Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Dear People Who Make the Rules Regarding Use of the Trash Compactor:

You don't know me, but I think you would like me if you did. I'm very considerate. I read all those notes you post on the trash compactor about the do's and don'ts of throwing away garbage. And I do what they say.

I don't leave my bags of garbage on the ground., even though touching the handle on the door of the compactor makes me want to go take a bath in acid.

Not to mention that the door closes automatically, forcing me to choose between awkwardly holding the door open with one hand while I try to hoist my bags of trash into the compactor with the other hand, or allowing the door to rest against my shoulder so I can use two hands, which isn't really an option because I don't know what that brown stuff on the door is, but I do know I don't want it touching my shirt.

Also, I never attempt to put things that aren't considered "household garbage" in or around the compactor, even though this means I have to go out of my way to dispose of my sectional couches, old rusty swing sets, broken treadmills, and construction materials elsewhere.

But I had to draw the line somewhere. Yesterday there was a new note on the compactor. I don't remember the exact wording, but basically it said:
You can't use the compactor. We don't have to explain why. Also, you still aren't allowed to leave your trash next to the compactor. Yeah, we know that several people already did. But we also know that you have a conscience, so you're going to do the right thing. What we'd like you to do is take your three heavy bags of garbage to the dumpster on the other side of buildings 14 and 15. Oh, you don't know which buildings those are? Sorry. It was too much trouble for us to label them. When you finally find the dumpster, you might be a bit confused as to how you're supposed to put your trash inside it, considering that it's about 12 feet tall. If you look closely, you'll see there are ladders on the side of the dumpster. We're not sure how you're going to climb a ladder while holding a (did we mention heavy?) bag of garbage, but we're sure you'll figure it out.
Unfortunately, People Who Make the Rules Regarding Use of the Trash Compactor, you didn't realize that one of my garbage bags was full of used cat litter, and you therefore overestimated the influence of my conscience on my decision making in this situation. You might want to hold your breath when you dispose of that bag, along with the fifty other bags left by people without consciences.

Person Who Does the Right Thing, But Only Within Reason

You may be wondering what this has to do with Black Bottom Cupcakes. And the answer is... nothing.

Black Bottom Cupcakes have nothing to do with dumpsters or bags of used cat litter and everything to do with chocolate and cream cheese. Moist chocolate cake with rich cream cheese filling baked in the middle, and a few chocolate chips thrown in for good measure. You could certainly frost these, but I think they are delicious on their own, and they taste even better slightly chilled.

Black Bottom Cupcakes
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the cream cheese filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 ounces chocolate chips (about 1/3 cup)

For the cupcakes:

1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.

2. Prepare the filling. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.

3. Sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. I don't usually sift dry ingredients, but in this case it's necessary because the brown sugar will form lumps with the cocoa powder and flour.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the water, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir just until the batter is smooth. Do not overmix.

5. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 of the way. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the cream cheese filling to each cup. This will fill the cups almost completely.

6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the filling turns slightly golden and the tops of the cupcakes spring back when pressed gently.

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