Decadent dark chocolate cupcakes with a fresh raspberry frosting
We had a very dark and stormy Saturday.
It wasn’t your typical summer storm — one with staggered rounds of rain and thunder sharply punctuated by sunshiny breaks in the clouds, but instead a good full day of unrelenting sheets of rain, slashes of lightning, and thunder that shook the house.
I did what I do best in stormy weather — I went to the kitchen.
I made a stormy summer dessert to match the atmosphere. Deliberately deep, dark chocolate — even blacker than the skies — with a distinctly dark chocolate, nearly bitter aftertaste on your tongue. Dark chocolate, and dark cocoa powder both went into the mix (I’d made these cupcakes miniature before, here). Rich, but not dense, these cupcakes are full-bodied but fluffy, sweet but not too sweet.
I poured the batter into shimmering purple foil liners and set about to make the frosting.
It’s a very summer-y frosting, with fresh, ripe raspberries reduced to a simple syrup and beaten with butter, vanilla, sugar, and a hint of cream cheese for a silky buttercream frosting. Paired with the dark chocolate cupcake base it is sheer perfection — never have two flavors played so well off each other (not even here).
My only regret is that I didn’t stick to frosting them with an icing tip that I’m more used to, so the tops came out looking a little… unkempt.
A little storm-swept.
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Fresh Raspberry Frosting
- 1 cup +3 Tbsp milk divided
- 3.5 oz quality dark chocolate chopped into small pieces (I always use a bar of Ghirardelli 72% dark chocolate)
- ½ cup dark cocoa powder
- ½ cup canola oil
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg preferably room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup All-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
Fresh Raspberry Frosting
- 1 cup raspberries fresh or frozen
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- ½ cup butter softened, 1 stick
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F and prepare cupcake trays by lining with cupcake liners.
- In small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup milk and dark chocolate, stirring until chocolate is completely melted.
- Increase heat to medium-high, stir constantly until mixture begins to bubble and stir in cocoa powder. Remove from heat and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
- In KitchenAid, combine canola oil and sugars, beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, scrape sides of bowl, and stir again on medium-high speed for another 30 seconds -- until ingredients are well-combined (mixture will be very thick and grainy).
- Add egg and vanilla, beat well.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- With mixer on low-medium speed, gradually stir in flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
- Pour the cocoa/dark chocolate liquid into the mixer and beat on medium speed until combined.
- Scrape down sides of bowl and add 3 Tbsp milk, stir on medium speed again so all ingredients are combined.
- Pour batter into cupcake liners, filling cupcake liners ⅔ of the way full.
- Bake on 350F for 18 minutes (toothpick inserted into middle of cupcake should come out clean).
- Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- First, prepare a raspberry reduction by combining raspberry and 2 Tbsp sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Once berries begin to release their juices, increase heat to medium-high and stir constantly, mashing the berries with the back of your spoon as you go. Bring to a boil (still stirring constantly) and cook 6-8 minutes until mixture has reduced.
- Run through a strainer to remove seeds and pulp (I add 1 Tbsp of seeds back in to the juices for a little bit of texture, this is optional) and allow to cool completely before using in frosting. Discard leftover seeds/pulp.
- Once raspberry juices have cooled completely, prepare the frosting by creaming together butter and cream cheese.
- Gradually add 1 cup of powdered sugar and stir until combined.
- Add in raspberry juices and vanilla extract and stir well.
- Add remaining sugar and beat until combined.
- Spread or pipe frosting on top of cooled cupcakes.
- Keep uneaten cupcakes stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
I felt it was appropriate to photograph these cupcakes during the storm, but I did get a few brighter pictures of these cupcakes when the sun came out on Sunday:
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I must say, I am in love with your photography! Elegant scenes (not only because they speak to my sweet-tooth, but…) perfect contrast, brilliant colors, just pure loveliness! Keep on submitting several, love them like crazy!!
Thank you so much, Selah! My goal is to make the treats look as appealing as possible. I am glad you like them. 🙂
Yupper! You deserve to appraise for sure!
That’s awesome, you do a great job at it! 😉
Would this work just as well with strawberries? Looking for a frosting for vanilla cake for a boy who doesn’t like chocolate and loves strawberries. 🙂
I think the strawberry substitution would work just fine. 🙂
Hi! Can you make this recipe without a mixer??
Hi Jasmin! Because you cream the frosting, you will need some kind of mixer to accomplish that. 😃
Wonderful looking & I imangine delicious.
They are so good! I hope you give them a try! 😃
I can’t wait to make these, were do you get the cupcake liners? I just love them.
Hi Lianne! I just found them at my local grocery store. I can’t remember what brand they are unfortunately..
I tried the icing recipe and it came out extremely runny. A real waste of fresh picked raspberries. A measure for how much raspberry juice to add would have been more helpful than a measure of fresh raspberries
An approximation of one cup is fine for this recipe, so long as the reduction is done appropriately it should be fine. Is it possible that the raspberries were still too hot when added to the frosting mixture?
We didn’t try the cupcakes but the frosting was amazing! Personally ours required almost a cup more of powdered sugar to make it thicker but overall very god!
How far ahead can you make these?
Personally I wouldn’t make them more than 5 days in advance, keep them in an airtight container in the fridge. If you want to freeze them they will last longer, but make sure they are completely cooled and well-wrapped before you freeze them. I wouldn’t make the frosting more than a day or two in advance (keep it sealed and refrigerated), and I wouldn’t pipe it onto the cupcakes until the day of. I hope that helps!
Hi Sam! I am 12 years old and I absolutely LOVE baking! These cupcakes were perfect! The dark chocolate cake-with almost a bitter aftertaste was so yummy and moist, and to add the light and fluffy raspberry frosting was amazing, and made the flavors mix together, and the combination turned out to be amazing!
Hi, Lucy! I am so, so glad to hear that you liked the cupcakes so much, and I’m extra impressed that you are making these recipes at 12 years old! Keep up the great work, and maybe someday I’ll be making your recipes! 🙂 Thank you so much for writing to me!
Oh my gosh!! I’m not the only young baking lover, Lucy, (That also uses correct grammar, I write short stories)! Same age! This is nice to know!! I love baking lots of things, best at cookies, however.
So delicious, and amazing photos !!
Thank you so much!
These are absolutely lovely! The perfect antidote to a stormy day 🙂
Thank you so much, Sues!
Wow, postponing much needed diet until next week to make and consume a batch of these. Perfection is dark chocolate and raspberry anything. Three cheers for dark clouds and rain with Sam’s kitchen.
If there ever was a good excuse to postpone a diet these are it! Thank you, Pat, I definitely think you will love these cupcakes! 🙂 <3
Marsha | Marsha's Baking Addiction
These cupcakes look absolutely delicious! The combination of dark chocolate and raspberry frosting sounds perfect!
Thank you, Marsha! They really were SO good together! 🙂
Medha @ Whisk & Shout
These cupcakes are honestly just GORGEOUS. Loving the frosting and that dark chocolate raspberry combination.
Thank you so much, Medha! 🙂
To me there is nothing better than dark chocolate. I’ll take three of these right now, thank you. The contrast between the dark cupcake and the raspberry frosting is really pretty!
Thank you! The flavor combo was perfection! 🙂