Black-Bottom Cupcakes

It is seriously beyond me how I have never made these before. Especially considering they’re a hybrid of my two favorite sweets – chocolate and cheesecake, and honestly there’s really no way anything made of chocolate and cheesecake can be anything but spectacular. These cupcakes are no exception, as they take a super moist and intensely chocolate devil’s food cake and drop a cheesecake filling with chunks of bittersweet chocolate right in the middle. These rank way up there on the ladder of favorite things I have ever made. I was sitting outside for a bit while these were in the oven and when I came back into the house it smelled like I could lick chocolate off the walls – the aroma wafting from the oven completely permeated the house. Mmmm…

Good news for the legions of you that love your KA but love even more when you don’t need to get it dirty (*wink wink*) – this recipe does not require a mixer, only a few mixing bowls. I was a little hesitant about filling these cups the whole way full, but forged ahead anyway, and didn’t encounter any problems. I used a large cookie scoop to filling in the chocolate, and then a small cookie scoop to add the cheesecake filling to the middle. I wish I could have done a better job at keeping the filling in the middle, but hey, they taste amazing, so I can live with it! I was a bit skeptical about the notion of naked cupcakes, but after tasting these, I’m confident there’s no need for frosting of any kind. The chocolate is so rich and moist, and paired with the cheesecake, these are phenomenal all on their own.

While the recipe states that these can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container, I always feel better refrigerating anything with cream cheese in it. Plus, I tasted one of these fresh from the oven and then after they cooled, I popped them in the fridge and tried another after awhile, and I think they are just as good from the fridge.

An added bonus: I get to cross these off of my Top 100 list!

Craving more chocolate and cheesecake? Check out these recipes:
Cheesecake Truffles
Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake
Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Brownies
Chocolate Rum Cheesecake

Black-Bottom Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


For the Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

For the Cupcakes:
1Β½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons naturally unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
ΒΌ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. To make the Filling: Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in chopped chocolate pieces. Set aside.

2. To make the Cupcakes: Adjust the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350Β°F (175Β°C). Butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line the tin with paper muffin cups.

3. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.

4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring just until smooth. Stir any longer and you will over mix the batter and end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.

5. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Spoon a few tablespoons of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely, which is fine.

6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed. These moist treats will keep unrefrigerated for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.

(Source: David Lebovitz The Great Book of Chocolate, as seen on Smitten Kitchen)


79 Responses to “Black-Bottom Cupcakes”

  1. ash on August 9, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    they look beautiful and so tasty!


  2. Megan on August 9, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    I love black bottom cupcakes – you can’t go wrong with a combo of chocolate and cheesecake! I’ve often wondered if a frosting would really be “too much”.


  3. Brooke - in Oregon on August 10, 2008 at 9:26 am

    These look wonderful and your comment ‘the house it smelled like I could lick chocolate off the walls’ almost caused my computer to have a coating of coffee! lol totally cracked me up πŸ™‚ I think I will be trying these.


  4. Ally on August 10, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Those look sinful Chelley!


  5. Amber on August 10, 2008 at 9:50 am

    These look and sound amazing!! Chocolate and cheesecake is a wonderful combination.


  6. bakingblonde on August 10, 2008 at 10:53 am

    I have never made these! They look like something I woud LOVE!


  7. Amy (Sing for your supper) on August 10, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Ooooh, these look fantastic!!! I have had this recipe saved for months now and still haven’t made it – you’ve inspired me, though! Now I remember why I saved it in the first place! Can’t wait to try them!!


  8. Erin on August 10, 2008 at 11:43 am

    These look great! I actually made black bottom brownies a couple weeks ago and was going to post it this week (I’m so behind in posting!). Aren’t chocolate and cream cheese a wonderful combination?


  9. heather on August 10, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    you know, i was also thinking about the fact that i’ve never made these… i love them, as well! these turned out beautifully, and i’m sure they’re delicious!


  10. Kate on August 10, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    These are gorgeous!


  11. Kelsey on August 10, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    These look delicious, Chelle. I love the new look. Congratulations!


  12. Cate on August 11, 2008 at 12:26 am

    YUM! That pretty much says it all!


  13. Mollie on August 11, 2008 at 7:43 am

    Yum! I just discovered these last year too and they are always such a hit. Looks great!


  14. Kelly (me&mb) on August 11, 2008 at 10:41 am

    oh wow, these look very tempting. Definitely adding it to my list of things to make!


  15. kitchenbelle on August 11, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    These cupcakes look decadent! So rich and delicious!


  16. Annie on August 11, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    I have always been skeptical about these because of them being “naked” cupcakes, but with your raves, I know I have got to try them! We have such similar taste, I know they will be a hit πŸ™‚


  17. decorated cookies on August 17, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    divine – can’t get over how rich they look.


  18. colleen on August 20, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    these look delicious! i am hoping to make them this weekend!


  19. colleen on August 30, 2008 at 7:17 am

    me again πŸ˜‰ do you think these would work as mini-muffins as well? there are more people coming than i expected to the party i am making these for and i would rather have smaller bite-sized than just 12 larger ones.


