That's the best way I can describe this cake. Why?
Grant is typically not a huge fan of from-scratch cakes. He nearly always prefers cakes from a mix, whether doctored up or not. After tasting these cupcakes, he declared that not only is this his favorite cupcake ever, it is also his favorite chocolate cake, EVER. I could hardly believe it, except I felt the same way about it. It's so incredibly moist, tender, chocolaty, you just don't want to stop eating it. The cake recipe is actually very similar to the Raspberry Chocolate Cake I made at Christmas last year, except it has more chocolate and a bit more buttermilk.
So what makes these cupcakes even more special? When you bite into them, you find a delightful surprise of a rich homemade raspberry filling adding a burst of flavor to every mouthful. Add to that a fluffy raspberry buttercream frosting, and you have one of the best desserts I have ever eaten.
Notes: The recipe I followed said it yielded 24-28 cupcakes, yet I got 36 full-size cupcakes out of the batter.
The filling was enough for about 24 cupcakes. The cupcakes without the filling were also amazing, and some of the children preferred them that way.
I had a small amount of frosting left over, which like all homemade frostings, was delicious on graham crackers!
Recipe: (Cake and filling from Smitten Kitchen, frosting adapted from Annie's Eats)
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 t. baking soda
3/4 t. baking powder
1-1/4 t. salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup oil (canola)
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 t. vanilla extract
1 (12 oz) bag frozen raspberries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar
1 T. cornstarch
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
6 cups powdered sugar
1 T. raspberry liqueur (optional)
I recommend starting by making the filling.
Put the thawed berries in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Press through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan to remove seeds. (This is time-consuming, took me close to half an hour).
Add sugar and cornstarch and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once it has thickened, remove from heat. Chill while making the cupcakes.
To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl; add the hot coffee and let stand a minute or two, then whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium-high speed until slightly thickened and pale yellow. Slowly add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to the eggs, mixing until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about 3/4 of the way full. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, beat the butter and jam until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time and beat after each addition. Add the raspberry liqueur if desired. Beat on high until light and fluffy.
To assemble the cupcakes, place the raspberry filling in a pastry bag. (I used a plain round small tip). Stick the tip into the top of each cupcake and squeeze to insert a couple of teaspoons of filling into each cupcake. When you can see the top moving upwards and the filling just starting to ooze out, stop piping!
Place the frosting in another pastry bag (I used a 2D large star tip). Pipe frosting onto each cupcake in desired pattern.
Cupcakes do not need to be refrigerated.