Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Black and White Cupcakes

Every now and then my body starts to experience the shakes. I know better than to attribute this to my always "healthy" eating habits. It's simply my body's way of telling me I haven't made cupcakes in a while (There was almost a month of a dreaded sugar depleted wasteland in between these and my Cinco de Mayo Margarita Cupcakes). For this adventure in mini-cakery, I decided to go with a take on the deli staple black and white cookies. My interest was peaked as this presented a new form of cupcake filling (because every cupcake should have filing): one that was actually baked inside. Would this new method leave me overflowing with gooey goodness or filled with regret and empty calories?

Black and White Cupcakes
Adapted from
Servings: 18 cupcakes
Time: 45 minutes

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
5 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp vanilla
8 oz cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
8 oz milk chocolate chips
Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)
Lemon Frosting (recipe follows)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.
  3. Make the filling by beating the cream cheese until soft. Next stir in the egg and sugar until well incorporated. Finally, mix in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula and set aside.
  4. Stir the milk, vegetable oil, vinegar and vanilla together in a stand mixer at medium speed.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients in at low speed until just incorporated.
  6. Fill lined cupcake tins half full with batter. Scoop approximately 1 tbsp of the filling in each cupcake.
  7. Bake for 16-22 minutes or until the toothpick test comes back clean. Make sure to rotate once halfway through.
  8. Let cool then frost half of each cupcake with chocolate frosting and the other half with lemon. Liberally add black and white sprinkles (then conservatively cut cupcake education funding).
Unfortunately, the liquid-like batter meant most of the cream cheese filling sank right to the bottom (a clever yet futile evolutionary survival tactic).
Prior to coating with the sugartastic icing, this is already one serious cupcake. The rich chocolate base is a prime example of what a chocolate cupcake should be, but the cream cheese filling is what truly makes this live up to the deli legend that inspired it. The flavorful filling balances the chocolate, while the chocolate chips add an intriguing textural element to the dessert. I'm not proud to admit this, but I did waste a cupcake just to consume even more of the glorious cream cheesery.

Black and White Frostings
Servings: Enough to frost 36+ cupcakes
Time: 15 minutes (plus time to thicken)

Chocolate Icing
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp light corn syrup
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract

White Icing
2 cups powdered sugar (plus more for desired thickness)
4 tbsp whipping cream
Juice of 1 lemon

  1. Prepare the chocolate icing by bringing the cream and corn syrup to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the stove and whisk into the chocolate and vanilla until melted and smooth. Let stand for at least half an hour to thicken.
  2. Make the far simpler white icing by whisking everything together in a bowl. Let stand for half an hour to thicken. Add more powdered sugar to reach the desired thickness.
You really do get the best of both worlds with the two halves of this perfectly foiled cupcake. You can continue your chocolate overload or take a detour to a refreshing lemony place (or go complete nuts and take on both titans at once).
The amazingness that I now want to fill every cupcake with. You'll end up wishing you used more than a tablespoon (and that you had elastic bands on your pants). 
Upon careful scientific observation of my subjects friends and coworkers, I discovered an incredible inherent property of the black and white cupcakes- their ability to vanish rapidly. It seemed like each subsequent person to consume one of these was trying to break a record for fewest bites required to finish. With four distinct flavor profiles coming through in one package, these cupcakes could've been a muddled mess, but they managed to meld together beautifully for a truly worthwhile addition to my cupcake repertoire. Aside from now having a powerful new chocolate cake recipe, I also plan to experiment with the cream cheese and chocolate chip filling in a variety of future baking excursions.

As if these cupcakes needed to look any more appetizing...
I make sure my coworkers can balance out the vegan banana oatmeal muffins I brought.

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