Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Black & White Cupcakes

Cupcakes were THE "It Food" a few years ago. They were basically the "new" bacon, only to now be replaced by food truck fare as the hip new scene in food. You couldn't flip through the channels without finding a show all about cupcakes; reality shows featuring cupcake-baking competitions, travel-esque shows letting us all know where to get THE best cupcakes, basically, every cupcake-based show possible without actually showing us HOW to make cupcakes...

Since, you know, neither Food Network nor Cooking Channel actually feature many shows that actually TEACH us how to cook anything...

Anyway, I have been SO burnt-out on cupcakes. Or so I thought until Hostess went under, taking their delicious chocolate cupcakes (you know, the ones with that little squiggle of white icing on top) with them. But, I stumbled across this recipe, from none other than the illustrious testicle-aficionado Andrew Zimmern, who I greatly admire and respect. 

This recipe is pretty simple. Even if you aren't a "baker", this are incredibly easy and quick to prepare. No ridiculous icing, piped in that perfect cartoon dog-poop fashion, no crazy offbeat ingredients, and no pretentiousness whatsoever. Just a chocolately, fudgy cupcake, filled with a simple sweetened cream cheese mixture. The inside is moist and cakey, while the top has that *slight* bit of muffiny crunch. I think these will make the PERFECT Valentine's Day treat!

Black & White Cupcakes
adapted from Andrew Zimmern

1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp table salt
6oz mini chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp table salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened, Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Confectioner's sugar

Prepare the Filling: Beat the cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt with an electric mixer until blended and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside. 

Prepare the Cupcakes: Whisk the flour with the sugar, salt and baking soda. Sift in the cocoa powder and whisk to combine. 

Add the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; whisk until the batter is smooth. 

Line 3 12-cup muffin tins with paper cupcake liners. Scoop 2 Tbsp of batter into each muffin cup, them scoop 1 Tbsp of filling on top of the batter. Next, scoop 1 Tbsp of batter on top of the filling. 

Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes or until firm and no longer sticky, turning the pans halfway through baking. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn them out and cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving. 

Keep chilled, in an air-tight container. 

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