chocolate raspberry cupcakes

Chocolate and raspberry is always such a great combination (especially for the upcoming holiday!)  These cupcakes start out with a moist chocolate base, are filled with a homemade raspberry filling and then topped with a rich ganache.  A ganache-filled raspberry on top makes the cupcake complete :) Although these involve a number of steps, none of the steps are too difficult, and you can work on the filling while the cupcakes are baking to help speed up the process.  These are one of the cupcakes I’ve made again and again (which rarely happens) so you know they must be good!

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp. Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp. hot water
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sour cream

For the filling:

  • 1 12 oz. bag frozen raspberries, thawed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

For the ganache:

  • 12 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1½ tbsp. sugar
  • 1½ tbsp. corn syrup
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Fresh raspberries, as garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the cocoa powder and hot water and stir until fully combined.  In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture until fully combined.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing each addition just until incorporated (so flour, sour cream, flour, sour cream, flour).

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about 2/3 full.  In my experience these cupcakes tend to rise a LOT, so err on the side of under-filling the liners.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are baking, combine the thawed raspberries, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan to make the filling.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture boils and thickens.  The raspberries should pop and cook down, releasing their juices.  Remove from the heat.  At this point, you can press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and any large pieces of fruit.  Chill the raspberry sauce before filling the cupcakes.

To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  In a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream, sugar and corn syrup and heat until just barely simmering.  Pour the cream mixture over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes.  Stir together until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth, then stir in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time.  Let the ganache sit at room temperature for a short period until it thickens and becomes spreadable.

If desired, pipe some of the ganache into fresh raspberries to use as a garnish.

To assemble the cupcakes, use a cupcake corer or paring knife to cut the center out of the cupcake, being careful not to get too close to the bottom or sides.  Fill the cut-out with raspberry sauce.  Using a small offset spatula, spread the ganache over the top of the cupcakes.  Top with a ganache-filled raspberry (before the ganache sets!)  Allow the cupcakes to set completely before serving.

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes

Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats; originally from Gourmet, March 1999

 

 

 

Cupcakes, Desserts

black bean burgers

These black bean burgers are similar to the black bean patties I’ve posted before, with just a few small differences.  Topped with a slice of sharp cheddar and served on some homemade hamburger buns, they make a great healthy and easy meal!

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Directions

In a medium skillet, combine the panko with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and mix with a fork to blend.  Place the skillet over medium-high heat and toast, stirring frequently, until light golden brown.  Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Place 2½ cups of the beans in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or a fork until mostly smooth.  In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, 1 tbsp. of the oil, and the cumin, salt and cayenne and whisk to blend.  Add the egg mixture, toasted panko, the remaining ½ cup beans, bell pepper, cilantro and shallot to the bowl with the mashed beans.  Stir together until evenly combined.

Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and gently shape into 1-inch thick patties.  At this point, the patties can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before cooking.  The patties can also be frozen before cooking.  To cook, heat the remaining tbsp. of oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Carefully lay half of the patties in the skillet and cook until well browned on both sides, about 8-10 minutes total.  If desired, add a slice of cheese during the last minute of cooking.  Transfer the cooked burgers to a plate, tent with foil, and repeat with the remaining oil and bean patties.

Yield: 6 burgers

Source: barely adapted from Annie’s Eats; originally from the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

 

Healthy Options, Main Dish, Vegetarian

chocolate lava cakes

Still not sure what to make for Valentine’s Day dessert?  These tasty little cakes are perfect for a weeknight Valentine’s – quick, minimal ingredients, and chocolatey.  Rich, flowing chocolate at that.  I don’t think I ever realized that lava cakes just come out of the oven that way; I think I always assumed they were filled with a gooey chocolate filling after being baked.  Not so, apparently!  You just mix up a quick cake batter (with a high ratio of eggs – maybe that’s what makes it gooey?), pop them in the oven for 10 minutes, and out they come with all their flowing molten goodness.  You can go from mixing to eating dessert in about 30 minutes – there’s no excuse not to make these!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/3 cup  granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Spray 6 wells of a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Melt the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally, being careful not to allow any water to come in contact with the chocolate.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla extract.  Pour in the melted chocolate and mix until combined.  Add in the flour and salt, mixing on low speed until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each well nearly to the top.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the tops just look set.  The cakes should jiggle if you lightly shake the pan.

Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Place a platter over the pan and invert the cakes onto the platter.  Serve warm.

Yield: 6 cakes

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride; originally adapted from Martha Stewart

 

Desserts