Black-Bottom Cupcakes

While planning a photo lab meeting, I asked my friends/co-workers Lucas and Gregory what I should bake for it. They said marbled chocolate cupcakes, so this is what I came up with, though I made them mini-sized. The cheesecake-filling didn’t quite sink in as much as I expected, but I suspect that didn’t matter too much. I think I’d use the tip of a knife to swirl the topping in a bit next time. I also omitted the chopped chocolate in the topping because I forgot to buy it. I managed.

I also just noticed I have been on a serious David Lebovitz kick lately, having just gotten two of his books over the holidays.

from David Lebovitz’s The Great Book of Chocolate

yields 12 regular-sized or 32 miniature cupcakes

Cheesecake topping:

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I omitted this because I didn’t have any chocolate on hand, but I’m sure it would have been great)

  1. Combine cream cheese, sugar and egg in a bowl and beat until smooth. You could use a hand mixer, but I found a whisk to be both sufficient and energy-efficient.
  2. Stir in chopped chocolate. Set aside while you prepare the cupcake batter.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
5 tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup unflavored vegetable oil
1 tbsp white or cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line or grease muffin/cupcake tin.
  2. Sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
  3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry mixture until just smooth. Do not overmix- your cupcakes will suffer.
  4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. For mini cupcakes, I found that a scant tablespoon of batter per tin was perfect.
  5. Spoon a tablespoon or two on each cupcake- I always do less on each so that each will get some, and then go over again with the remainder. For mini cupcakes, I used about a teaspoon per tin.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until edges are golden/brown. In my opinion, under-baked is always preferable to over-baked.

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