Black Bottom Cupcakes

Also known as the cupcake Starbucks should not have discontinued. During college when some serious reading needed to be done, I would hide at this quiet Starbucks and order my two favorite items: a double iced tall non-fat latte (no sugar, no syrup- pure espresso) and a Black Bottom Cupcake. For every X amount of pages read, I could nibble on my little treat.

Then one day... they magically disappeared. Sadness fell upon the Kingdom. Hence, I took matters into my own hands and began a quest for a yummy copy cat recipe. I have looked at several sites and the core ingredients remained the same, but none really captured me. I tried one last year and it came out legit but unreliable. It tasted a lil diff every time I made it- and not in a good way. It simply didn't have that taste from my memory. Until I found this one from C&H Sugar.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Yummy Center:
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
1 egg
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (regular or miniature)

Heat oven to 350 and place cupcake liners in 18 tins.

Simple as can be- you don't even need to dirty your electric mixer. Mix the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Combine. Don't be fooled by light brown color- they darken up! Don't fret if there are a few lumps.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream cheese till smooth. I recommend a hand held electric mixer here to make things easier. Add in the sugar and egg. Beat till silky.

Optional: add the chips to the cream cheese mix OR sprinkle on top of the cupcake. Choice is yours.

Divide chocolate batter evenly amongst tins; then add a heaping table spoon of the cream cheese. Don't worry if it's not centered! No two will look alike. I made one with a little less chocolate batter into a monster cream cheese cupcake, moo ha ha.

Bake for 20-25 minutes and allow to cool for at least 10.

Also, these make great mini-cupcakes. I made 12 regular cupcakes and then a small tin of mini ones for the office for all the sensible New Years Resolution folks. These are cute cute cute! Cook for about 15 minutes- make sure you keep an eye on them. You can fix something undercooked, but never something overcooked.

Super moist. Rich. Sinful. Easy. Delicious. Make yourself some iced coffee and kick it with a good book! I recommend "World Without End" by Ken Follett. I read "Pillars of the Earth" last year (amazing, could not put it down) and this is the sequel. This is an author who knows how to end each chapter with the reader ready to throw the book out of anticipation and shock. Seriously, it's a struggle to put it down sometimes.