Black Bottom Cupcakes

It's been just over 9 months since I've been out of the corporate world (lay-offs due to down-sizing), and just as long since I've seen a handful of my co-workers that I could actually call my friends after my two-year stint with the company.  So, when my fellow out-of-work friend, A, Facebook'd me and said she was craving something chocolate-y, we quickly scheduled a lunch date and I told her I'd take care of that craving! 

The last time we had lunch, A revealed to me that she was expecting! Two months ago, she had a beautiful baby girl and now she has her hands full with two little girls...  time really flies.

I wanted to make something special in celebration of my friend and her new bundle of joy - since she wanted chocolate, it narrowed things down a little bit but who was I kidding... there are so many chocolate desserts out there!  But then, I thought - what about a cake? Celebration...cake...of course!   Naturally, I looked to my big fat Bon Appetit's Desserts cookbook again because it just sits there begging to be opened... one of the recipes I had previously bookmarked was a Black Bottom Cake, which was their "riff" (as they put it) on the black-bottom cupcake.  These would be perfect because my friend also loves cheesecake!  I decided to adapt the recipe into cupcakes because, well, I'm not about to carry a big ol' cake with me to lunch.

A word of caution if you decide to try this recipe as cupcakes - do not, I repeat, do not fill the cupcake liners more than half-way or you will get a batch of overflowing, blobby cupcakes that taste great, but look... well, not so great. I should have known with the amount of leaveners in the recipe and by the runny-ness of the batter that these would rise like crazy.  But I'll blame it on the cold that I'm coming down with for my lapse in judgement.

However, being sick doesn't prevent me from taste-testing these babies! The buttermilk make these cupcakes oh-so-fluffy; and I love the hint of cinnamon with the cocoa. The cheesecake topping is nice and creamy like cheesecake should be... I'm thinking, my friend will be quite content with these!

Congratulations, A ~ many sweet blessings to you and your family!

Black Bottom Cupcakes
adapted from Bon Appetit's Desserts

Makes 24 cupcakes or two 9-inch round cake pans


2 cups dark brown sugar
1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong coffee, room temp
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs

Cheesecake Topping (I doubled the original recipe to have enough topping for all 24 cupcakes - as a cake, you only need enough for the top layer.)

8 ounces Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temp
4 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

For cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Lightly butter or line two cupcake pans (24 cups).
Whisk sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in large bowl to blend.
Add buttermilk, coffee, oil, and eggs and whisk until smooth.
Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them just about 1/2 full (do not overfill!).

For cheesecake topping: Beat cream cheese and sugar in medium bowl to blend.  Beat in eggs, then flour.  Spoon tablespoon-full of topping over batter in liners (topping will not cover batter completely).  Sprinkle chocolate chips over topping.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until risen; centers springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean.  Cool cupcakes completely in pans on racks.

Bon Appetit includes a recipe for icing, which I'm not going to post as I did not use it - I decided to  leave them plain as the original black-bottom cupcakes do not require any frosting.