In my old office, I am blessed/cursed to work with all boys. Seriously. I am the only girl student assistant among 5 boys in my unit. Some days it feels like a blessing, other days I feel like I am being punished for a crime in a past life. In some ways, it’s like I’ve become their surrogate mother. Yes, I’m guess I should be proud to say that I have a flock of boys under my wing, raising them from the wee youngins that they used to be to the strapping fine men that they have become now…
Sorry, I think I just gagged. Most days, I come home angry, tired and upset after dealing with the trials and tribulations of dealing with these boys. Don’t get me wrong, I love them to death. But everyone has their breaking point. If I have to listen to another sob story about how its so hard to be guy because being faithful in a relationship is tough, I might gag. And if I have to clean up after all their messes ( we share the same cube space) one more time, I might go postal on someone.
I used to work with a fantastic girl R who I loved. Together, we’d grab coffee, walk to the mall, move our cars, and scour the internet for clothes. I am not one of those chicks who proclaims to prefer men to women as friends. No thanks, give me a girl who can relate to my monthly freakout days and chocolate cravings. What I really miss is doing the whole daily gossip and chit chat with my girls. Thankfully, at my new job, I’m surrounded by girls. We spend our lunches talking about the important stuff in life, like if Amy Winehouse will ever get sober, what to eat for lunch, and if the new patent black wedges will go on sale.
It’s hard doing that with the boys. They like to talk about cars, and working out, and movies about cars and working out. But we do agree on one important thing: baked goods. These guys welcome my treats with open arms. In fact, I think they might fall more in love me if I baked more and talked less.
These past couple of months, these poor fellows have felt the intense blaze of my uncontrolled fury. For the most part, I’ve been down right mean and it’s only because of the heavy workload that I’ve been struggling under. I brought in these delicious black bottom cupcakes for my boys to hopefuly lessen the pain. The wrath of my not-too pleased side is one that should never be unleashed over prolonged periods of time. It’s like a form of cruel and unusual punishment. What better way to win back the hearts of my guys than with the very cucpakes that Jill O’Connor used to win the heart of her husband?
The cupcakes received huge fanfare by all my coworkers. The subtle hint of vanilla intertwines with the milk chocolate chips mixed in the cream cheese mixture. The sweet and salty flavors from the cream cheese stay on your tongue even after it melts away in your mouth. The chocolate cake is unlike anything I have ever tasted before: light crumb and subtle chocolate flavor. Quickly melts as it hits your warm tongue. Not too sugary but sweet enough to hold its own with the cream cheese.
I have yet to research what the apple vinegar does to the cake batter but I suspect it gives the cake its fluffy texture as well as adds a little apple flavor. Correct me if I’m wrong as I’m really curious now.
It is in these moments that I love my boys. Smiling wide with chocolate all up and down their mouths, they are fat and happy. And, most importantly, they are silent. Got to love the magic of a cupcake. These little cakes will make friends out of enemies, bring smile to anyone lucky enough to devour them, and will definitely win the heart of any man. I’ll be sure to make these for my future lover whomever he may be, as well as send a thank you card to Mrs. O’Connor.
Black Bottom Cupcakes
From Sticky Chewy Messy Gooey
For the cake:
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cheese filling:
8 ounces mascarpone cheese (I used regular cream cheese)
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 large egg
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
For the chocolate glaze:
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
¾ cup (1 and ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 standard 12-cup cupcake tins with paper cupcake liners.
To make the filling:
In a medium bowl, cream together the mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar, egg, salt, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Stir in the chocolate chips.
To make the cake batter:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a 2 cup measuring cup, combine the boiling water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid ingredients. Stir together until smooth.
Fill each cupcake cup ¼ full of batter and top with a heaping tablespoon or so of the filling. Divide it evenly and use it all. Top the filling with the remaining batter, dividing it evenly. Bake until cupcakes are puffed and firm, about 25-28 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the glaze:
Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If the chocolate is not completely melted, continue to microwave for 30 second intervals and stir until smooth.
Transfer the cupcakes in the pans to a wire rack and let cool completely. When cool, dip the top of each cupcake in the chocolate glaze. Feel free to double dip, if you like. Let the excess glaze drip from the cupcakes for a few seconds and then place the cupcake right-side up on the wire rack until glaze firms up before serving.
Yields 24 standard cupcakes