It must have been while I was looking the other way; a new food trend appeared out of nowhere. Who would have guessed that good old-fashioned cupcakes would be the IN thing to bake this spring?
There are more cupcake cookbooks being published than you can count, with Martha Stewart’s “Cupcakes: 175 inspired ideas for Everyone’s Favorite Treat” leading the parade. Chronicle Books is releasing a Cupcake Kit, which includes baking liners, a reusable pastry bag with piping tips and a recipe book. Last spring, a book called “Hello, Cupcake!” (Houghton Mifflin) spent 13 weeks on the New York Times best seller list — and — the ultimate endorsement — a cupcake wall calendar is scheduled for release in 2010.
There’s no question that a great deal can be written on the subject: even the healthy cookbooks are getting in on the act, with Vegan, gluten-free and (mostly) sugar-free recipes being featured. The decoration of the humble cupcake has turned out to be a new art form and special racks have been devised to present a veritable pyramid of the brightly frosted treats.
I might have missed this completely if it had not been for my granddaughter Molly, who caught a recipe on the Internet that caught her eye — (the word “chocolate” elicits the same response in us both.) This cupcake has a filling, as you will see, making it doubly delicious.
Creamy Chocolate Cupcakes
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup baking cocoa (Dutch process preferred)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- ¾ cup water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp. vinegar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, water, oil, vinegar and vanilla and mix well. Pour the batter into 18 paper-lined (or greased) muffin cups.
For the filling, beat the cream cheese and sugar together. Add the beaten egg and salt and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips. Into the center of each unbaked cupcake, drop a tablespoonful of filling. Sprinkle the tops of each cupcake with the chopped nuts and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Note: Both Molly and I discovered that the recipe for the filling made about twice as much as needed. The recipe could be halved, or the leftover filling could be stored (covered) in the refrigerator for the next batch of cupcakes.