  20. Chelle on August 30, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Hi Colleen!

    I think you could definitely make these as mini-muffins. I just wouldn’t fill the cups the whole way (in case there is spillage) and of course use less of the cream cheese filling in each one. I’d love to hear how they turn out!


  21. Stef on August 31, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Oh my gosh…I make these every Christmas. LOVE them!


  22. colleen on August 31, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    hi chelle! i just made them (in the middle of blog post right now). they turned out great! actually made 24 minis and 6 regular sized! i baked the minis for 17 minutes.


  23. Grace on September 10, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    I’ve never seen those before, but they look delightfully sinful. Chocolate and cheesecake eh? That looks like something I’d have to try.


  24. k-10 on September 30, 2008 at 12:46 am

    my grandma has made these for me since i was a kid. they are my favorite. i absolutely LOVE these cupcakes!


  25. Kham on September 30, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Those look absolutely amazing!


  26. tommy on September 30, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Wow, these look great! Thanks for posting.


  27. Peter on October 1, 2008 at 3:30 am

    Wow those look good! I’m making those!


  28. Jen on October 9, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Those look FANTASTIC! Thanks for sharing!


  29. Sweet Cuppinn Cakes Bakery on October 10, 2008 at 9:52 am

    These turned o ut so well many thanks! Love your blog!


  30. Jenna on December 22, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    I grew up on these from the farmers markets in PA Dutch country. I made a batch last night and they were great, my only issue is that I found the cream cheese part sickeningly sweet. I think next time I will leave out the sugar completely and let the chocolate be the sweet part. Great recipe otherwise, thanks for sharing!


  31. Cupcake Forum on October 14, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    These look so gooey and chocolatey… yum!


  32. Isabel on January 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Made these last night! They are AWESOME! So easy to make. Great Chocolate flavor, the cream cheese filling is AMAZING! My daughters (1,4,7) loved them! Definitely going into my recipe box.


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  34. A.Foxx on September 8, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Ok, so this recipe is to die! I make this cake recipe for my husband ALL the time! I make it often as just a sheet cake, without the cream cheese filling and its awesome! Its great because its super easy, inexpensive (no eggs or milk needed[the cake part that is], especially for those times you’re hankering for something sweet but, oh dang-it no eggs!!) I like to mix in about a half a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in it after i’ve mixed it and it gives great chocolate bites throughout!


    • Michelle on September 13th, 2010 at 10:28 pm

      A – Love the idea of making the chocolate part into a cake for a quick dessert! Genius!


  35. jamie on November 2, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    hello! i’ve made these a couple times and LOVED them. but each time the cream cheese part sinks to the bottom, making the cake part a little mushy. does anyone have ideas why it would sink? i would love to hear them!


    • Michelle on November 8th, 2010 at 9:21 pm

      Hi Jamie, Hmm I’m actually not sure why it would sink; in fact mine tends to rise to the top! Are you by any chance underbaking them?


    • Julie on July 29th, 2011 at 6:01 pm

      maybe you did something wrong like letting it sit too much????


  36. Beverly on December 24, 2010 at 6:24 am

    Hey I was wondering is it powdered sugar you use or just your regular sugar.


    • Michelle on February 16th, 2011 at 9:55 pm

      Beverly – Granulated sugar is regular white sugar (for the filling).


  37. AlaskaAngie on April 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I made these this weekend and added a vanilla European buttercream frosting with a sliced strawberry and O…M…G…! That is probably the best combination ever! This cupcake and that frosting. Yes! I don’t think I’ve ever gotten chills on my neck from a cupcake until now!

    Then I took some to my friend (also the lady who babysits my daughter) and she couldn’t stop eating the cupcake and flat out asked me to bake her cupcakes for her wedding because of this cupcake.


  38. Julie on July 29, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    These look delicious! I can’t wait to bake them! I’m sure it’s a great recipe! I <3 BAKING!!! πŸ˜€


  39. sydney on October 1, 2011 at 10:08 am

    i make these all the time and i use mini chocolate chips and they turn out so good!


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  43. Lily on May 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    A friend of my mother’s made black bottom cupcakes for a party after my mother’s college graduation. The cupcakes have always been a fond memory, but she never tried to recreate them…until I graduated college. We baked these for my open house a couple of weeks ago and they were PHENOMENAL! They taste wonderful and are so easy to make. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚


  44. nancy on July 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I have made these for years and they are always the favorite. I have had friends want them for special events, but to me the seemed “naked” and not fancy enough. Then for one wedding I just made a dark chocolate ganache and dipped the top of each cupcake in it while it was still warm, then added a little decoration to the top, sometimes a gumpaste flower, but usually a chocolate covered espresso bean. Problem solved, fancy presentation and great taste. The chocolate ganache did not overpower the taste.


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  46. Alexis on August 23, 2012 at 8:57 am

    I just made these and they tasted delicious but my filling was a bit liquidy. Did I do something wrong? Here is my blog post about them.


    • Michelle on August 31st, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Hi Alexis, It sounds like it wasn’t baked through on the inside. I’m not sure if you made any substitutions or if your oven temperature may be off on the low side; either one could cause them to be underbaked or not set up.


