Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

A few weeks ago Shane and I were at a wedding and along with cake, the couple served chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. It’s been ages since I’ve had one and I’d forgotten just how much I loved the combo of juicy strawberries and decadent, dark chocolate. It had never occurred to me that raspberries might be just as delicious paired with chocolate, which is one reason I’m really glad Annie shared these double chocolate raspberry cupcakes on her site. I think I bookmarked them last summer when she posted them, but waited until just this week (with thoughts of those delicious chocolate covered strawberries still lingering) to make them, which is a shame because they left no doubt in my mind that raspberries and chocolate are one heck of a duo.

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The recipe starts with a light, moist chocolate cupcake, which is stuffed with a homemade raspberry filling then topped with a dark chocolate ganache. The garnish on top is a fresh raspberry filled with leftover ganache and while the raspberry garnish is completely optional, I urge you not to skip it. I made the ones I needed to top my cupcakes and then proceeded to fill another handful of raspberries and snack on them because they were just that good! I savored every bite of one cupcake and sent the rest to work with Shane where they disappeared well before it was even time for lunch. I don’t think he’s ever forwarded so many kind words from his coworkers on a treat I’ve shared.

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A few quick notes about the recipe: First, it yields a ton of cupcakes. I made 1/3 of the recipe and wound up with 10 cupcakes – realistically I probably could have made 12 as I overfilled several of the wells. So, figure on a full recipe making 30-36 cupcakes. From a planning perspective, you may want to make the raspberry filling first, as it needs to be chilled before you can fill the cupcakes. To actually fill the cupcakes themselves, you could use the cone method but this cake is really light, and I think it’s easier to just put the filling in a pastry bag with a plain tip, insert it directly into the top of the cupcakes and pipe in the filling. Finally, I thought about skipping the ganache in favor of chocolate frosting, but in the end I really liked the way the ganache worked with the cupcakes & filling so I would use it again next time I make these (which will definitely happen at least one more time while fresh raspberries are in season this year).

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Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
from Annie’s Eats (who adapted from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Gourmet, March 1999)

Cupcakes
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen raspberries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Ganache
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

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

Put the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the chocolate and let stand a minute or two, then whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth (it will be quite thin).

Whisk the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed until slightly thickened and pale yellow. With the mixer on medium-low speed, slowly add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to the eggs, mixing until well blended. Add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about 3/4-full (the batter is thin – I transferred it to a measuring cup and poured it into the liners instead of using my ice cream scoop like I typically do). Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the cupcakes cool for about 5 minutes before removing them from the pans to the wire racks to cool completely.

To make the raspberry filling: Add the raspberries to the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a small saucepan to remove the seeds (this takes a few minutes, just be patient and keep using a rubber spatula to push it through). Add the sugar and cornstarch to the pan, whisking to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-low heat, whisking often. When it reaches a boil, remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly. Chill before filling cupcakes.

To make the ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Combine the cream, corn syrup and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let stand for a minute. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and blended, then add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until completely incorporated. Let the mixture stand at room temperature to thicken before topping the cupcakes.

To assemble the cupcakes: Place the raspberry filling in a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip. Insert the tip into the top of the cupcakes and pipe a few teaspoons of filling into each cupcake (you could also cut a cone out of the center of the cupcakes and fill them that way, but this is a really moist, light cupcake so I think piping works better). Spread the thickened ganache over the cupcakes. If desired, pipe excess ganache inside fresh raspberries and place on top of the frosted cupcakes (be sure to do this before the frosting sets.) Allow to set completely before serving.