In December I won a giveaway on Nicole's blog Baking Bites. I was so excited to get my package in the mail - 2 bars of Scharffen Berger chocolate and an autographed copy of her Baking Bites cookbook! I immediately wanted to make just about every recipe in the book! One recipe that caught my eye in particular was these Mexican Chocolate Black Bottom Cupcakes. The chocolate batter is mixed with Mexican spices and then a cheesecake/coconut layer is dolloped on top! The recipe makes 24 cupcakes, so I chose to make them for 2 events - lab birthdays and the visit of my two great friends Kathleen and Melissa.
I was really bummed when I finished making these and discovered I had left out the coconut by mistake! In my defense, the recipe in the cookbook said to combine salt with the cream cheese mixture, and there was no mention of coconut. Salt was not listed in the filling ingredients so I just added a pinch and moved forward. It was too late by the time I realized that the coconut was not listed in the directions and I had left it out. Regardless, these cupcakes were fantastic and I can only imagine that they'd be even better with the coconut. I've added it to the directions below.
24 cupcakes is a lot, so I had leftovers after both events and my mom and aunt tried them. My mom said they were the best thing I've ever baked! Wow - did she forget about the dessert table? Just kidding! It's funny how people can have such different tastes because these were not at the top of Bob's list (his all time favorite is the Tres Leches Coconut Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream!) I wasn't entirely surprised by Bob's preference though because he's not big on cheesecake (I know - what?!). I thought these cupcakes were super moist and flavorful, and I'm excited to try them again with coconut!
Mexican Chocolate Black Bottom Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes
For the cream cheese filling:
16 ounces (2 packages) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tablespoons milk
2/3 cup sweetened, shredded coconut, finely chopped
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.
1. Make the filling: In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Blend in egg whites and milk, mixing until filling is well-blended. Stir in coconut. Set aside.
2. Make the cake: In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking soda, and spices.
3. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, water, melted butter, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Stir together until just combined and no streaks of flour remain.
4. Divide cake batter evenly among 24 cupcakes. Top each portion of batter with 1 rounded tablespoon cream cheese mixture (there may be some left over).
5. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. If using two racks, rotate pans halfway through baking. A toothpick inserted into cake only portion should come out with a few moist crumbs on it.
6. Cool in pans for 5 minutes. Filling will sink slightly as the cake cools (I assume this is if you have the coconut in there, as mine did not). Remove cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely.
Source: Adapted from the Baking Bites Cookbook