Cake Week, Day 1: Raspberry Filled Vanilla Cupcakes with Real Milk Chocolate Buttercream.

A few months ago when my Bloggy Besties started kicking around the idea of having a Cake Week, I immediately knew that whatever I baked would require a milk chocolate buttercream.  I know that selecting a frosting without a cake in mind sounds a lot of like buying a cute pair of shoes and then shopping for an outfit to go with it. But we’ve all been there, right?  C’mon! I can’t be the only one?

Needless to say, I’ve been dreaming about milk chocolate buttercream since I first whipped up that White Chocolate Buttercream for Son #1’s birthday last year.  The kid loves white chocolate, so I had to come up with something special just for him.  I had no idea that the recipe would become the most sought after recipe on my blog. Who knew?

Popularity aside, I am a steadfast Milk Chocolate Girl.  I just love the stuff! So much so, that I always have at least one 6-pack of Hershey’s bars in the house in case of emergencies.  The satisfying simplicity of milk chocolate can’t be beaten with a stick, I tell ya!

I should know, because I ate many a wooden spoonful of milk chocolate buttercream during the recipe development process.  Once the frosting was nailed down, the cake came easily.  I modified the base cake for my Chocolate Loves Vanilla Cake, and added a sweet surprise in the middle–raspberry filling.

I think it’s a pretty awesome combination! My little sweeties and the Bacon Slayer thought so, too.  Make these Raspberry Filled Vanilla Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Buttercream for your sweetie–they’ll love your for it.

Start by preheating the oven to 350° F.  Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners and set them aside.

You’ll need the usual cake ingredients: all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, eggs, butter, sugar, vanilla, and milk.  The filling is just raspberry jam and water.  We’ll talk frosting later in the post.

Place the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, and cream it together until its light and fluffy.

Add the eggs to the creamed mixture, and stir them in until they are fully incorporated. Once the eggs are worked in, stir in the vanilla. You really should add the eggs one at a time, but both my eggs slipped out of the bowl I had cracked them in, so I stirred them both in at once–and it was fine!

Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl, and whisk it all together.

Alternately add the flour mixture with the milk in several stages, stirring well to combine in between each addition.

Fill the prepared muffin cups 2/3 of the way full with the cake batter.  Be careful not to overfill ’em or you’ll end up with a big, cakey mess around the pan after the batter expands while baking.  Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.  Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 2 minutes before removing them to cool on a wire rack.

While the cupcakes are baking/cooling, thin out some raspberry jam with a couple of tablespoons of water–be sure to add them one at a time, stirring well inbetween, until the jam is a sauce-like consistency.

The jam should slowly slide of the spoon when tipped.  Be careful not to over-thin the jam–it should still be fairly thick, but able to easily pass through a pastry filling tip.

This is a pastry filling tip, also known as a Bismarck tip.  I prefer the ease of filling cupcakes with a Bismarck tip, but if you don’t happen to have one, or if pastry bags make you a little squeamish, you can still fill the cupcakes without one.  I’ll explain how in a minute.

Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, it’s time to fill them with all that raspberry goodness.  Assuming that you have a Bismarck tip, attach it to a pastry bag and fill the bag with the raspberry filling.  Insert the bottom 1/4-inch of the tip into the center of each cupcake, and give it a small squeeze to fill it.

If you do not have a Bismarck tip or pastry bag, you can fill the cupcakes by cutting a small cone-shaped piece of cake out of the center of each cupcake, spoon 1 teaspoon of the filling inside, and plop the cone of cake back over the filling.  It’s not as pretty, but it will do the job. 😉 If you’d like a visual on this process, click here.

The top of the cake will rise a bit, and a little filling may ooze out of the top–that’s OK.

However, if you’re like me and get a little heavy handed with the pastry bag and jam oozes all over the place, you might want to get paper towel to dab away the excess so as to avoid a soggy cupcake.

For the Milk Chocolate Buttercream, you will need: unsalted butter, four regular Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars, vanilla, heavy whipping cream, and powdered sugar.

Break up the chocolate and place it into a microwave safe bowl.

Heat the chocolate in a microwave in 30 second increments on full power, stirring well in between each burst, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Allow the chocolate to cool.

Once the melted milk chocolate is cool to the touch, sift the powdered sugar over the butter, and cream with a hand mixer until it’s nice and fluffy.

Add the vanilla to the whipping cream,

pour the cream mixture into the fluffy butter concoction,

and mix on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it’s really fluffy.  At this point the whipped cream frosting is quite delicious and would be lovely on any cake. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I considered frosting the cupcakes at this stage, and just make a meal out of dipping everything I could find into the melted milk chocolate.  BUT!

My conscience got the best of me, so I poured all that luscious melted milk chocolate to the mix, and mixed it in on low speed for about a minute, until it was all incorporated.

Since I’m apparently all about full-disclosure today, I should also tell you that I ate a spoonful of this loveliness straight from the bowl.

OK…two spoonfuls. It’s so light and heavenly–almost akin to chocolate mousse!

Pipe the frosting on top of the filled cupcakes, and garnish with sprinkles.  If you are not going to serve the cupcakes right away, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Allow them to sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Raspberry Filled Vanilla Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Buttercream are as pretty on the inside as they are on the outside. Try them today!

