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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

black bottom cupcakes.

I don't know if I can call them cupcakes... they look more like craters to me. Ah well, my bad. Because these aren't cream cheese topped, these are coconut cream cheese topped. Meaning I didn't follow that part of the recipe. When will I ever learn? But that wasn't the downfall of this cupcake. In fact, it was the part I enjoyed more.

You see, there are good cupcakes and then, there are great cupcakes. These are in the range of good cupcakes. A surprising disappointment from America's Test Kitchen.
The chocolate batter baked up light and ethereally moist, and the resulting texture was somewhat like a souffle. You know, like how you spoon a huge chunk into your mouth and it disappeared like a cloud? Actually, I think its more like melting marshmallows.

That's not to say that its a bad thing. It's just not my thing. I was hoping for something dense, dark and deeply chocolaty but this isn't the recipe to go to apparently. The other downside to this recipe- they told you to mix room temperature water into the batter. I think everyone should know that boiling water unlocks the flavour of the cocoa powder, not tepid water. If you don't know that, now you do. So I used boiling water instead, but it still wasn't chocolaty enough.
Okay, now let's switch to the cream cheese. I fashioned my own little topping from just light cream cheese, a quarter that of sugar and sweetened shredded coconut. I think there was no harm in using a reduced fat product. I didn't use an egg so the filling wasn't all flowy like I think the recipe intended. Nevertheless, it bested the chocolate batter, in my opinion.
The cream cheese was only lightly sweetened so there was still a subtle tang. The sweetened coconut lent, duh, sweetness, so you have a careful balance between sweet and tangy.

Black Bottom Cupcakes
Test Kitchen Tip:  Butter is Better

“Black bottom cupcakes are basically miniature cheesecakes (chocolate cake cradling a cheesecake filling) and are usually made with oil, which is great for creating a cake with a rich, fudgy texture but can also cause greasiness.  We used melted butter (and sour cream) instead—our cupcakes turned out rich and moist, but not greasy.  Best of all, they were sturdy enough to support the cheesecake filling.”

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/4 cup (1.5 ounces) semisweet mini chocolate chips (Do not substitute regular chocolate chips for the miniature chips here; regular chips are much heavier and will sink to the bottom of the cupcakes.)

3/4 cup (3.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (4.66 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup (0.75 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water, room temperature
6 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.

2.  For the filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Beat in the egg white and sour cream until combined, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

3.  For the cupcakes: Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together by hand in a large bowl.  Whisk in the water, sour cream, melted butter, and vanilla until just incorporated.

4.  Using a greased 1/4 cup measure, portion the batter into each muffin cup.  Spoon a rounded tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture onto the center of each cupcake.

5.  Bake the cupcakes until the tops just begin to crack, 18 to 22 minutes, rotating the tin halfway through baking.  Let the cupcakes cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.


  1. I didn't know about boiling water unlocking the flavor of cocoa powder...new thing learned today!

    I don't think cupcakes are meant to be dense and fudgy, which is probably why you were disappointed with the recipe. Perhaps try a brownie recipe instead? :-)

  2. It looked that way to me in the book, so I probably got my hopes up. Anyway, it's no big deal. I just wanted to bake something for fun:)

  3. Coconut, chocolate, and cream cheese is a killer combination! I made brownies with that combo and although my fam didn't like them, I was in heaaaven.