Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Buttercream Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze
Servings: 24 standard cupcakes, or two 9-inch round cakes
Ingredients
For the Cupcakes:
  • 1-1/2 cups 190 g all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups 300 g white sugar
  • 1/2 cup 60 g dark cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons 7 g baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons 7 g baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons 7 g cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon 8 g salt
  • 2/3 cup 160 ml buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup 120 mL brewed coffee or espresso, hot
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon 95 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon 15 mL pure vanilla extract
For the Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  • 5 large fresh egg whites (150 g)
  • 1-1/4 cups 250 g sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups 3 sticks(340 g) butter, cut into cubes and cool, but not cold
  • 2 teaspoons 10 ml pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup 59 ml(or to taste) raspberry puree OR a handful (about 1 cup, or more to taste) of fresh, washed, and dried raspberries
  • pinch of salt
  • few drops pink food colouring optional
For the Glaze:
  • 4 oz 115 g high quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or callets
  • 1/3 cup 76 g unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
Instructions
For the Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and line a muffin/cupcake pan with your favourite cupcake liners.
  2. In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, egg and vanilla.
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splashguard that comes with mixer), Divide batter among (2/3 full or just less) liners. Batter will be liquidy, and cupcakes will rise.
  5. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs. Try not to over-bake. Carefully remove cupcakes from the pan immediately (it's hot!), and place them on a wire rack until completely cool.
For the Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  1. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  2. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). *Don't begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.
  3. Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). *If mixture is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
  4. Add raspberry puree to taste or the fresh raspberries in small increments, and blend until combined. Add small amount of pink food colouring, if desired.
For the Glaze:
  1. Place the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir the mixture using a rubber spatula until melted and smooth. *Be careful to not get even a droplet of water into your bowl of chocolate and butter.
Assembly of the Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Cupcakes:
  1. . Fill a large pastry bag (18") fitted with Ateco #887 (or the decorative tip of your choice) about 2/3 full and swirl the buttercream in a circular motion, beginning on the outside rim of the cupcake and moving inward. Gently release pressure when you reach the top of your swirl.
  2. Drizzle the top of the cupcake with Dark Chocolate Glaze (~1 tablespoon each).
  3. Top with a fresh raspberry and chocolate sprinkles (optional).
  4. Cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, but these keep particularly well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days (however, I've been known to eat them up to a week later, and they taste great!). If you do refrigerate, serve at room temperature--particularly Swiss Meringue Buttercream cupcakes, otherwise the buttercream is too hard and butter-like.
Sweetapolita's Notes

*Essentially, this is vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream with some clean, dry, fresh raspberries into it. It doesn't require many raspberries to give it a nice flavour, but it's personal preference. You can also use seedless raspberry-puree for a smooth finish. Add a drop of pink food colouring for a touch more pink.

**Cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, but these keep particularly well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days (however, I've been known to eat them up to a week later, and they taste great!).

***If you do refrigerate, serve at room temperature--particularly Swiss Meringue Buttercream cupcakes, otherwise the buttercream is too hard and butter-like.

[Glaze recipe source: Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented]