chocolate cake with raspberries

chocolate cake with raspberries

Today is my husband’s birthday. Rather than go out to eat, he requested dinner at home, specifically barbecue bake followed by a chocolate raspberry cake for dessert.  The first time I made this cake for him was back when we were newly married. It was a huge hit back then (my friends were always excited when his birthday came around, because they would come over to help us eat the leftovers) and is still one of our favorites all these years later.


The recipe I used today was my most recent favorite chocolate cake recipe, and I made it in two 9-inch round pans. Once they were baked and cooled, on one I poked holes into the cake using a fork, then placed a layer of frozen raspberries on top of it (the holes are so that the juice from the raspberries can seep into the cake and give it wonderful raspberry flavor).  After the cake and the berries sat for a little while, allowing the berries to get to room temperature, I covered the raspberries with a nice thick layer of rich chocolate fudge frosting and placed a few fresh raspberries on top. On the second cake I put only the frosting — no raspberries or fruit of any kind — since my youngest child is a chocolate purist.

In my husband’s opinion, nothing says “I love you” and “Happy birthday” like a home cooked meal and a rich chocolate dessert. Today he is a year older, and a very happy man.

raspberry cake -- poke holes

raspberry cake -- frozen raspberries on top

raspberry cake -- cover with frosting

chocolate cakes

raspberry cake -- slice of cake

chocolate raspberry cake -- take a bite

vanilla bean cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

vanilla bean cupcake 1

Last Thursday during lunch time I received this text from my teenage daughter (FYI: At our local high school the students are allowed to use their cellphones during lunch period):

do we have vanilla beans?

My response:


Then this text from her, two minutes later:

I want to make vanilla bean cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

My response to that:



My daughter has never made vanilla bean cupcakes. Nor have I. We don’t even have a recipe for vanilla bean cupcakes. I’m not exactly sure how the idea for these cupcakes popped into her head last Thursday, but I’m very glad it did.

So, after school that day she stopped at the grocery to pick up vanilla beans, butter, and cream cheese. At home she searched for recipes online and after reviewing a few picked this one (minor changes were made, as noted below). Later that evening she made the vanilla bean cupcakes and the next day after school she and her friend made the cream cheese frosting and frosted the cupcakes. Then we ate them (well, not all of them, but enough). It was a good day.

The cupcakes were light and delicious and yummy. Now I’m looking forward to her next food related text.


Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

(The original recipe states this makes 16 cupcakes, by filling the cups just over half full. Instead we filled them just under half full and made 24 cupcakes.)

1 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 3/4 cups flour, sifted (original recipe called for cake flour, which we did not have)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 eggs

1/3 cup sour cream

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup whole milk


Heat oven to 350F.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean, using the back of a spoon to break up the clumps and to infuse the flavor into the sugar.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the mixer.

To this add the vanilla bean/sugar mixture. Mix all until well combined.

Add butter. Mix on low speed for three minutes.

In a small bowl whisk until smooth the eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla extract.

Add the egg mixture to the flour/butter mixture. Beat on medium speed until combined.

While on low speed, slowly add the milk.

The batter will be thin.

Using paper liners (or silicone liners, if you prefer) in muffin tins, fill each one about 1/2 full (as noted above, you may get anywhere from 16 to 24 cupcakes, depending on how much batter goes into each one).

Bake for 14 minutes. Use a cake tester or wooden toothpick to test if they are done. They won’t be golden brown, so do no go by sight to test if they are done … trust the toothpick! Continue to cook for one minute more, if need be, and then test again. Repeat a time or two if the toothpick comes out wet.

When the toothpick is clean, remove muffin tins from oven and transfer each cupcake to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.


Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup), at room temperature

8 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature

approximately 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (*Note: My daughter states “I don’t measure vanilla extract” and is surprised others do.)

3 to 4 cups powdered sugar


Beat butter and cream cheese in mixer on medium/high speed until well blended.

Add vanilla and continue to mix for a couple minutes.

Gradually add powdered sugar until desired consistency.

*This recipe was found on the Kraft Brands site, a link to it is here, though they use less vanilla extract in their recipe (and I assume they measure it as well) and is similar to the recipe I’ve posted previously, found here.

vanilla bean cupcake 4