Black Bottom Cupcakes (Cream cheese & chocolate)

Black Bottom Cupcakes

I thought these homely but absolutely delicious cupcakes had fallen out of fashion – until I googled them! Still, I think they deserve a place on my blog – absolutely moist, delicious and chocolaty, the cream cheese layer sets them off beautifully. One of my favorite cupcakes, I’ll always pick these if I see them at a picnic or a potluck, even over any beautiful, fancy cupcake. They’re heavy in the hand and bursting with flavor!

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Black Bottom Cupcakes

This recipe makes 18 which is a great amount if you’re ever asked to bring a dozen cupcakes somewhere – your family won’t feel deprived because they’ll be a few around for them to have at home. When my kids were young, their biggest complaint was that when I baked it was often for some function or another – they suffered so…

There are a lot of variations of this cupcake out there – I believe it’s even been “fixed” by those alchemists at Cook’s Illustrated – sometimes the cream cheese “sinks.” I like this simple, old-fashioned recipe (my note says Pillsbury, adapted) just like they are, flaws and all – they’re sturdy, flat-topped (read easily stacked for toting) and they’re also very easy and are inexpensive to make.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Three little touches make these special – the touch of coffee (I keep a jar of instant espresso in my freezer for baking), the sugar on top, which forms a beautiful little crust and the chocolate chips I use. The Ghiradelli chocolate chips are larger than most – and they are fantastic in these! They don’t melt away and they stay soft in the cupcake at room temperature. Believe me, they make the cupcake.

Fiesta Friday Badge Button I party @I know these are humble but they’re so good, I’ll take them to Fiesta Friday, a weekly blogging extravaganza put on by Angie of the Novice Gardener. The cohosts this week are Justine of Eclectic Odds & Sods and Jhuls of the Not so Creative Cook. Stop by their blogs and visit!

I almost feel silly calling a baked good or dessert “healthy” so I won’t, but these cupcakes have less sugar and fat than a lot of desserts, especially if a light cream cheese is used. Let’s just say there are far worse options.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

  • Servings: 18
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Top Layer

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 6 ounces chocolate chips

In a small bowl combine cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar and egg and mix well. Add chocolate chips and stir to distribute. Set aside.

Bottom Layer

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (for top)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 18 cupcake cups with liners.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. In another bowl, measure water, oil, vinegar, coffee or espresso powder, vinegar and vanilla and stir to combine. Add the wet to the dry and beat for two minutes. Mixture should slightly thicken as you beat.

Fill muffin cups about 1/2 way with mixture (about a scant 1/2 cup each.) Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly on top, about a tablespoon per cupcake.  A small scoop works well for this. When adding the cream cheese mixture to the top of the cupcake try to center it so there is a ring of batter all the way around.

Sprinkle tops with sugar. This is easiest done in two additions – sprinkle the first tablespoon, then go back with the second and try to adjust to make sure each has about the same amount.

Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, rotating about halfway through the baking time, until the cream cheese is very slightly golden. Cool 15 minutes in the pan before attempting removal. They will be soft for some time after removal and need to firm up before they are sturdy.

Store left overs in the refrigerator.


A kitchen scale is helpful for this recipe but the ingredients like the chocolate chips can be very easily measured by eyeballing the amount in comparison to the total package weight. The measurement is not so particular that being off by a small amount matters.

From the kitchen of


Black Bottom Cupcakes - try to center the filling so it is surrounded by chocolate

Black Bottom Cupcakes – try to center the filling so it is surrounded by chocolate

29 thoughts on “Black Bottom Cupcakes

  1. How gorgeous, and I love the name Black Bottom Cupcakes. They are filled with goodness but less fat eh? Just my type of treat. Love the cupcake liners too.

    • Well, it was for a party so I pulled out the fancy ones – they didn’t quite fit but they were fun. I think for 18 servings they’re a but leaner than a lot of cakes.

  2. They look amazing. Too many people think the fallen centre is what’s wrong with them, but we all know the truth, they are the reason they are amazing! 🙂

  3. These look like they would just melt in your mouth! I love how chocolaty they are with the melted chocolate chips. Ghiradelli chocolate chips are my favorite, too. Yum!

    • I have a hard time keeping them in the house until I bake with them – Nestle’s, they’re safe…As a matter of fact the better the chocolate the shorter the shelf life at my house – unless I hide and forget! haha!

    • Thanks, Suzanne! I feel the same way – as a matter of fact, they make me feel all nostalgic! I did try that America’s test kitchen or Cook’s version once – they were all light and fluffy and (spits out the word) beautiful – but NOT the same!

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