Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Iron Chef Coffee: Black-Bottom Cupcakes

Yes, the Iron Chef competition was a few weeks ago, but better late than never to post the winning recipe, right? I’m not much of a cook, but I love to bake so I called dibs for a dessert entry. Good thing, since I don’t like the taste of coffee and you can disguise it pretty well with chocolate. I did a lot of hunting (and trial runs) before finding the winning recipe – enjoy my cup o’ cupcake. http://desertculinary.blogspot.com/2005/05/black-bottom-cupcakes.html

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
Cupcake batter:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Finding the espresso powder was a bit of a challenge. It doesn’t seem to be available in the local grocery stores, though there are alternatives on the internet. I decided to splurge and bought some from King Arthur Flour. All the reviewers raved about how it enhanced the flavor of chocolate…apparently, they were right.

To make the filling, beat together the cream cheese, sugar and egg. I used an electric beater to get it nice and smooth. Stir in the chopped chocolate – I used Nestle’s chunks. It was cheaper than a bar of bittersweet chocolate and I had some left over from another recipe.
In a big bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In another bowl, whisk together the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. (The vinegar seems like a strange addition to me, but most of the recipes I looked at in my recipe hunt called for vinegar - who knew.) Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Evenly divide the batter into muffin tins lined with paper liners. The recipe says it makes 12, but I ended up with 14 or 15. You don’t want to fill them too full or they’ll puff all over the place.

Evenly divide the cream cheese filling between the chocolate batter-filled wells, aiming the filling into the center of each. Bake for 22-26 minutes or until the tops are springy when gently pressed. Remove and let them rest for 2-3 minutes before removing and placing them on a rack to cool completely.

I think they taste best after they’ve cooled a bit, but before you store them in the fridge.

(Click here for printable recipe)

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