Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Black-Bottom Cupcakes

        This past Sunday I had another fun opportunity to bake up a treat. Next up in these months of birthdays and holidays came my stepmom's birthday, then sister, Brys', 23rd (::news flash:: she's practically the same age as me now. when did this happen?!). The family planned yet another gathering around the table to honor the lives of these women we love. It was decided we would pick up some quality Italian carry-out for the meal (Maggiano's, anyone? Yum.), and for dessert, Susan (a pastry chef-to-be, herself---amazing), declared she would be making her very favorite lemon cake with which I was, of course, on board (There will soon be a post regarding Susan + baking + all I must learn from her.). The question to follow was what sweet Brys would have for her own birthday treat. Everyone should have her own favorite on her own day, I firmly believe. And, for one who bakes, there's nothing more fun than getting to make someone's favorite anything (I take requests! I love requests.). So, I prodded Brys to finally draw out of her a favorite dessert (she's a tricky one! not a huge chocolate lover. not big on fruit in things. are we really related?). Eventually, I was given, "I like cheesecake. Anything cheesecake." Sweet. I can work with that! So, ultimately---to make a not-too-long story yet a bit shorter for your sake---I ended up not being able to make a full-fledged cheesecake (due to time and refrigeration limitations), so I landed on this tasty recipe. I'd seen it here and there with its quirky little name and enticing ingredient list, and finally got around to making it. Essentially, it's a rich chocolate cupcake with a big ole dollop of cheesecake on the top. The cheesecake sinks down a bit during baking and then the whole thing is refrigerated following, leaving you with a moist little goodie sure to please any chocolate and/or cheesecake lover in your life. Brys oo'ed and aw'ed and loved them (even despite her but mild interest in chocolate), and I couldn't help but have a second myself.

{Lovely Brys}


...the best little sister i could ask for...happy (early) birthday, baby. :)

slightly adapted from smitten kitchen
yields 1 dozen regular cupcakes


for the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese (low fat is ok), room temp
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temp
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

for the cake:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup coffee (or water if you'd prefer. coffee intensifies the chocolate taste.)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a handful of mini-chocolate chips to sprinkle on top just before baking, optional
1. For filling, beat together cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg, beating until smooth. Stir in chopped chocolate and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350F and butter a 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper cups.
3. In medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until combined, then whisk in the brown sugar, pressing out the lumps as best you can.
4. In separate small bowl, mix together coffee/water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. 
5. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients in, stirring until just incorporated. It's important not to stir too much here. Just until you see no more dry.
6. Pour batter into muffin cups to about 3/4 full, then spoon or pipe filling into center of each until the cups are almost full. (I put my filling in a quart-sized ziplock, then snipped the end off and made a make-shift piping bag. This helps to get the filling best centered.)
7. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cakes are bouncy when lightly pressed and the cheesecake centers begin to golden on the edges. Let cool in pan then refrigerate until serving. These are best when chilled but will also keep for a couple days out of the fridge in an airtight container.  


  1. Oh my gosh! I want to try these so bad! I bet they were amazing, everything you cook always is.

  2. <3!!! I know... I'm difficult. I loved em though! So good that I didn't share a single one of the leftover :) Thanks sister