nom nom nom...

I have a lot of chocolate–I mean A LOT.  Ralph’s had a great sale on Ghiradelli chocolate baking bars a few months ago  and I somehow convinced myself it was the wise thing to do.  I told myself that I was being practical, when in reality, I was high off of all the endless possibilities.  $30 later I was home and feeling pretty remorseful.  I felt especially stupid since I had removed real groceries out of my basket to compensate for the chocolate.  Yikes.  Well, it was too late and there’s no point on dwelling on my moment of insanity.

After mulling over a few possibilities (chocolate cake?  molten cake? something with an awesome ganache?) I remembered a great recipe I photocopied from a friend’s David Lebovitz recipe book.  Ahhh, the drool inducing,  The Great Book of Chocolate. A book I terribly want, but never get around to buying.  A frustratingly long, 30 minutes later I was able to dig up the recipe– Black Bottom Cupcakes.  I was immediately enamored with the photo, but the basic description sealed the deal–(i’m paraphrasing here, but…)  Wonderful devil’s chocolate cupcakes with a rich chocolate chip cheesecake filling.

And while you don’t need it, I also opted to serve them with some cream cheese frosting (…i might have…failed to mention that I also bought a few boxes of cream cheese since they were under $2 a box…).

You can make these using your favorite boxed cake, but the cake batter is so simple and so delicious, I would encourage everyone to give it a shot.

They actually keep quite well in the refrigerator if placed in an air-tight container.  Mike even had some unfrosted cupcakes for breakfast the following day.

They are absolutely fabulous! I brought them to a bridal shower and they were definitely a huge hit.  David Lebovitz simply never fails.

Black Bottom 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

Cream Cheese Filling
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

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

Make the cupcakes

Adjust the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.   Prepare cupcake tins with preferred cupcake liners.   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, filling them about 2/3 of the way.   Spoon a few tablespoons of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely.  This is fine, but keep in mind the ingredients will expand so if you overfill them, they’ll spill over a tad and create a more flat top cupcake.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed.