Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Easy Raspberry Frosting

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes, filled with a luscious raspberry chocolate cream cheese and topped with a semi-homemade raspberry frosting, are a stunning dessert for any time! This recipe elevates a humble chocolate cupcake boxed mix into something special.

Close up of cupcakes in decorative wrappers with birthday number candles

I have been a chocolate fan my entire life.

I could eat chocolate with any meal (including breakfast because holy cow, these Chocolate Pancakes with Chocolate Chips are amazing), and I always have some good dark chocolate on hand.

Turns out, I come by my chocoholic tendencies honestly.

Why I love this recipe:

This rich Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake recipe was made in honor of my mother’s 60th birthday!

She’s a huge chocolate lover, and I remember purchasing her chocolate-covered strawberries from a local chocolatier every year for Mother’s Day.

I wanted to make something special for my mom to celebrate her birthday, but since I’m a new mom, I didn’t have all the time in the world to tinker in my kitchen.

So I doctored up some store-bought ingredients, including chocolate cake mix and a can of buttercream frosting, to make this batch of birthday cupcakes.

The chocolate cupcake is rich and moist and filled with a tart raspberry chocolate cream cheese filling, striking a lovely balance.

After popping a fresh raspberry into the filling, I topped these beauties with an easy raspberry buttercream frosting. Because, well, this flavor combination is awesome. And because I think my mom will love it, too.

More cupcake recipes: Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Baileys Frosting | Bourbon Maple Bacon Cupcakes | Sour Cream Funfetti Cupcakes | Margarita Cupcakes with Salted Tequila Frosting | Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting | Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes

A line of cupcakes in striped wrappers on top of white stands

What you need to make this recipe:

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Let’s talk ingredients!

In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

  • Chocolate Cake Mix — I used a 17 oz. box to make this recipe, which are no longer available. Most boxed mixes are 15-16 oz.
  • Unsalted butter — you’ll need some to make the cupcakes, as well as the frosting. Make sure it’s softened.
  • Unsweetened applesauce — this adds extra moisture to our cupcakes without adding more fat. Make sure it’s at room temperature.
  • Whole milk — for more moisture in the cupcakes. I like using whole milk in baked goods for all the flavor, but a lower fat milk would also work.
  • Eggs — these help with the structure of the cupcakes.
  • Cream cheese — make sure to set the block on the countertop an hour before baking because you want it softened. This will make it easier to mix.
  • Powdered sugar — also known as confectioners sugar, this adds sweetness to the chocolate-raspberry filling and the frosting. There is no replacement.
  • Dark chocolate chips — or your favorite chocolate chips. Semisweet or bittersweet would both work here without making the cupcakes too sweet.
  • Raspberry preserves — please make sure they’re seedless! We use this for the filling, as well as the easy raspberry frosting recipe.
  • Fresh raspberries — we’ll pop these into the filling for decoration. Clean them and gently pat them try.
  • Water — this will thin out the frosting a bit if it’s too thick.

Collage of step by step pictures filling cupcakes with toppings

How to make Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

First, I whipped up the cupcakes using a boxed cake mix as my base. That box called for a stick of butter, three eggs and a cup of milk. Most box mixes call for a cup of water, 3 eggs and 1/3 cup of oil.

I’ve obviously adapted this to add more flavor to the cake mix. We’re adding butter AND unsweetened applesauce because I love applesauce in cakes.

Once the mix was smooth, I poured them evenly into cupcake liners and popped them in the oven to bake. (It took a little longer in my oven, but keep in mind that it’s ancient.)

How to make the filling and Easy Raspberry Frosting

While the Chocolate Cupcakes baked, I made the raspberry chocolate cream cheese filling.

I combined a block of softened cream cheese with powdered sugar, melted dark chocolate and raspberry preserves.

Then I combined the powdered sugar for the frosting with raspberry preserves, softened butter and water until it was perfect.

Overhead view of cupcakes with raspberries on table

How to decorate these Chocolate Cupcakes with Filling

Decorating these cupcakes was a blast, too, and was easily the most time-consuming part of this process. That being said, you can easily delegate tasks to little hands to help with this… it’s messy, but fun!

