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.

Jamie Vespa, MS, RD
This Story Originally Appeared On


Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Recipe Summary test

25 mins
1 hr 50 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.