I’m so blessed to be part of a church I can call my spiritual family. People I laugh, cry, pray, and grow with. One of those family members that I love dearly is my friend JC. She is busy mom of three boys, energetic, and always has a warm smile. Her genuine warmth and outgoing personality immediately put me at ease when I was a newcomer to the church. I respect her transparency and radiance that draws others to her. And she’s cool enough to let me make pizza with her boys (I remember the pepperoni accidentally falling on the floor and we used it anyways. Haha.. a household of boys is fun!). She inspired me to make these cupcakes to celebrate her birthday last weekend.

chocolate cupcakes with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting
1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated (white) sugar
2/3 cup of light brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
½ cup sour cream, room temperature
2 TB coffee
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 ½ tsp of baking soda
½ tsp of salt

1.    Preheat oven to 350F.
2.    Cream butter and both sugars in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
3.    Add one egg at a time and the vanilla extract.
4.    Mix buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee in another mixing bowl.
5.    In another (3rd) mixing bowl, shift the flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder.
6.    Add each mixture into the creamed one in batches of thirds, alternating the dry and wet ingredients in. Finish folding the batter with a rubber spatula.
7.    Line a cupcake baking tray with liners and fill up to two-thirds.
8.    Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
9.    Cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the baking tray. Cool completely before frosting.

vanilla bean cream cheese frosting with raspberries
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 vanilla bean, split open and seeds scraped out with a knife
3 cups of powdered sugar (taste it to see how sweet you want it)
1 package of fresh raspberries

1.    Cream butter and cream cheese together in a large mixing bowl until the texture is medium.
2.    Add 2 cups of powdered sugar until incorporated. Add 1-2 more cups until incorporated. Add the seeds of the vanilla bean and mix well. Beat until creamy in texture.
3.    Frost the cupcakes and a raspberry on top of each, upside down.
4.    Enjoy!

Note: I used a hand mixer to help with the job. Or, some elbow grease works here too, but the cream cheese is tough to mix/cream by hand.

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