to find ingredients!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 24 mins
Total Time 44 mins
Course Birthday Party, Dessert
Servings 12 cupcakes

Ingredients
  

“Graham Cracker” Crust & Crumble Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • cup rolled oats ground up in a food processor see notes below if you are using packaged oat flour instead of grinding up your own oats
  • ½ tsp salt

Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients

  • ¾ cup + 3 tbsp gluten free flour can sub all-purpose if desired. This links to my favorite store bought gluten free flour blend that works best with all of my recipes, or see “Ingredients Needed” section for further info.
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar *if you want a sugar free option, this links to my favorite sweetener, you can substitute it 1:1 in place of regular granulated sugar
  • tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup non-dairy milk
  • 5 tbsp + ¾ tsp neutral oil
  • tbsp unsweetened applesauce optional. If you don’t have any laying around, you can omit.
  • tsp vanilla extract

Marshmallow Filling Ingredients

  • 3-5 dozen mini vegan marshmallows

Chocolate Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 cup powdered sugar *if you want a sugar free option, this links to my favorite powdered sweetener, you can substitute it 1:1 in place of regular powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder can be regular or Dutch cocoa powder here
  • 3 tbsp non-dairy milk

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  • Make the “graham cracker” crust/crumble first.  If you are using rolled oats, grind 1.75 cups in a food processor until it is flour consistency.  Mix together melted coconut oil, coconut sugar, oat flour, and salt until combined. 
  • Scoop 2 tbsp of this mixture and press firmly into the bottom of a cupcake liner to create the crust of the cupcake.  Repeat for all 12, then set the rest aside to be used at the end.
  • Make the cupcake batter next.  In a large bowl, mix together the gluten free flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Then add in non-dairy milk, neutral oil, applesauce if using, and vanilla extract, and mix until just combined.
  • Fill each cupcake liner evenly with the batter.  They should fill to around ¾ of the way up.  Put in the oven for 18-20 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven, and using a small spoon, scoop a little bit of the almost cooked cupcake batter from the center of each cupcake.  Insert 3-5 marshmallows into each, then replace the cupcake batter on top.  There are photos above if you want to be sure you’re doing this correctly.
  • Put the cupcakes back in the oven for another 4-5 minutes, then remove and let cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan before moving to a cooling rack.
  • While cooling, make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and non-dairy milk into a bowl and mixing until it is smooth. 
  • When the cupcakes are cooled, assemble them by spooning chocolate glaze on top of each, and then topping off with a sprinkling of the remaining “graham cracker” crumbs.
  • Eat and enjoy!

Notes

Oat flour – if you are using packaged oat flour instead of grinding up rolled oats on your own, use 7 tbsp of melted coconut oil instead of 2/3 cup.  This is explained more at length in the How To Make Them section, but the pre packaged flour is finer, and thus needs less liquid, otherwise it will get soggy. 
Keyword chocolate cupcakes, chocolate glaze, cupcakes, graham cracker crust, marshmallow, smores, smores cupcakes
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