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, it’s time to get started!

With a butter knife or a tablespoon measure, scoop out a 1″ section of the cupcake for the filling, then dollop the filling in. Add a raspberry on top because it’s cute and makes a nice surprise to bite into!

Then you’ll ice the cupcakes.

If you’re fancy, bust on out those decorating and pastry bags! If you’re like me and are nowhere close to being a professional decorator, use my trick: a gallon-sized plastic bag with one of the corners snipped.

Let your creativity shine as you ice these beauts. I thought the thin ribbons of icing were super cute.

And then you eat these cupcakes… or surprise someone you love with them.

Close up view of inside sliced cupcake with raspberries on plate

These cupcakes are part of my mom’s 60th birthday present.

So if you’re reading this, Mom? The rest of your birthday present is with Leigh. I ordered it weeks ago. (Because while I might not have tons of time to spend in the kitchen, I’ve become very good at ordering things online. eCommerce FTW!)

I’ll be sure to eat a cupcake for you as y’all celebrate your birthday in style this evening! And I’ll figure out how to ship cupcakes like these so you can enjoy ’em, too!

Cupcakes displayed on plates
Cupcakes displayed on plates
Yield: 18 cupcakes

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Easy Raspberry Frosting

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 19 minutes
Total Time: 49 minutes

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes, filled with a luscious raspberry chocolate cream cheese and topped with a semi-homemade raspberry frosting, are a stunning dessert for any time! This recipe elevates a humble chocolate cupcake boxed mix and a jar of store-bought frosting into something special.


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 box (17 oz.) Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (½ stick)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs

Raspberry Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips, melted
  • 3 tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves, warmed
  • Fresh raspberries, for decoration

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

  • 5 tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves, warmed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (½ stick)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (13.23 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons water


Make the Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake cup liners. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.
  2. Blend together the butter and applesauce until smooth using a hand mixer in a large bowl.
  3. Crack the eggs in a separate bowl, and pour them into the butter/applesauce mix one by one until incorporated.
  4. Measure the milk into the mixture, and stir until smooth.
  5. Sprinkle in the box of chocolate cake mix. Mix until incorporated and smooth.
  6. Pour the cupcake mix into the prepared cupcake cup liners, and transfer to the oven.
  7. Bake for 19-23 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Once cooked through, let cool and come to room temperature.

Make the Raspberry Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, blend the cream cheese and the powdered sugar with a hand mixer.
  2. Add the raspberry preserves, stirring until combined.
  3. Lastly, pour in the melted dark chocolate. Blend until smooth and well incorporated.
  4. Set aside.

Make the Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the warm raspberry preserves and the softened butter using a hand mixer. Mix until smooth.
  2. Add the powdered sugar to the mixture, stirring slowly. The mixture will be very thick and tacky. This is normal.
  3. Measure in the water -- you might need to add more or less -- so play it by texture. When the frosting has reached the desired consistency, set aside.

Decorate the cupcakes

  1. Once the cupcakes have cooled to room temperature, scoop 1" holes out of the middle of each using a knife and spoon. Don't cut too deep, as you want there to be some cake left!
  2. Carefully dollop the Raspberry Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling into these holes.
  3. Press a single raspberry into the filling of each cupcake.
  4. Frost the cupcakes with the Raspberry Buttercream Frosting, either using a pastry bag or a plastic bag, in the decoration you desire. Repeat until all the cupcakes have been frosted.
  5. Enjoy immediately!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 286Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 276mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 1gSugar: 24gProtein: 4g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

How much did you love this recipe?

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  1. Sweet goodness, these look incredible!! I love the way you did the icing too. I would be SO happy if these were my birthday cupcakes 😉

    1. Thanks, Madison! The way the icing was done was actually a happy accident, but I thought it looked really fun and different. 🙂 I’ll be sure to send this recipe your way at the end of February so you can drop some hints to the husband and baby that these would be a great birthday surprise.

    1. Thanks, Michelle! I wish I could’ve brought these on the plane with me, but it didn’t work out. However, I totally support you having these for your 40th — they’re ridiculously delicious and super easy AND fun to make!

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