I Love Chocolate

by Stephanie Zonis


Black-and-White Cupcakes

12 cupcakes


These used to be very common when I was a kid, but I haven't seen them around much lately. That's a shame, because they're uncomplicated, fun cupcakes, perfect for a kid's birthday party or a baking project with young helpers or an easy dessert anytime. A very basic cake batter is divided among cupcake tins, and a dollop of a simple cream cheese filling is spooned atop each cupcake. During baking, the filling sinks to the bottom of the cupcake. To dress these up a bit more, consider the optional no-fuss glaze and garnish; if you don't have time for that, the cupcakes will be fine with a simple sift of confectioners' sugar on top of each just before serving.

You'll need a 12-cup, standard-size muffin tin and 2-1/2 inch paper cupcake/muffin liners (commonly available in markets). The finished cupcakes must be refrigerated; store them in the fridge for up to two days, or freeze for longer storage (thaw, still in wrappings, in the refrigerator). Conveniently, these seem to taste best when cold.


Cream Cheese Filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup (1-1/2 ounces) miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Cupcake Batter:
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup nonalkalized (not Dutch process)
   unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
Optional: 1 tsp. instant espresso powder
Pinch salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup tasteless vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. dark rum OR water
2 tsp. vanilla

Optional Glaze:
3 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Few grains salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Optional Garnish:
White or milk chocolate chips
   (miniature chips look especially cute here)


Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 475 degrees F. (yes, 475 degrees!). Line the cups of a standard-size, 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.

For Cream Cheese Filling:
Place softened cream cheese, granulated sugar, and vanilla in small bowl. With small wire whisk, beat until combined and cream cheese is smooth (you can use a hand-held electric mixer for this; beat the mixture at a low speed). With a spoon, stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

For Cupcake Batter:
Into medium or large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, optional instant espresso powder, and salt. With spoon or large whisk, blend until dry ingredients are evenly-colored.

In small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine buttermilk, oil, rum (or water), and vanilla. All at once, add liquid ingredients to sifted dry ingredients. With whisk or hand-held electric mixer at low speed, beat just until well-combined, about 30 seconds (there may still be a few small lumps in the batter—OK). For ease in handling, transfer batter to small pitcher or liquid measuring cup of at least 2-1/2 cup capacity.

Divide batter evenly among lined muffin cups. Using about a heaping teaspoon (not a measuring teaspoon) for each, divide the cream cheese filling among the cups as evenly as possible. Place the Filling on top of the batter in the middle of each cupcake. The cups will be almost full—OK.

Place in preheated oven and close door; IMMEDIATELY REDUCE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 375 DEGREES F!! Bake 17 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted near the center of a cupcake emerges with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Do not overbake. Remove muffin tin to cooling rack. As quickly as possibly, gently and carefully remove cupcakes from muffin tin. Allow to cool completely on cooling rack before glazing. The cupcakes may have slight depressions in their centers—OK.

I start the glaze shortly after removing the cupcakes from the oven as both it and the cupcakes must be cooled to room temperature before they can be combined.

For Glaze:
In small heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolate and salt. In small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat cream over low heat, stirring often, until very hot. Remove from heat. Pour about half of hot cream over chocolate. Allow to stand for a minute or two, then stir or whisk gently until smooth. (If necessary, place bowl of chocolate over simmering water on low heat —water should not touch bottom of bowl —and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water.) Gradually stir in remaining cream.

Cool glaze to room temperature, gently stirring or whisking occasionally. When glaze and cupcakes have both cooled completely, place a very well-rounded teaspoon (not a measuring teaspoon) of glaze in the center of each cupcake (if the glaze is warm, it will probably run off the sides). You can either spread the glaze to cover the entire top of the cupcake, or spread it slightly to leave an unglazed perimeter. To garnish, before the glaze sets, sprinkle the glazed part of each cupcake sparingly with mixed white and milk chocolate chips.

Store in refrigerator for up to two days. Freeze for longer storage.


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This page created May 2000