Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

dark choc with rasp buttercreamRaspberries are my second favorite fruit, following the blackberry. In addition to being adorable and delicious, they’re are nutritional powerhouses that are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Through a bit of internet research, I’ve just learned that raspberries are members of the rose family, and that raspberry flowers are an excellent source of nectar for honeybees. Neither of those facts have anything to do with baking, but they’re fun nonetheless, eh?

I hope to cultivate raspberries someday, alongside the prolific blackberry bushes in our backyard garden, but you won’t need fresh or even frozen raspberries for these cupcakes. Today’s raspberry buttercream was made with raspberry jam, which can be found year-round in your local grocery store (and my refrigerator). These cupcakes were a trial run for another paying baking gig, and according to Mike they are quite delicious. Since I’m observing a sweets fast for the next couple of months, I’ll have to take his word for it.

Note: this recipe yields enough for 24 miniature and 10 regular-sized cupcakes, but you could bake them all in miniature if you like. I’m not sure if the recipe would yield 4 dozen miniature cupcakes, but I believe it would come very close.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix until well-blended, then make three wells for the wet ingredients.

Place vinegar, vanilla, and vegetable oil into the wells; add water and mix until the batter is smooth. The mixture will bubble up slightly when you add the water, so just keep mixing until you get a smooth consistency in the batter, which will be fairly thin.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, fill miniature liners to about half-full; you can use a 1/4 cup measure for the regular-sized cupcakes to fill the liners.

Bake miniature cupcakes for 8-10 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for a few minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire racks. Regular-sized cupcakes bake for about 13-15 minutes.

Raspberry Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Preparation

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and jam until very well-combined, about two minutes; the mixture will be lumpy, but that’s okay.

Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating for about 2 minutes between each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl frequently. Continue to beat until frosting is very smooth.

Transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe onto cupcakes. Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.

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Crazy Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan!)

mo cupcakesMy goddaughter Maureen, also known as Mo, just turned three. Mike and I traveled to Maryland this weekend for her party and Mo and I baked these cupcakes together, which was great fun. She’s very good at mixing, but even better at eating. At the end of her party, she sat down by herself at the table and proceeded to eat all of the icing off of two cupcakes…a girl after my own heart.

Mo’s mom, my cousin Barb, sought a recipe that was both dairy-free and egg-free to accommodate some guests with food allergies, and she got this recipe from a friend whose sons can’t have milk or eggs. Cakes like these are also known as Depression Cakes, given the scarcity of dairy products and eggs during the Great Depression. As always, the resourcefulness of bakers never ceases to amaze me; the end result of this recipe is a delicious, moist cake that reminds me somewhat of devil’s food, but better. And, because there are no animal products in either the cake or frosting recipes, these treats are vegan! 

Note: the recipe below yields 36 cupcakes with enough frosting for generous portions on each cupcake. 

Crazy Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 9 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 15 tablespoons vegetable oil (7.5 ounces, just shy of one cup)
  • 3 cups water

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix until well-blended, then make three wells for the wet ingredients.

Place vinegar, vanilla, and vegetable oil in the wells; add water and mix until batter is smooth. The mixture will bubble slightly when you add the water; just keep mixing until you get a smooth consistency in the batter, which will be fairly thin.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, fill each cupcake about half-full. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 cups powdered sugar

Preparation

In a mixing bowl, combine shortening, 1 teaspoon vanilla, water, and 4 cups powdered sugar. Mix on low speed, then increase to medium-high and beat for 10 minutes, until smooth. Add remaining powdered sugar and additional teaspoons of vanilla extract, beating until smooth.

About Maureen

mo bakingMo is an active three-year old who loves her parents, her dog Sukey, making messes, and referring to herself in third-person. She’s an avid fan of bacon, enjoys watching Octonauts, and has been known to wear tutus over skinny jeans.