The title is quite a mouthful, huh? There is no way to shorten it without people asking, "So what is this stuff inside? What's on the top?" Long name usually means all kinds of goodness packed inside and this is no exception.
(You will have to deal with my crappy cell phone photos for this one!)
I found this recipe for Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes (although I wouldn't exactly call them "dark"). Initially I had planned on just dolloping raspberry preserves in the middle but I wanted to bump up the filling factor. If you are a baker, you know how much of a pain filling a cupcake can be. As long as I'm sawing off the tops and filling it with something, might as well make it extra special. None of the raspberry cream cheese fillings I found fit the bill, so I just made up my own! It was kind of beyond easy and don't really need to pat myself on the back for this (okay, I will... pat pat).
When it was all said and done, I barely deviated from the original recipe above. I made up my own version of a filling and cut the buttercream frosting recipe in half. Here are my notes:
-- All I could find at the grocery store was normal unsweetened cocoa powder, not dutch process. It worked out just fine.
-- I left my eggs at room temperature for about 3 hours and they were perfect. Here is an explanation why room temp eggs are better than cold in baking. You learn something new everyday.
-- Skim milk was used instead of anything else that is often used in baking. It was either that or almond milk. I honestly don't think any kind would make a big difference.
-- You may realize that something is missing in the recipe that is ESSENTIAL for chocolate desserts (heck, all desserts). SALT! I didn't see it and was confused so I added about 1 t. of kosher salt.
-- I halved the frosting recipe. I followed it all and really didn't like it (hence the 4 stars). It came out looking of glossy and like royal icing (which I wasn't looking for). I'll probably find something more suited for my tastes next time.
-- If you haven't filled anything before, here is what I did. Grab a cupcake, take your sharp and small knife and jab it in at a 45 degree angle. You want to make a small cone sort of shape with the cake top so that you can discard the bottom part and the filling won't overflow. Baking Bites can explain it better and with pictures here!
So I baked these up all pretty and made this raspberry cream cheese filling (this is from memory, so hopefully it's not totally off on the measurements):
4 ounces cream cheese, room temp
1/4 c. raspberry preserves (you can use any kind if you don't like the seeds)
1/2 t. vanilla
2 T. confectioners sugar
Whip the first three together until well combined. Add the sugar 1 T. at a time until it comes together. It doesn't need to be firm, but needs to hold together well.
(As you can see, these went over well.)
Overall these cupcakes were AWESOME. The cakes that were a little more full came out really fudge-y and were hard to cut into but tasted so good on their own. Almost like a cupcake brownie (don't even get me started...). I wouldn't necessarily say these were very "dark" but still had a nice chocolate flavor and not overly packed with sugar. I think the real shining star here is the raspberry cream cheese filling. It has a nice creamy, tart flavor with a punch of fruity goodness right at the end. So what I'm saying is, make this. It takes a bit of work and some patience (which I don't have) but they came out great.
Up next, White Pizza with a Chicago style deep dish crust!