I've often heard that a cupcake is just a vehicle for icing and I agree, but one of my favorites, "The Black Bottom Cupcake", doesn't have icing at all. It is a moist chocolate cupcake with a cream cheese center that is delicious when served warm or cold. Because of its lack of frosting, it is portable and picnic-friendly.
Two of my children prefer "Black Bottom Cupcakes" fresh from the oven when the cake is still warm and the chips are melted, but the other two kiddos like them best when they've spent the night in the fridge (the cupcakes spent the night in the refrigerator not the kids although I did shut my cat in the fridge once. . . by accident. . . he was fine). The cold temperature turns the cream cheese filling into tiny bites of cheesecake which compliments the soft cake very well. Just pop the cooled cupcakes into a zip lock baggie or other air tight container (no icing to worry about) and keep them in the refrigerator for a few days. I've also heard they freeze well, but I can't speak first hand about that because a batch of "Black Bottom Cupcakes" is lucky to last 24 hours at the most in my house.
Because "Black Bottom Cupcakes" are easy to pack and transport and because they taste just as great the day after baking, they are my 'go-to' dessert for teacher's luncheons, potlucks, or holiday parties. In fact, my daughter arrived home from school one day and pointed out, "Mom, you never make "Black Bottom Cupcakes" for our family and you always make them for everybody else" (add tweenager whine to get full effect). Despite her annoying delivery, she was correct and I started to add "Black Bottom Cupcakes" to my home-baking repertoire. Now I make these individual delicacies to serve to my family as after school snacks, weekend desserts, and treats at the pool.
My recipe for "Black Bottom Cupcakes" comes from my own tattered copy of Mary Washington's Cookbook which I purchased in 1987 during my freshman year of college at Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA. Yes, I know, most college freshman visit the campus bookstore and buy comfy hooded sweatshirts (to cover up their freshman 15), or large plastic cups (to carry their favorite beverage from dorm to dorm on Friday night), but I bought the college cookbook (to make new delicious recipes for my family and friends). And I'm glad I did!
Black Bottom Cupcake Recipe
(adapted from Mary Washington's Cookbook pages 246-247)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
6 ounces mini semi- sweet chocolate chips (regular-sized works fine too)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup water
1/3 cup cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar will work)
1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners (to total 24).
- In a small mixing bowl combine softened cream cheese, egg, 1/3 cup sugar, and pinch of salt. Beat well. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- In a glass measuring cup or another bowl, combine water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Then add to dry ingredients. Mix well.
- Fill paper-lined muffin tins 1/3 full with chocolate batter (I use an medium ice cream scoop to do this) then top with a heaping spoonful of cream cheese mixture (I use a small ice cream scoop to do this).
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
- When fully cooled, store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for around 3 months.