perfect summer cupcakes

Let’s talk about cupcakes.  Really, really, good cupcakes that don’t need too much of an explanation.  Why?  Because its a three-day weekend dear readers, and I have a date with my husband and some good friends at the bowling alley in an hour!

I want you to have this cupcake recipe today though, just in case you want to make them for a 4th of July party, summer picnic or barbeque, a little girl’s birthday party or just because you have a craving for some chocolate this weekend.  They would be well-received at any event, as they were at our barbeque last Saturday.

cupcake 4

Many thanks to the lovely Tara, whose family is filled with a bunch of chocolate fiends, and whom I knew would pull-through for me when I asked “What is your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe?”.  Pull-through she did, even helping me out as I pondered the type of frosting to use.  You see, as I’ve mentioned before, my dessert of choice for any outdoor event in the middle of a hot Virginia summer typically involves lemon.  After realizing this problem, I decided to go with chocolate for our barbeque, but was worried that a chocolate on chocolate combo would be too heavy and rich.  Tara agreed, and supported my idea of going with a berry-flavored buttercream, a la Love and Olive Oil.  Now, if only I could learn to decorate my cakes as beautifully as both of these ladies do…

cupcake 2

The cupcakes were delicious – rich and moist with a delicate crumb and perfectly domed tops.  The tang of fresh raspberry puree’ whipped into sweet buttercream frosting complimented them wonderfully.  The combination was so good, in fact, that they caused a dear friend of ours to eat the two cupcakes sent home with her that were meant for her 3-year old daughter.  Shhhh…I won’t tell, no worries.  I can’t say that I wouldn’t do the same thing.

For those of you celebrating, have a Happy 4th!

cupcake 6

Chocolate Cupcakes

original recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook (One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes) with adaptations suggested by Tara at Seven Spoons

makes 24 cupcakes


  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1-1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1-1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus 2 tbsp
  • 1-1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups warm water


  1. Preheat oven to 350*. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix in the eggs, yolk, milk, sour cream, oil, vanilla and warm water. Beat on low speed until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes.
  3. Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each about 2/3s full. I actually over-filled mine a bit, and still had enough left over for 2-3 additional cupcakes. Next time I’ll probably plan to make 30 cupcakes total with this recipe.
  4. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, for 20-27 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Mine took 26 minutes, but like I said, they were slightly over-filled.
  5. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

inspired by Love and Olive Oil

I made two batches of this frosting for 24 cupcakes and had about 1/4 of it left.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 5 tbsp fresh raspberry puree, strained
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Cream the butter in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until light and fluffy.   Slowly add 1 cup of the sugar and beat until smooth.
  2. Slowly add the raspberry puree and mix until combined.
  3. Add remaining confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until well incorporated.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and continue to beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.

The frosting can be made the night before, but do not refrigerate it.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

cupcake 7


31 responses to “perfect summer cupcakes

  1. WOW do those ever look good. And beautiful pictures. I so wish I had half your talent at capturing beautiful images.

  2. oneordinaryday

    Oooh. Love the addition of the raspberry buttercream frosting!

  3. WOW those look amazing!!

  4. Those are stunning!!!

    Happy 4th!

  5. I love looking at cupcakes. They’re often so much prettier than cake. I usually don’t like eating them that much. I’m just not a cake fan.

  6. My mouth is actually watering. These are so adorable and yummy-looking!

  7. I totally agree with Whitney-your photography skills are incredible, so enviable! The cupcakes look absolutely divine!

  8. I think they look wonderful – and that chocolate looks to die for!

  9. These are so pretty and sweet…kind of like an awesome blogger/baker/photographer I know…

  10. So glad to see that you liked the recipe, I have been eagerly-awaiting your thoughts. Your cupcakes are perfect, just terribly, terribly pretty. I’d talk cupcakes with you anyday, my dear.

    Have a wonderful night with your husband.

  11. irunisweat

    I swear i just made something very similar yesterday. I have been experimenting with buttercream and added the raspberries. Isn’t it divine?

  12. Those cupcakes look beautiful AND delicious!

  13. Love the cupcakes!

  14. These are BEAUTIFUL! Wish I had one right now!

  15. Yum! How gorgeous – wish I had the baking gene….

  16. Oh wow those look great! What awesome pictures, too.

  17. Happy 4th!
    Please invite me over – those look delicious!

  18. So now that you know I’m just up the street, do I get baking samples??!! 😛 Jog first, cupcakes after!

  19. Beautiful cupcakes! Thanks for this recipe… I always prefer a chocolate base that way I can get creative with the frosting flavor so this is perfect for me 🙂 hope you had a happy fourth!

  20. i love the color of the frosting on the chocolate cupcake – they’re beautiful!

  21. Love the pictures. Those look hard to resist.

  22. Those look so sweet! Rich and dark…yum

  23. lookingforserenity

    Yumm. look so delish. ill deff. try them when i get the baking urge!

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  25. Send me some! Pretty please!

  26. These look fabulous, but I went with vanilla cupcakes. I might do this frosting though!!!!

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