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Black Bottom Cupcakes, Revised

recipe cupcakes 1Berkshire native Alana Chernila, local politician, mother of two, and author of the cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making(Clarkson Potter), dispenses change and cooking ideas to readers and friends. She shares her peak-of-the-season recipes with Rural Intelligence to help us make the most of what’s growing in our region. Her first cookbook has achieved top-seller status, and Chernila has just announced that she has a new one in the works: Meals from the Homemade Pantry (Clarkson Potter), due out in 2014.

recipe batter blackI think about my grandmother, always my grandmother! I think she was conditioned to feel miserable about so many things, and she fought it. She celebrated so many things, despite herself, because why the hell not?!

Which brings me to black bottom cupcakes. I make them on the first day of spring, because my grandmother did. Because why the hell not. It takes me a few days to get to it. But when I finally got to it, it was snowing, and we were all complaining about the snow gracing this first week of spring. It was cold, and even the lilac buds were shivering.

recipe batter whiteBut it snows every March, and every April. And that’s the meat of it all. The freezing and thaw makes it easier to be thankful, I think. And it teases with the smell of mud, and then freezes it before we can complain about the mud getting everywhere. I love a good transition. And a good cupcake.

Black Bottom Cupcakes
(I wrote about these a few years ago, but the recipe didn’t quite make it for me, and so to line it up with the glorious memory of my childhood Spring party cupcakes under my grandmother’s lilac bush, I messed with it quite a bit this year.)

recipe cupcakes finMakes 12 cupcakes

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
5 ounces chocolate chips

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the filling:
Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and egg until relatively smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line the tin with muffin cups. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, use a whisk to beat together the milk, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients until just combined.

Fill each muffin cup halfway with cake batter. Top with the cream cheese filling so that the filling comes nearly to the top of the cup. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown. They will keep well unrefrigerated for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.

Reprinted with permission from All text and photos copyright 2008-13 by Alana Chernila.

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Posted by Nichole on 03/08/13 at 08:30 AM • Permalink