There's nothing artificial about these dramatically hued treats. Supermoist (and whole-grain) chocolate cupcakes get their blackout color from black sesame seeds and antioxidant-rich dark cocoa powder. These desserts are delicious and better for you, with every bit of fun, festive flair you crave.

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Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Recipe Summary

1 hr 50 mins
25 mins
Serves 12 (serving size: 1 cupcake)


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350°F for 17 to 19 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on wire rack. Spread frosting evenly on cupcakes, and garnish with black sesame seeds.

  • SNEAKY SUBSTITUTION We skipped the artificial food dyes and instead used red-orange goji berries to achieve naturally colored frosting. Goji berries are packed with eye-healthy vitamin A and can be found at most well-stocked supermarkets in the dried fruit or bulk bin section.

  • Place cream cheese and 1/2 cup yogurt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high until smooth. Add powdered sugar; beat on low until combined. Add goji mixture; beat on medium until combined. Chill 30 minutes.

  • To prepare cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with liners; coat with baking spray. Place sesame seeds in a mini food processor; process until seeds form a paste. Place in a bowl. Whisk in eggs, granulated sugar, 1/2 cup yogurt, milk, oil, and vanilla.

  • Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Add sesame seed mixture to flour mixture; whisk to combine.

Nutrition Facts

261 calories; fat 13g; saturated fat 3g; protein 6g; carbohydrates 32g; fiber 3g; sodium 275mg; sugars 21g; added sugar 16g.