Valentine’s Day is special to me because it’s the day I married the love of my life. So each year, when this day rolls around, I try to find ways to make it even more special than every wonderful day I spend with him. And by now I know that the easiest way to put a smile on my sweetie’s face is with something sweet, like these Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Hearts.
Chocolates and raspberries are a match made in heaven: each is delicious on its own, but when paired together they enhance each other’s deliciousness. My chocolate cupcakes are intensely chocolatey, and inside each is a little surprise: a raspberry stuffed with more chocolate. I top off all this deliciousness with a velvety frosting of buttercream flecked with more chocolate and raspberries.
But their divine taste is not the only thing that’s delicious about these cupcakes. These are extremely easy to make and they are really, really pretty to look at. I mean, take a look at that pink frosting flecked with red and chocolate. Even the fact that I am quite possibly the world’s worst cake decorator doesn’t take away from it, does it?
These cupcakes are not cloyingly sweet. I add just a cup and a half of sugar to the frosting, which is very conservative by most frosting standards, but it’s more than enough because you want the chocolate and the raspberry flavors to shine through.
Here’s the recipe for now, and I’ll let that — and Desi’s pictures– do the talking. A very happy Valentine’s Day to all of you. And tell me, how do you plan to say “I love you” to that special one?
- For the Cupcakes:
- 1 cup almond milk (can use soy)
- 1 tsp vinegar
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup canola or other vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 12 raspberries for the chocolate “hearts”
- Chocolate chips for stuffing the raspberries
- For the Frosting:
- 1 stick vegetable shortening (8 tbsp), at room temperature
- 1 stick vegan “butter”, at room temperature
- ¼ cup raspberries
- ¼ cup chocolate chips run through a food processor so they are in little bits (not powdered. You want the flecks to show up in the frosting)
- 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar or powdered sugar
- In a bowl, mix the almond milk and vinegar and set aside for a few minutes until it curdles.
- Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract and whisk for a minute until the mixture is all frothy.
- In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt.
- Add the cocoa-flour mixture to the wet ingredients in two batches, mixing for 20 seconds after each addition. If you need to mix the ingredients further, use a spatula and mix until just combined.
- Line a 12-tin standard muffin pan with paper liners. Pour the batter into each liner, about ¾ full.
- Stuff each of the raspberries with two or three chocolate chips– as many as they will hold. Place a raspberry in the center of each cupcake.
- Bake the cupcakes in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of a cupcake comes out clean (make sure you insert the toothpick in the batter and not the raspberry “heart”.)
- Cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. Then unmold the muffins and place them on the rack until thoroughly cooled.
- To make the frosting, beat the butter and shortening in a bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy, about two minutes.
- Add the sugar, a half a cup at a time, and beat in thoroughly. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything’s getting mixed together thoroughly.
- Add the raspberries and the chocolate that’s been broken down into tiny chips or flakes in the food processor and beat in. The frosting will turn pink from the raspberries, but you want to leave in little flecks of red.
- Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a round tip, or use a Ziploc bag like I did– just squeeze all the frosting to one corner of the bag and then cut off the tip and proceed.
- Place a raspberry at the center of each frosted cupcake. Devour.
Hungry for more Valentine’s Day ideas? Here are just a couple: