Black Bottom Cupcakes

What, you may ask, is a black bottom cupcake? Its part chocolate cake, part cheesecake and part toothsome frosting goodness… I think I could have stopped at any of those words and already had you hooked, right?

(This recipe was adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.)

For the Chocolate Cake Base:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra to decorate
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup water, at room temperature

For the Cheesecake Filling: 

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, cold
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

For the Cream Cheese Frosting: 

  • 2 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 oz. cream cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Put 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in a large mixing bowl and mix well with a whisk attachment to make sure all ingredients are evenly dispersed.
  3. Put 1/4 cup oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 cup water in a glass and whisk to combine.
  4. While the mixer is running in the dry ingredients bowl, slowly add the oil mixture, increasing the speed slightly as the mixture thickens. Continue to mix until all the ingredients are incorporated, scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Mix just until all ingredients well combined but don’t overdo it!
  5. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the chocolate batter into paper muffin cups and set aside.
  6. Combine 4 oz. cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer. Beat together with a paddle attachment on medium-slow speed until smooth and fluffy.
  7. When the cream cheese batter is fluffy and thick, stir in 2/3 cup chocolate chips with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until evenly dispersed. Do not overmix, or the cream cheese will start to split.
  8. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the cheesecake filing on top of the cupcake batter in the cases and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the chocolate part of the cupcakes are smooth and firm to the touch and the cheesecake filing has an even golden color/brown edges. Be extra careful not to over-bake as the cheesecake will become very dry and crumbly.
  9. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the Cream Cheese Frosting on top. Decorate with a light sprinkling of cocoa powder.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. While the cupcakes are cooling, beat 2 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons unsalted butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
  2. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated.
  3. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy (approximately 5 minutes). Be careful not to overbeat, as the frosting can quickly become too runny.


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