I Am Baker

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Blackberry Filling

This aint your mama’s cupcake.

When I stumbled across this recipe on McCormick’s site I was a bit taken aback.  Did they seriously list Coarse Grind Pepper as an ingredient?

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Blackberry Filling


Yes they did.  Along with crushed rosemary!  In a CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE!


(that was my mind being blown)

I mean, I know that other people experiment with flavor and texture all the time.  But I dont.  I tend to stick with sugar layered with sugar infused with sugar covered in sugar.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Blackberry Filling


I am glad I did.  These are really fantastic.  The pepper and rosemary are definitely subtle when mixed with the blackberry preserves and end up intensifying the dark chocolate flavor considerably.


Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside


We unintentionally had Rosemary Grilled Chicken for dinner the night that I served these.  It almost seemed if there was a lingering essence… like a mouth memory.  Does that make sense?  When biting into the cupcake the familiar flavor triggered a smile and a blissful sigh.

It just all worked.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Blackberry Filling and Chocolate Ganache


  • 1 package dark chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup blackberry preserves
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Collection Black Pepper, Coarse
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Collection Rosemary, Crushed
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. Prepare and bake cake mix as directed for cupcakes. Allow to cool.
  2. Make an indentation in the center of each cupcake using the handle of a wooden spoon or straw. Be careful to not break through the bottom of cupcake.
  3. Mix blackberry preserves, pepper and rosemary in small bowl. Place in a resealable plastic bag and then cut off a small corner from the bottom of the bag.
  4. Pipe about 1 teaspoon of the preserves into each cupcake.
  5. Chocolate Ganache
  6. Microwave chocolate and cream in medium microwaveable bowl on high for one minute. Remove and stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth. If you need to place back into the microwave to melt remaining chocolate you can do it in 20 second increments.
  7. Let stand until chocolate is set.
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Slightly adapted from McCormick.com with permission.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside!


Let me know if you try this cupcake… I would love to know your thoughts!


  1. says

    Ok, I NEVER would have thought to add those things to cupcakes. I’m a big-time sweets girl! But my husband is NOT…. He loves Blackberry Chip Ice Cream, so I’m thinking these cupcakes would be the perfect treat to make for him. They look beautiful too!

  2. says

    These sound amazing!
    And what gorgeous pictures, too! All the deep dark rich chocolate browns…I now have a better understanding of the phrase “food porn” ;)
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Becky says

    Love the idea of this cupcake, but disappointed not to find a chocolate cupcake recipe with your post. Do you have a good one to share? Thanks!

    • says

      Sure! Feel free to search on my blog for chocolate cake recipes, I have a few. If you are so disappointed with the recipe I have chosen, please do feel free to substitute your own favorite. As I try to relay often on my blog, I dont always bake from scratch and dont want to pretend like I do.

  4. says

    I don’t think all bakers must bake from scratch. Like you say in your post, you’re blog isn’t about from scratch baking. Just like I have a local business, my cottage kitchen, and I do bake from scratch. It’s my brand. When people are looking for that, then they come to me. I feel like mixes exist to make life easier for busy people who would like to bake something quick from home. They have their place, and you show that they can be used to make something beautiful. I commend you for that! I also share you on the web because I think you do wonderful work. I think you said it perfectly when you said, substitute your own “from scratch” recipe. Good advice for those out there who bake from scratch.

  5. Catherine says

    I love rosemary & pepper and to have those 2 ingredients in a chocolate cupcake just seems so decadent!! I can’t wait to try them. Thanks for another great idea!

  6. Candace says

    “…the familiar flavor triggered a smile and a blissful sigh.” What beautiful phrasing!! (have always loved your recipes. Box mixes and all. ; )

  7. says

    This sounds crazy but somehow delicious. (And I LOVE and am so relieved to see bake mixes in your recipes!!! It’s a relief not to make absolutely everything from scratch! Plus, I’m not sure I’ll ever find a substitute for Ghirardelli brownie mix……..)

  8. says

    These are OUT OF CONTROL!!! The first time I baked with black pepper and chocolate I was inspired by my sister. She had a favorite restaurant that served a black pepper chocolate cake filled with a lemon thyme pastry creme. I was skeptical. But we LOVED them! I wrote a post & my readers were WAY skeptical. But whatever. They missed out.
    Your cupcakes are so crazy gorgeous! Love the rosemary– a flavor memory totally makes sense!

  9. Beatrice says

    We just made some blackberry preserve the other day and I was thinking to use some in a choclate cupcake…. How I hadn’t figured out. Now I know. Will definately do this at work today. Post pics later. Thanks so much for sharing.

  10. Andrea Fuller says

    I made these tonight for my friend’s birthday tomorrow. DELICIOUS! I could not find dark chocolate cake mix anywhere so I used the Hershey’s cake mix and omitted the chocolate filling that it came with. At first I was skeptical about the filling because it seemed really spicy, but it is tamed by the cupcake and ganache. She is going to love it! Thanks for posting!

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