Do we need a reason to eat a delicious cupcake? I don’t think so! Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and a lot of people are trying to think of something tasty to prepare for their SO. I don’t think these Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream should be made as a dessert only for Valentine’s Day. They are way too good to be eaten once a year! Make them for a special occasion and no occasion, because it’s Monday or it stopped raining.
These cupcakes are very moist and full of chocolate flavor. The buttercream gets its color and fruity notes from raspberry puree. It perfectly compliments the rich chocolate flavor of the cupcakes.
Start the recipe by making the cupcake batter. When baking, it’s important to have all of the ingredients at the room temperature, unless specified otherwise. So make sure to take the eggs and butter out of the fridge about 30 minutes earlier. You can warm the eggs up by placing them in a bowl with warm water for about 10 minutes.
The recipe calls for 1/3 cup of Dutch-processed cocoa which is different from a natural cocoa powder. Typically, a natural cocoa powder is slightly acidic with pH around 5 ( the pH scale goes from 1 to 14 with 1 being the most acidic, 14- the most alkaline and 7 being neutral). The Dutch-processed cocoa has a neutral pH that comes from added an alkalizing agent. The process was first developed by a Dutch chocolate maker, hence the name.
When comparing both kinds of cocoa powder, the differences are in color and flavor. Dutch-process cocoa powder is much darker and has a stronger chocolate flavor. So, it is a matter of personal preference. One thing to remember is that since the Dutch-process cocoa has a neutral pH, it requires baking powder as a leavening agent, not baking soda, which requires acidic pH. This recipe, however, calls for baking soda but we will add 2 teaspoons of vinegar to make it work.
While cupcakes are baking in the oven you can start making the buttercream. I used frozen raspberries that were defrosted and strained through a fine-mesh sieve. If using fresh raspberries you might want to use a food processor first to puree the fruit. Alternatively, you can put the raspberries and some sugar (around 1 Tablespoon) in a bowl, mash them with a fork and let them sit until some juice is released. Then strain the mixture.
When making the buttercream, make sure the butter is soft. Otherwise, it won’t get fluffy and creamy. Start by creaming the butter in a mixer for about 3 minutes, then add powdered sugar, egg yolks and vanilla extract in stages. Mix it all together for another minute or two. Next, add the raspberry puree and mix until everything is incorporated and has a nice pink color.
When the raspberry buttercream is ready and the cupcakes cooled down, start assembling them. Cut each cupcake in half and spread about 1.5-2 Tablespoons of frosting on one of the halves. Cover with the other half. Spread more buttercream on the sides and top of the cupcake. By cutting the cupcake in half and adding some buttercream you will get a mini cake and each bite will be a pure heaven! Using a pastry bag and your favorite tip ( I used a closed star tip ) decorate the top of the cupcake, adding fresh raspberries, too. If the buttercream gets too soft put it in the fridge for 5-7 minutes.
Makes 12 cupcakes
Bake time: 20 minutes
Ready in: 1 hr 15 minutes
- 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
- 1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa
- 3/4 cup hot coffee
- 3/4 cup flour, preferably bread flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 Tablespoons oil, preferably coconut oil, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 16 oz ( 4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup raspberry puree, made out of 1 cup frozen raspberries or 1.5-2 cups fresh raspberries and 1-1.5 tablespoons powdered sugar
Garnish: fresh raspberries, chocolate shavings
Make the cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the muffin cups.
- Place chopped chocolate, cocoa powder and hot coffee in a small bowl. Stir and let it sit until the chocolate melts. Whisk to combine everything and make sure there are no lumps. Cool completely.
- Combine all of the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients in a medium bowl, then slowly add the cooled chocolate mixture still whisking. Add the flour mixture and whisk again.
- Fill the prepared baking cups with the batter, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely.
Make the filling:
- If using frozen raspberries, defrost them first. Put a fine-mesh sieve over a small bowl and using the back of a wooden spoon press gently until most of the pulp and juice goes through. Discard the seeds.
- If using fresh raspberries you will need between 1.5 and 2 cups of them. In a food processor puree the raspberries with 1-1.5 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Makes 1/2 cup.
- In a mixer beat the soft butter on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar in 3 stages, stopping the mixer from time to time to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add about half of the raspberry puree and beat on low. Add the rest of the puree and beat for another minute.
Assembling the cupcakes:
- Cut each cupcake in half and place about 2 tablespoons of the buttercream on one half. Spread it evenly and top with the second half. Spread more of the frosting on the sides and top of the cupcake. Decorate the top with fresh raspberries, more frosting and some chocolate shavings.
- Refrigerate the cupcakes until ready to eat. Bring to room temperature.
- If the buttercream gets too soft put it in a fridge for 5-7 minutes.
- To make the piping, put the buttercream into a pastry bag with the tip attached. To make the rosettes like I did you need a star tip.
- You can cut both recipes in half if you need only a couple of cupcakes.
Cupcakes recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook.