Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chocolate cupcakes with raspberry buttercream

I'd like to talk about equality.

What's that?  Men and women, equal opportunity, yadda yadda?  Not exactly.

I want to talk about savory and sweet snacks getting equal playing time at football parties, y'all.  These are the real issues that keep me up at night, Mr. President.

Whenever it comes time to plan a menu for an event revolving around a sporting event, it's easy to come up with a list of must-have food: chips and dip, pretzels, pizza, the obligatory veggie tray, and anything else that's meaty and cheesy (like these yummy stuffed meatballs!). 

But, as I'm sure you noticed, everything on that list -- while deeeeeelicious -- is savory.  What about dessert?

Most Super Bowl parties are co-ed, and I know I speak for the ladies when I say I want something sweet after the salty main munchies.  Besides, you can't tell me that guys don't have a sweet tooth.  Even my once-dessert-averse husband says that I've trained him to expect a treat after dinner every evening.  (You're welcome, honey.)

It wasn't hard to come up with a dessert ideal for an evening of cheering, jeering, and moving all around.  Whatever I made had to be crowd-ready and easy.  Individual treats that require no slicing, cooling, or utensils are definitely the way to go.  Remember that next time you're planning a cocktail party!  Cakes, pies, and ice cream sundaes are fabulous but save 'em for a time when there's a less raucous environment, if you know what I mean :)

With only one shot at dessert, I knew chocolate had to be involved.  Go big chocolate or go home, right?  I made my favorite cupcakes and topped them with fresh raspberry buttercream.  If the only words you pulled out of that sentence were "chocolate" "cake" and "butter" then you've come to the right place.

I've made many chocolate cupcakes in the past, but this is the only recipe I use now.  It's simply the best!  Rich, moist, light and oh so deeply chocolate.   Plus, it only requires one bowl.  To a woman who invariably dirties every dish in the kitchen, this is noteworthy.

And the icing?  This is the real deal, folks.  No faux raspberry flavor here.  Fresh raspberry puree is whipped with butter, sugar, and vanilla for a pure and sweet finish to these chocolate cupcakes.

I went the fancy route by piping the electric pink buttercream onto the cupcakes, but the old school slather-it-on-with-a-butter-knife method is just as good.  Especially if you're making these for a football-watching crowd.  To them, cupcakes are meant to be eaten and taste good, and that's the bottom line.  Good cupcakes are still good cupcakes, win or lose.

Personally, cupcakes are always a win, if you ask me.  Does anyone really care about the reason for the cupcakes?  I didn't think so.

One year ago: Ho Ho cake
Three years ago: Crock Pot chicken taco chili

Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream
-makes about 12 cupcakes

For cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup + 3 Tablespoons milk
5 Tablespoons vegetable oil (unsweetened applesauce or pumpkin puree works, too)
Generous 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons warm water

For buttercream:
1 cup fresh raspberries, pureed and strained
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line standard 12-cup muffins pans with paper liners.  Into the large bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Attach bowl to the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or regular beaters on your hand mixer) and add egg, milk, oil, vanilla, and warm water.  Beat on low speed until smooth and combined, roughly 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Fill each paper liner roughly 2/3 full of batter.  Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool pans on rack for roughly ten minutes.  Remove cupcakes in liners from pan carefully and place onto rack to cool completely, top sides up.

Meanwhile, make buttercream by combining raspberry puree, butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, about 3 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add remaining 1 cup of sugar, beating until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.  Increase speed to medium high and beat until buttercream is light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.  Enjoy!

Unfrosted cupcakes can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.  Frosted cupcakes can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day; they can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.


  1. I totally agree with you! I am making cupcakes for the Superbowl party I'm going to, too, because everyone else signed up for savory dishes. I don't understand it!

    1. So glad to know there's another sweet-toothed football fan in Pittsburgh :) What kind of cupcakes are you making? I'm sure they'll be a bit hit at the party!