Sometimes the best ideas come from requests from friends. I have my preferences or get stuck in my ruts and it takes a little push for me to try something new. That was the case with these cupcakes.It's not that raspberry and chocolate isn't one of my favorite combinations, but my kids don't like raspberries so it wasn't something I was going to do on my own. (I know, but the list of things my kids don't like is long, I don't understand it either). Luckily, my friend asked me to make these for her son and her son was very clear with what he wanted: chocolate cupcakes with raspberry filling, raspberry buttercream, and a raspberry on top. Since he and his friends were little, we decided mini-cupcakes would be best.
Sometimes a plan really comes together. It ended up being the perfect pop in your mouth treat. I have made these exact cupcakes many times since then and each time they get rave reviews. They even inspired me to make the strawberry vanilla version I posted a while back. So yeah, we have my friend's son to thank for those too.
I tried to keep these as simple as possible. Basic chocolate cupcake recipe, Swiss meringue buttercream, and the raspberry filling (made from frozen raspberries) also doubles as the flavoring for the buttercream. They are a little tart and a little sweet a little chocolate miracle in your mouth.
The cupcakes are easy to make, almost as easy as they are to eat. You don't need a cupcake corer to take out the middle of the little cupcakes; the handle of the wooden spoon will do well. I would spin the handle and drill down into the cupcake. You need to be careful not to drill through the bottom and a couple of cupcake crumbs will come out with the handle. If you end up tasting the cupcakes from these little bits…well, I won't tell if you won't.
The raspberry on top is the perfect capper to these beauties. They look impressive and are very tasty, I hope they play out as well for you as they have for me. [If you want to take the raspberry topper to the next level, you could take a little bit of the raspberry filling and coat the outside of the raspberry so that is shines.]
Chocolate Raspberry Mini-cupcakes
Chocolate mini-cupcakes with raspberry filling and raspberry buttercream and a raspberry on top. Makes 4 dozen mini-cupcakes.
- 10 oz (1 bag) frozen raspberries
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons (44g) unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (180g)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temp)
- 1 1/8 cup (225g) sugar
- 2 large eggs (room temp)
- 2 tsp vanilla paste
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream
- 48 large fresh raspberries
- 1 recipe Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe to follow)
- 2 tablespoons raspberry filling
Start by making the filling so it has time to cool completely.
1. Thaw raspberries in a bowl with 2 tbsp of sugar.
2. Blend raspberries with stick blender until smooth.
3. Press the puree through a fine mesh strainer with a spatula to remove the seeds. Set aside.
4. Make a slurry with the cornstarch, water, and lemon juice.
5. Combine the puree in a small pot with ¼ cup sugar, salt and cornstarch slurry and heat until the mixture boils for a few minutes, stirring continuously. As it boils it will quickly thicken.
6. Taste and if it is a little too sour, add a little sugar to taste.
Make the cupcakes.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 mini-cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. Whisk together cocoa and some boiling water in a small bowl until smooth and allow it to sit until it is cool. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.
3. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each one is incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla paste, then the cooled cocoa mixture and beat until combined.
4. Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream and beat until just combined.
5. Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups (I found a #60 disher to work well). Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
6. Allow pans to cool on wire racks for 5 minutes. Turn out the cupcakes and allow them to cool completely.
7. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, use the handle of a wooden spoon to drill a small hole in the center of each cupcake. Fill a squeeze bottle with raspberry filling (reserving 2 tablespoons for the frosting) and carefully fill each cupcake with filling. If you don't have a squeeze bottle, a spoon would do.
8. Whisk together 1 recipe of Swiss Merigue Buttercream (recipe to follow) and 2 tablespoonsof the reserved raspberry filling. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes and top with a fresh raspberry.
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Swiss Meringue Buttercream
European style, meringue based buttercream. Makes a little more than 4 cups.
- 5 large egg whites (room temp)
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon (generous pinch) salt
- 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter (softened)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer (or a medium bowl if you are going to use a hand mixer to whip later). Set the bowl over a medium pan of simmering water, make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water.
2. Whisk continuously until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture reaches 160°on a candy (or instant read) thermometer, about five minutes. Scrape down the sides every now and then with a rubber spatula to get all of the sugar from the sides of the bowl. The mixture should feel completely smooth to the touch and quite hot.
3. Once you reach 160°, immediately move the bowl to the stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Begin on low speed and gradually increase the speed until you are at medium high speed. Whisk until you have stiff peaks, about 10 minutes. It looks a lot like marshmallow at this point. The bottom of the bowl should be room temperature and the egg mixture should be cool.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and begin adding butter, a tablespoon or two at a time. The butter should give a bit when pressed but not so soft it looses its form. Make sure the butter is fully incorporated before adding more. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. As you add the butter, the meringue will deflate - don't panic, its all part of the process.
5. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, whisk in the vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment and beat on low speed for a couple minutes to smooth it out and eliminate all air bubbles.
Leave buttercream at room temperature if using that day. It can also be refrigerated or frozen, but be sure to bring it to room temperature and then rewhip for a couple minutes before using. You must bring it back to room temperature first, however, or the buttercream will seperate. Buttercream will keep 2 days at room temperature, 10 days or so well wrapped in the fridge, and a couple of months in the freezer.