Cook the Book: Black Bottom Cupcakes

Cook the Book: Black Bottom Cupcakes

This week, in honor of Valentine's Day, we've put together a list of our favorite books on chocolate, with one Cook the Book recipe a day adapted from each volume. Today's addition to our "Chocolate Lover's Library" is one that many of you may be familiar with, especially if you read food blogs as much as we do. The Great Book of Chocolate by chocolate expert David Lebovitz, a Paris-based food writer and blogger extraordinaire.

This recipe makes a dozen Black Bottom Cupcakes, so called because the bottom and sides are rich chocolate cake while the centers are filled with a cream cheese filling studded with chocolate chunks, creating a visually appealing two-tone cake that needs no icing.

Win the Serious Eats Chocolate Library

We're giving away five (5) sets of the Chocolate Lover's Library--one each day this week. So you can win a copy of Lebovitz's Great Book of Chocolate, along with four other fantastic chocolate books (to be revealed as the week progresses) by answering the following question in the comments:

What is your favorite type of cupcake?

One (1) winner will be chosen at random from among the comments of this post. Comments will be open until 3 p.m. ET February 15. Feel free to enter every day, but you may win only once during the lifetime of the contest as a whole. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.

  • Yield:12


  • For the filling:
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, regular or reduced fat, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 ounces (60 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • For the cupcakes:
  • 1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (240 grams) firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons (30 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 1/3 cup (85 ml) unflavored vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. 1.

    Place a rack at oven center; preheat to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line tin with paper muffin cups.

  2. 2.

    Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the chopped chocolate pieces. Set aside.

  3. 3.

    In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.

  4. 4.

    Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; stir in wet ingredients, stirring until batter is just smooth. Be careful not to overmix the batter—you'll end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.

  5. 5.

    Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Spoon a few tablespoons of the fllling into center of each cupcake, dividing filling evenly as you do. This will fill the cups almost completely, which is fine.

  6. 6.

    Bake 25 minutes or until tops are slightly golden-brown and cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed.

  7. 7.

    Storage: Cupcakes will keep unrefrigerated, in an airtight container, for 2 to 3 days.