Yes to Yummy

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes (gluten-free, dairy-free option, nut-free, paleo)

September 28, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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I sit here with an unopened French textbook, rubbing my eyes and getting easily distracted by my Facebook feed. I’m ready to fall into my bed and sleep after another long day of torture high school, but I carry on, because I must share with you the madness of CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CUPCAKES.

Why did I spend an entire afternoon knee-deep in baking bowls and pink frosting? Two reasons. I can’t tell you one, but I can tell you the other.

And that would be the Abby Food Delivery Service, for lack of a better name.

Every Monday, I come into school with my canvas bag filled with goodies. I guard it protectively all day, making sure no one steals my children delicious masterpieces. Call me a kiss-up or a goody-two-shoes, but I love handing out my goodies to my teachers. For me, the best way to express my love is through something sweet, usually chocolate. It gives me such pleasure to see someone’s face light up at an unexpected cupcake, because when someone I care about is happy, I’m happy, too. That’s why I got interested in baking in the first place: there is no better way to touch someone’s heart than through his or her stomach.

I won’t lie—I don’t like all of my teachers. But I really like a lot of them…even ones that aren’t my teachers yet. Sometimes, they won’t know my name: they’ll just know I’m the girl with a smiling face and a treat in hand…and sometimes a rabbit hat on her head. Good teachers don’t get enough appreciation—they put up with often rowdy and annoying high schoolers, sometimes receiving no thanks in return. For me, a good teacher is often the only reason I drag myself to school and sit through my classes without constantly doodling a million cats on my notebook or writing a sonnet about how to cut up a chicken. 

Although I never stop complaining about the jerks at my school, there are plenty of wonderful people I am so honored to know. I don’t regret meeting them for the world, and perhaps they’re part of the reason why my ceaseless frustration with high school is worth it.

So, take these cupcakes and make them for someone you love. It could be a significant other, child, cousin, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, neighbor, friend, plumber…anyone. Just let them know that you care and you appreciate that they do what they do, even when things get crappy.

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This recipe is gorgeous at every step. Yes, even getting pink frosting all over yourself is gorgeous. Not that I would know.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with purple liners. OK, they don’t have to be purple, but purple is my favorite color…and two of my favorite-people-ever’s favorite color, too, so you know, it kinda had to be purple.

In a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, melt together 1/4 cup of butter, 1/4 cup of coconut oil, and 1 cup of dark chocolate chips (which is equivalent to 6 ounces of chocolate bar pieces). Feel free to substitute all coconut oil for the butter, or all butter for the coconut oil. Contrary to popular belief, butter—good butter—is good for you. If you’re buying organic, grass-fed stuff, you’re getting a good dose of vitamins A, D, E, K, and K2 as well as healthy saturated fats. Don’t believe me? Google it. Poke around the internet. You’ll see. Now, I wouldn’t recommend eating a stick of butter for breakfast, but a little stirred into a dish for some added creaminess or using it in baking is A-OK by me.

Once the ingredients are melted, remove them from the heat and stir often to prevent from congealing. Set aside for later.

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Separate 4 eggs and whisk together the yolks, 1/2 cup of strongly brewed (DECAF!) coffee, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. With a spatula, slowly stir in the chocolate mixture, making sure to combine well. 

To the bowl, sift in 1/3 cup of coconut flour, 1 tablespoon of tapioca flour, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Do not skimp on the salt—it helps bring out the chocolate flavor. Fold in with the spatula, being careful not to over-mix. Set aside while you beat the egg whites.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer (or by hand, if you’re feeling really ambitious), beat together the egg whites with 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Start slowly, then increase the speed to medium-high. Once soft peaks form, slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup of raw coconut nectar, raw honey, OR maple syrup. Keep beating until firm but not stiff. The texture should be like petting a soft kitten…and how long it’ll take to get there will depend on the speed of your contraption. It’ll look like this.

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My egg whites look just like a soft kitten, of course.

VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY carefully, fold the egg whites into the bowl with the chocolate. As the French say, “Doucement, doucement, doucement!” (Translation = “Gently, gently, gently!”) Those egg whites are going to add great structure to your cupcakes while keeping them light and airy…plus, you worked so hard on making them perfect, so DON’T. MESS. IT. UP. That’s a command.

Using a large spoon, gently pour two heaping scoops into the bottom of each muffin liner. Plop in 2 raspberries per space…

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…and cover the tops with another heaping scoop of batter. Keep repeating this process until you run out of chocolaty goodness—I made 16 cupcakes with mine.

Bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center and the tops AND bottoms are firm to the touch, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

To make the frosting, which I adapted from this recipe, whip together 1 cup of palm shortening OR softened butter, 1/2 cup of raw coconut nectar, honey, OR maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of coconut flour, 1/4 cup of arrowroot starch, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and airy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, crush up 1 4-ounce bag of freeze-dried raspberries in the bowl of a food processor until a fine powder, about 30 seconds. Pour the raspberries into the stand mixer and continue whipping for another 2 minutes until fully combined.

Fill a pastry bag or a plastic bag with a corner tip snipped off with the frosting. Pipe it all over the cooled cupcakes, making it as pretty or messy as you’d like. Top with fresh raspberries and serve or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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What is your favorite cupcake flavor combination? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!


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