Thursday, March 10, 2011

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Black Bottom Cupcakes - made March 9, 2011 from Sticky Messy Chewy Gooey by Jill O'Connor (book #57)

I really like this cookbook - it's not for the calorie conscious (almost nothing I own is) but everything I've tried from it so far has turned out well.  And who doesn't like the idea of sticky, chewy, messy and especially gooey desserts?  They don't always come out picture perfect pretty but they're definitely almost always very tasty.

Most black bottom cupcake recipes are made with cream cheese for the filling/swirl part but this one is made with mascarpone cheese.  I like mascarpone better than cream cheese since it's not as tangy and doesn't have as strong a taste as cream cheese.  I almost never eat cheesecake because almost all of them are made with cream cheese.  As a matter of fact, the only cheesecake I've ever liked was made with mascarpone cheese, had caramelized apples and was bruleed on top.  So it wasn't your typical cheesecake.  I can eat cream cheese as long as it's not the primary ingredient in something and if it's mixed in with chocolate.  But I still prefer mascarpone.

Anyway, the first thing I discovered is this doesn't make 24 cupcakes like the recipe says.  I don't know if I was just generous in filling the cupcake liners but I only got 18 cupcakes out of this and that's with skimping a bit on the chocolate batter and being generous with the mascarpone cheese batter to make it to 18 cupcakes and still use up both batters.  I baked the first muffin tin for about 20 minutes then thought they were done but when I tried taking them out of the muffin cavities, it was apparent they weren't done so I put them back in the oven for a second try.  I'm so paranoid about dry cupcakes that I tend to err on the side of underbaking but you don't want  these to actually be raw.  I like to take cupcakes out of the muffin tin cavity several minutes after they've come out of the oven.  If you let them sit in there too long, the heat from the muffin tin continues to bake the outer sides and toughen them up.  The downside though is you have to be careful when you take them out as, depending on how fragile they are, they can fall apart. That's the "messy" part of the recipes from this book.

This one is pretty rich because it also has a glaze over it which most black bottom cupcakes don't have since it's harder to see the mix of chocolate and cheese swirled together when the top is covered.  But you can see it well enough once you bite into the cupcake.  Given only 18 cupcakes came out, I only made a 1/2 recipe for the glaze and I still had some glaze leftover.  I must say I really liked these cupcakes.  The mascarpone cheese filling didn't overwhelm the chocolate and complemented it perfectly.  The chocolate wasn't too rich but it was nicely gooey.  The glaze might be a little over the top for richness though so I think these cupcakes can stand alone without it.

For the filling
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
½ cup confectioners sugar
1 large egg
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

For the cake batter
1 ½ cups bleached all-purpose flour
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the chocolate glaze
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1.     Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Line two standard 12-cup cupcake tins with paper cupcake liners.
2.    To make the filling: in a medium bowl, cream together the mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar, egg, salt, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
3.    To make the cake batter: in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a 2-cup measuring cup, combine the boiling water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid ingredients.  Stir together until smooth.
4.    Fill each cupcake cup one-fourth full of batter and top with a heaping tablespoon or so of the filling; divide it evenly and use it all.  Top the filling with the remaining batter, dividing it evenly.  Bake until the cupcakes are puffed and firm, about 25 to 28 minutes.
5.    Meanwhile, make the glaze: combine all the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth.  If the chocolate is not completely melted, continue to microwave for 30-second intervals and stir until smooth.
6.    Transfer the cupcakes in the pans to a wire rack and let cool completely.  When cool, dip the top of each cupcake in the chocolate glaze (feel free to double dip, if you like!).  Let the excess glaze drip from the cupcakes for a few seconds and then place the cupcake right side up on the wire rack until the glaze firms up before serving.


  1. I have that cookbook, but haven't tried this recipe--I'll have to make those cupcakes--they look so yummy!

  2. Thanks - I actually think they're best eaten when you first glaze them so that the glaze is still warm :).