Friday, February 22, 2008

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Today started out one of those rare desert mornings; it was raining. A lot! I actually got to turn off the auto sprinklers and give the water table a break for 24 hours. It stayed mostly cloudy all day and sprinkled a few times in the p.m. Rainy days give me the urge to bake something yummy for dessert (also get the urge on nice sunny days. What's up with that?) so after scanning my list of recipes to try, I settled on David Lebovitz's Black Bottom Cupcakes. All the ingredients were on hand, except the mini chocolate chips, so I just gave the regular ones a quick chop. David suggests either regular or lower-fat cream cheese, and I used the regular. There was extra filling after dolloping the cupcake batter, so Eddie and I started eating the rest until I realized we were eating something with raw eggs. What a killjoy! Anywho, the batter was really easy to throw together. Not even butter to soften ahead of time. It's actually kind of thin, as its main liquid is water and regular oil. As these came out of the oven and cooled, the center collapses a bit and the filling peeks out nicely. Not too sweet, but perfect with ice-cold milk.

Black-Bottom Cupcakes

Makes 12.
Adapted slightly from "The Great Book of Chocolate," by David Lebovitz.


• 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese (regular or Neufchatel), softened

• 1/3c. granulated sugar

• 1 egg

• 1/3c. semisweet chocolate mini-chips


• 11/2c. flour

• 1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar

• 5 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

• 1 tsp. baking soda

• 1/4tsp. salt

• 1 c. water

• 1/3c. unflavored vegetable oil

• 1 tbsp. white or cider vinegar

• 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12-cup muffin tin or line it with paper cupcake cups.

Prepare the filling: In the small bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, granulated sugar and egg, beating until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the chocolate mini-chips; set aside.

Prepare the cupcake batter: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl combine the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and stir in the liquid mixture, stirring only until smooth. (Avoid stirring further.)

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups-- about1/4cup each. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the filling mixture into the center of each. The tins will be quite full.

Bake 23 to 25 minutes, until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed.

Cool completely before removing paper liners. The centers sink as the cupcakes cool.