Monday, January 10, 2011

Black Bottom Cupcakes

I think winter got mad at me when I called it a tease in the last post because I woke up to three inches of snow on the ground but luckily, it got me a snow day. What makes a snow day better? Cupcakes. And not just any cupcakes. Black Bottom Cupcakes that, if you use your imagination, kind of look like little mini adorable snow-topped mountains (to continue the theme). But oh are they delicious. The recipe makes just twelve so it is the perfect amount to enjoy with your friends and not worry about having the leftovers sit around the kitchen to ruin the rest of the week’s diet (because, like me, you probably give yourself just one or two (or three) days to eat what you like each week).

I found this recipe in David Lebovitz’s The Great Book of Chocolate which I purchased last year from Amazon when they got me with one of those “Get this book & another one for 25% off if bought together!” I’m such a sucker for a semi-good deal. But boy am I glad I snagged it along with his other baking cookbook Ready for Dessert (which explains my state about 95% of the time). Ironically, my first recipe to test out comes from the add-on book. David is hysterical and I highly recommend his books and blog. He lives in Paris (hence how I discovered him when we were doing Paris Honeymoon research) and apparently bakes all day. At least that’s what I like to think he does.

So, enjoy a cup of warm milk along with these little delights. They may not be Starbucks’ version of the black bottom cupcake (do they even make those anymore?) but they are easier to get your hands on when the roads are ice rinks and people are driving their Mustangs and Camaros like it is the Indy 500. Enjoy!

Black Bottom Cupcakes
From David Lebovitz’s The Great Book of Chocolate

For the Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used semi-sweet morsels.)

For the Cupcakes:
1½ c all-purpose flour
1 c firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tbsp naturally unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 c water
1/3 c unflavored vegetable oil
1 tbsp white or cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Make the Filling:
Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in chopped chocolate pieces. Set aside.

Make the Cupcakes:
1. Adjust the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line the tin with paper muffin cups.
2. 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.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring just until smooth. Stir any longer and you will over mix the batter and end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.
4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Spoon 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.
5. Bake for 25 minutes (Did you read that? 25 minutes! Such a short amount of time to enjoy such greatness!), or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed. These moist treats will keep unrefrigerated for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.*

*Since you can’t eat all twelve right out of the oven (this is not a challenge), I found the leftovers even better nuked in the microwave for about 12 seconds.

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