  47. Nancy on November 9, 2012 at 3:14 am

    At first my boyfriend and I were disappointed with these cupcakes. We ate them while still warm and didn’t get as much cheesecake flavor as we wanted. I stuck them in the refrigerator and the next day my boyfriend was raving about them. I tried them again, and yum! They are great when chilled because the cheesecake flavor is more prominent. Thanks again for the recipe; I will be making them again! Sorry I doubted you!!


  48. michele on March 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Just made these and they turned out great I used the cider vineger and thought it was ruined cause I could taste it in the batter but you couldn’t once it was baked!! Easy recipe just follow the directions.


  49. Amy on April 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    What do you think about using a creamy style goat cheese instead of cream cheese for the cheesecake filling? Goat cheese is relatively easy to find without lactose, but lactose free cream cheese is usually pretty bad or contains other ingredients that my lactose-intolerant relative must also avoid.


    • Michelle on May 1st, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Hi Amy, Unfortunately, I really don’t like goat cheese, so I’m pretty biased about whether or not I would use it πŸ˜‰ As with most things, it can never hurt to try; see if you like it. I have no idea how using a lactose-free ingredient would affect the final product. If you try it, I’d love to hear your feedback.


      • Amy on May 1st, 2013 at 10:57 am

        Hi Michelle,
        I don’t think the lactose-free element will be an issue so much as goat cheese has a slightly different texture than cream cheese, as well as a very distinct flavor. I’m debating whether or not to try it, but if I do, I’ll let you know.

        And if any other readers can give some insight into the goat cheese idea, please, weigh in. I so rarely bake anything with dairy in it that I could use all voices of experience here!


      • Amy on May 6th, 2013 at 9:30 am

        I did try it with the goat cheese (I made a half recipe, just in case it would be too weird to eat. I beat the yolk and white together and then measured out half of that to get half an egg – I save the other half for an egg wash for a loaf of challah I was making later that day. FYI, half a large is approximately 4.5 tsp).

        It was good with the goat cheese, but definitely different from regular cream cheese. The goat cheese actually provided a certain counter-balance to the overall sweetness that was really nice. It also provided an extra tang that cream cheese does not. I found the cake part to be a bit crumbly (perhaps because goat cheese itself is dryer than cream cheese and drew some moisture from the cake part), so if using goat cheese I might add a bit more oil to the cake part.

        My family member who is lactose intolerant hasn’t had cheesecake in almost 30 years. He was really excited about this and enjoyed it so much that he ate two in one sitting!


  50. Jan on May 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Hi Michelle! I had a question about these cupcakes — I just finished making a batch and while they came out very moist and very flavorful, I felt like the whole thing just wasn’t sweet. I followed every instruction down to the letter, so I suppose these cupcakes were just meant to be a bit on the less-sweet side. For future reference, how could I spice up the chocolate cake? Do I just add more brown sugar or maybe a bit of granulated? I’m hoping to redeem myself and make another batch next weekend. πŸ™‚ Thanks!


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  52. Maple on September 13, 2013 at 8:29 am

    These were absolutely beautiful! highly recommended!


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  54. Desiree on December 9, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Quick question for you – I’ve made these before and they’re absolutely amazing as they are, but I’m wondering what kind of frosting you would recommend. I’m making these for a baby shower this week & I’m dying the filling blue, but they need the visual effect that frosting brings – does that make sense? I don’t want something too heavy… thanks!!


    • Michelle on December 11th, 2013 at 11:19 am

      Hi Desiree, I would go with chocolate frosting!


  55. Euvonne on December 11, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    These look great!!!!!!!!! I’ll be trying them during the holidays.


  56. Heidelind on May 7, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    I made these last week and absolutely loved them! Frosting would definitely be wasted.


  57. Yamile Barraza Segil on June 20, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Hi, I made this cupcakes and everybody in my house loved them. I’ve made them with a little bit more of cheese on top and it was really delicious. I posted my version in my blog but linking to this recipe so I hope you don’t mind it.
    Thank you so much, again…


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  60. Ruby on October 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I have been using your recipe for years with perfect results!!


  61. Pat on February 1, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    I made these a year or so ago and they came out perfect and delicious – looked just like your photo. I just made another batch and the cream cheese spread out all over the top of the cupcakes. Maybe I shouldn’t have used all of the filling?


    • DJ on February 27th, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      Hello there! Just wondering if there was a response to your note regarding the cheese filling taking over t top of your cupcakes as this happened to mine today also..? I thought I followed the recipe exactly and I used the BEB’s technique of large/small cookie scoop for filling my cups. Love the concept of this cupcake but need help on execution for the results I’m going for. Thanks for any advice you can give…


  62. Mary-Kate on March 17, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Thank-you for a delightful looking recipe! I was just wondering if these freeze well? I need to make 130 cupcakes for my wedding and can’t imagine doing that many the night before….

    Thanks for any tips. I apologize if you already answered this question in previous comments!


    • Michelle on March 20th, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      Hi Mary-Kate, Yes, they absolutely freeze well! Congratulations! πŸ™‚


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