Before I give you the printable, I just want to remind you to come back tomorrow to see Mads’ perfect Valentine creation for Cake Week.  I honestly let out a little squee! with delight when I saw the photos. You won’t want to miss it!

And please don’t forget to link-up your own favorite cake recipes on our Cake Week Link Party found at the end of this post.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling

Makes 24 Cupcakes

For Cake Batter:

1 C. unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ C. granulated sugar

2 ¼ C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

3 ½ tsp. baking powder

3 eggs

1 Tbs. vanilla extract

1 ½ C. milk

For the Filling:

8 oz. red raspberry jam

2-3 Tbs. water

Special Equipment: a pastry bag fitted with a “Bismarck” or filling tip. (preferred, but optional)

For the Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in eggs, one at a time, until they have been well blended.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  5. Stir the vanilla extract into the milk.
  6. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, stirring well to incorporate.
  7. Then, with the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour in ½ of the milk mixture, stirring until blended.  Scrape down sides of bowl, as needed.
  8. Repeat the additions by adding another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the rest of the milk, and ending with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture, stirring well between each addition.
  9. Use a large scoop to fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 of the way full with cake batter.  Be careful not to over fill, or the cupcake batter will expand over the cupcake liners and onto the pan while baking.
  10. Bake cupcakes in the preheated 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.  A cake tester inserted in the centers should come out clean.
    1. Cool for 2 minutes in the pan, and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely before filling and frosting.

For the Filling:

  1. Place the red raspberry jam in a small bowl.  Jam does not have to be seedless, unless that is your preference.
  2. Whisk a little water into the jam, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the jam falls in sheets from a spoon.  Be careful not to over-thin the jam—we don’t want it runny, just thin enough to pipe through a pastry bag.
  3. Spoon the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a filling tip—also called a “Bismarck” tip.  I prefer to fill the cupcakes with the Bismarck tip because it is the easiest way to get the filling inside and avoid a bigger mess.  Cupcakes can be filled without the special tip, which I will explain later.
  4. Once cupcakes are completely cool, insert the Bismarck tip about ¼-inch into the center of each cupcake, and gently squeeze a small amount of filling into the cake.  The top of the cupcake will expand slightly once it is full.  Try not to over-fill the cupcakes, or the filling will run everywhere.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for
  6. If you don’t have a Bismarck filling tip, cut a small cone-shaped circle out of the center of each cupcake, fill the new hole with about 1 teaspoon of filling, and replace the circle on top of the filling.
  7. Pipe Milk Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (recipe follows) on top of the filled cupcakes in a swirled pattern.  Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
  8. Serve immediately, or store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Remove the cupcakes from the ‘fridge and allow to come to room temperature about 30 minutes before serving.

Whipped Milk Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Makes about 2 ½ cups

1 C. unsalted butter, softened

2 ½ C. powdered sugar (or more, depending on desired consistency)

4 Hershey’s Milk Chocolate candy bars (1.55 oz. each), chopped

¼ C. heavy whipping cream

½ tsp. vanilla extract

  1. Put the chopped milk chocolate bars into a small bowl.  Heat the chocolate in 30 second increments in the microwave set to 60% power.  Stir after each increment, and continue to heat 30 seconds at a time, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Set aside and allow to completely cool.
  2. Once the milk chocolate has cooled, sift the powdered sugar over the butter, in a large bowl.  Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Measure the whipping cream into a cup, and stir in the vanilla extract into the cream.
  4. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually pour the cream mixture the bowl.
  5. Once the cream mixture has been incorporated into the frosting, fold on the melted (but cooled) milk chocolate until incorporated.
  6. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high, and beat frosting for an additional 3 minutes.
  7. Makes about 2 ½ cups of frosting.
  • This makes a medium consistency frosting, which is very spreadable and creamy.
  • For a stiff decorator frosting: add more powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time, until desired consistency (about another cup or so.)
  • For a thinner consistency to fill cupcakes or sandwich cookies, add about ½ cup less powdered sugar.

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  1. says

    This might sound totally deranged, but I will always eat your soggy cupcakes if raspberry jam is involved. Because I’m totally shameless like that. More importantly: You incorporated sprinkles. Amen.

  2. Maggie says

    Ooooh….that buttercream looks so good….and I usually steer clear of frosting with powdered sugar because it gets so sweet…but that milk chocolate would balance it out perfectly. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks for being such a great baking inspiration to me!

  3. Amy says

    I’m not saying I sampled too much of the batter as things progressed during V-Day Cupcake Baking this morning — but I can tell you that my 24th cupcake is a tad on the skimpy side. Are you sure you have all those ingredient proportions correct? 😉

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear Friend!!

  4. says

    I love the idea of the raspberry surprise waiting for you when you bite into these lovely cupcakes and as for the chocolate buttercream frosting…well I just can’t say enough good things about that!

  5. says

    Mmmm The raspberry sauce puts it over the top. I’ve always wondered how people get perfectly filled cupcakes. Thanks for the tip! Happy CAKE WEEK!


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