Black Bottom Cupcakes

Black bottom cupcakes are the best of two worlds: chocolate cake and cheesecake.  They incorporate a rich chocolate cupcake with a dollop of cheesecake batter, which then get baked together into something magical.  I don’t remember exactly when I first came across this recipe, but I know that it didn’t take long for me to talk myself into trying it out.  I believe that I was introduced to this recipe by Smitten Kitchen, who credits the source of the recipe as David Lebovitz’s Great Book of Chocolate.  After my first batch, I was hooked.

After a while, though, I started to take issue with the recipe.  For one, these cupcakes only last a day or two before they start going a little stale.  Mind you, under the right circumstances, they shouldn’t last that long, but you get the idea.  I swapped out the vinegar-leavened cupcake batter recipe for a standard chocolate cupcake recipe.  Second, their presentation was a little lacking, especially when the intent is to take them somewhere or serve them to guests.  I solved that problem by dipping the tops in chocolate ganache.  This has the added bonus of giving the element of surprise.  I love looking at people’s faces when they take a bite and realize that there is cheesecake in the cupcake!

Black Bottom Cupcakes


For the cheesecake batter

  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

For the cupcake batter

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (can substitute regular milk or additional boiling water)
  • 1/2 tbsp instant coffee granules (optional)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the ganache

  • 4oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tbsp coffee liqueur (optional)


To make your cheesecake batter…

Cream your sugar and cream cheese until smooth.  Add in your egg and mix until well combined.

Stir in your vanilla extract, then add your chocolate chips.  Set aside.

Now, make your cupcakes…

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line 15-18 muffin cups with paper liners.

Add the  butter and coffee granules (if using) to your hot water (or hot water/milk mixture).  Stir until the butter melts completely.

In a medium bowl, sift your dry ingredients.  Add the beaten egg and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Slowly add the hot liquid until you have a smooth batter.  Add the vanilla extract.

Divide the batter among your muffin cups.  Top each with a spoonful of the cheesecake mixture.  It might sink to the bottom, and that’s okay.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.  Allow to cool completely before glazing.

While the cupcakes are baking, you can make your ganache…

Place your chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat your heavy cream.  When it is about to come to a boil, remove from heat and pour over your chopped chocolate.  Stir until all of the chocolate is melted and you have a smooth mixture.  Add the coffee liqueur, if using.

Allow to cool until the ganache is slightly thickened.  Dip the tops of the cupcakes in your ganache.  If the cupcakes are not getting a thick enough coating, allow the ganache to cool longer to thicken more before continuing to dip.

Store cupcakes in an airtight container.

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