Black Bottom Cupcakes are definitely a dessert in my book, but I must be the only one who thinks that way, as just about every coffee shop and bakery that stocks them (including Starbucks) puts these out for breakfast. They are moist chocolate cakes with cheesecake-like centers, rich and decadent – especially if you are eating them in the morning.
The cupcakes are tricky to make because you need to have the right ratio of filling to cake and the filling has to hold together in just the right way to prevent it from (a) sinking into the cake completely or (b) detaching from the sides of the cake as it cools. I have made variations many times with varying degrees of success. All were tasty, but none were perfect. Then I saw a gorgeous picture of the cupcakes in an issue of Cook’s Country and had a feeling that their recipe might be the one I was looking for.
They turned out perfectly, moist and tender with a very rich flavor that doesn’t let you stop at just one bite. The cream cheese filling has miniature chocolate chips stirred into it for an extra boost of chocolate. I did run into one issue with their instructions, which was that I found their baking time, as stated, to be way off. It called for 25 minutes at 400F! While every cupcake and muffin recipe will vary slightly in baking time, it seems odd that 350F will cook most cakes of this size in 15-20 minutes. Why would a signifigantly higher temperature require a longer baking time when the cupcake doesn’t contain any special ingredients? Just about every cupcake would be burned to a crisp with those instructions!
I didn’t want to end up with a whole batch of burned cupcakes, but I still wanted to test their time. I let a few of mine bake at the high temperature for almost the full time and – no surprise – they burned on both the top edges and on the bottom. Black Bottom Cupcakes are supposed to be decadent and moist and, even if the longer baking time didn’t burn them, it certainly would have dried them out. I’ve given a much lower baking temperature in my instructions below, which should produce better (by which I mean unburned) results. If you cakes aren’t done, just pop them in for an extra minute or two. Remember that you can always add time, but you can never “uncook” an overcooked cake.
Black Bottom Cupcakes
Cream Cheese Filling
16-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tbsp sour cream, room temperature
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips (not full size*)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, make filling. Beat together cream cheese, sugar and salt until smooth. Beat in egg whites and sour cream. Stir in chocolate chips and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Make a well in the center and add in sour cream, water, butter and vanilla. Stir together until just combined and no streaks of flour remain.
Divide cake batter evenly among 24 cupcake liners. Top each portion of batter with 1 rounded tablespoon cream cheese mixture (It is ok to have a little left over).
Bake for 20-25 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the side (cake only part) should come out with a few moist crumbs on it. Rotate pans halfway through baking if you are using two racks.
Cool in pans for 5 minutes. Cream cheese filling should sink slightly in this time. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes 24 cupcakes.
*Full-sized chocolate chips will sink to the bottom of the cupcakes, while miniature chips will remain suspended in the cream cheese center.