Black-Bottom Cupcakes

Like many food lovers who enjoy getting into the kitchen to whip up a batch of delicious baked treats, we keep up with the blog Smitten Kitchen, which is where Jess found this tasty take on Devil’s Food cake with a huge dollop of semi-sweet chocolate spiked cream cheese filling baked right in.  Regular readers will know that we’re big fans of all things cream-cheese, and these cupcakes are no exception, with a moist, dense cake that starts with the flavor of bittersweet chocolate and gives way to a creamy, sweet-and-tangy cheesecake center.  And while theSmitten Kitchen made these into mini-cupcakes, Jess went full-out and made them full-sized – and I, for one, was pleased.

Black-Bottom Cupcakes
from The Great Book of Chocolate by David Leibowitz by way of Smitten Kitchen

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling, beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth.  Add the chopped chocolate and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 and prepare a muffin tin.  Sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.  Make a well in your dry ingredients and add the wet, stirring until just smooth.  Smitten Kitchen says don’t over-stir, or your cake won’t be tender.  Divide the batter into your muffin cups, and spoon a few tablespoons of the filling into the center of each cupcake.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tops are golden.  These are good hot or cold, and they store well.  And excellent treat for lovers of cheesecake, Devil’s food cake – or like us, both! Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Frosting

When it comes to Christmas sweets, there aren’t any flavors that fit the season quite like the cool taste of peppermint and the rich flavor of chocolate, and Jess came up with a delicious and very festive looking way to combine these tastes into one single treat: a moist, rich dark chocolate cupcake topped off by a creamy butter cream frosting spiked with bits of crushed peppermint.  The flavors and textures at work in these cupcakes are varied and surprising – and we know of at least one jolly old elf in a red suit with a severely hectic schedule who might like a couple of these on Christmas Eve instead the regular old cookies and milk.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/3 cup coffee
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter

Preheat your oven to 350 and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the the egg, white, and brown sugar.  Add the coffee, milk, and butter and mix thoroughly.  Add the dry ingredients.  Divide the batter into the cupcake pan and bake for 10-12, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack before icing.

Peppermint Frosting

  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6-8 teaspoons milk

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese.  Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, incorporating the milk as needed.  Mix until light and fluffy.  Fold in the crushed peppermint, reserving some to top the frosted cupcakes.  Serve and enjoy!

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

No, you didn’t misread the title of this post: there really is a way to combine three of the most delicious things in the world into one dessert.  These yummy treats combine the chocolate flavor of Oreo cookies with the creamy, tangy flavor of cheesecake – all in a fun-to-eat cupcake form.  The best part of this recipe is that unlike regular cheesecakes you don’t have to worry about water baths or special cookware – they set up nicely in regular cupcake liners.  What makes them even more fun is that each miniature cake has a whole Oreo nestled in the bottom like a cream-filled crust.  You’ll have to excercise some serious willpower not to eat up several of these in one sitting.  This recipe comes originally from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, but we found a scaled down version the blog Cate’s World Kitchen.  We hope you’ll give them a try!

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

  • 22 Oreos, 6 of them coarsely crushed
  • 2 – 8 oz. blocks of softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 250 and line a muffin tin with wrappers.  Place one whole Oreo into the bottom of each cup.  Beat your cream cheese on medium until creamed, then gradually add the sugar and vanilla.  Add the eggs a bit at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Beat in the sour cream and the salt, then stir in the chopped cookies by hand.  Pour your batter into the prepared cups, filling almost to the top.  Bake for 22-25 minutes, rotating halfway through.  Cool in the pan for 15 minutes on a wire rack, then allow to set up in the fridge for at least four hours.  Enjoy!

Banana Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

Certain flavors just seem made for each other, and one of our favorite combinations is chocolate and banana.  And when that chocolate comes whipped up with a rich shot of hazelnut in the form of Nutella spread – well, that’s a match made in heaven.  I never knew what Nutella was when I was growing up, but I’ve made up for lost time eating it in my adulthood.  There’s just something decadent about that smooth chocolate-hazelnut goodness that makes you feel good when you eat it.  Nutella is pretty rich, though, so we needed a cake that would stand up to it – and these cupcakes made with banana puree were the perfect thing, moist and soft with a delicate crumb and just enough banana flavor to tie everything together.  First, let’s make our cupcakes:

Banana Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 medium-large bananas, pureed

Preheat your oven to 350 and line your tin with cupcake liners.  Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla, then add each egg one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each one.  Add the dry mixture and blend until just combined, then add the banana puree and mix until well-blended.  Bake until golden brown, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean – about 25 minutes.  Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack and get ready for the best part:

Nutella Frosting

  • 4 ounces of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 8 ounces powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk (or cream if you really want to go crazy)

Cream together the butter and Nutella until blended.  Add the powdered sugar and blend until the sugar is incorporated and everything is nice and thick.  While your mixer is running, add the milk and blend until the frosting is light and fluffy.  Spread the frosting onto the tops of your cooled cupcakes (which we did because we couldn’t find the tip we needed), or pipe it on with a pastry bag (which we would have done if we had found said tip).  Try not to eat them all in one sitting.

This was one of the best recipes we’ve tried yet, and everything came together quite easily.  The banana puree adds a nice denseness to the cupcakes while keeping them incredibly moist, and the frosting is simply wonderful.  We hope you enjoy!