I first came across these at Starbucks one lazy afternoon a few years ago. Intrigued by its name because at first glance, it looked like any other innocuous chocolate cupcake. As such, one would think, “Aren’t all chocolate cup black on the bottom?” And in truth, they are…but not all of them have a decidedly genius little addition to them…a cheesecake like filling!
Now for those of you, like me, who has a sweet spot for both chocolate cake and cheesecake, this little cupcake is for us! Moist, tender devil’s food cake with a sweet, creamy cheesecake filling in the center, in a small, portable little package. It’s both delightful, decadent, and dreamy…
That being said though, this recipe is clearly a case of looking past the book cover…it’s what’s on the inside that counts…at least as far as I’m concerned. I say this because in my 2 attempts to make this little gem of a recipe, instead of yielding what I was hoping to be a seemingly innocent decadent devil’s food cake cupcake with a crater of deliciousness in the middle, mine have always ended up looking something akin to the cream cheese monster pointing its finger at me and laughing demonically as it refuses to let my cream cheese sink! I sigh and just hang my head…
I think what I should be doing is perhaps making a small well in the devil’s food batter before piping in the filling to ensure a “cratered center” look. In any case, aesthetic failure though it may be, it still does not take away from how good these little cakes are.
Ladies, with V-day fast approaching, this is a great little treat to make for your honeys. If they don’t like it…it’s a sure sign for them to hit the road! Men who don’t like chocolate…something wrong with that equation there. Men, take note…the surest way to a woman’s heart is right here through these black bottoms! And who says food can’t be a window into someone’s soul?
Black Bottom Cupcakes
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s ‘The Great Book of Chocolate’
Yield: 12 full-size or approximately 30 mini cupcakes
For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, regular or reduced fat, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the filling
Beat together the cream cheese and granulated sugar until smooth. Add egg and beat until smooth. Stir in the chopped chocolate pieces. Place in sturdy resealable ziplock bag and place in refrigerator to cool.
Make the cupcakes
Adjust the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line the tin with paper muffin cups.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring until just smooth. Stir any longer and you will over mix the batter and end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.
Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Take creamcheese filled ziplock from refrigerator and snip off a tiny corner of the bag. Pipe a few tablespoons of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely, which is fine.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed. These moist treats will keep well unrefrigerated for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.
Note: I personally prefer these little beauties cold and straight from the fridge. Cold or room temperature, they’re still amazing!