I’ve read a lot of hype about baby boomers and cupcakes lately, but that’s not why I came up with this recipe. It’s simply my penchant for finger food that you can just pick up and eat. I love cake, but a beautifully decorated cake is intimidating at a potluck, and people may look at it longingly, but nobody wants to cut it. Once the first brave soul takes a piece, it becomes a free-for-all mess, with crumbs and icing smeared all over the table. Decorated cupcakes, on the other hand, are angst-free. They’ll disappear rapidly every time, leaving you with a clean plate, few crumbs, and many happy memories.
Makes 12-15 small cupcakes.
1 egg white
4 oz cream cheese — don’t soften it too much
2 T sugar
Beat the eggs, cream cheese, sugar and salt together and set aside. It needs to have a stiff consistency; if it’s runny, chill it in the freezer for a little while.
1-1/2 C flour
1 C sugar
1/4 C dark cocoa
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 C water
1/3 C vegetable oil
1 T vinegar
1/2 t vanilla or orange extract
Mix dry ingredients together. In another bowl, mix water, oil, vinegar and vanilla or orange extract. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and mix at medium speed for about two minutes. Place liners in 12 to 15 cupcake cups. Fill each cup halfway full with chocolate batter. Top with a heaping teaspoon or so of the cream cheese filling. There’s no need to poke the filling down, as it will sink naturally. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes.
Frost with cream cheese frosting (a half recipe of the frosting with an extra 1/4 to 1/2 C powdered sugar is about the right amount) and decorate with miniature chocolate chips and slices of orange jelly candies. Or top with grated chocolate and stick a square of chocolate in the top of each one.
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