Black Bottom Muffins



This kind of muffin caught my eye on a recent morning in a little local NY coffee shop – it wasn’t called ‘black bottom muffin’ but ‘farmer’s friend’.

After a bit of online research I found that most people seem to call them ‘black bottom cupcake’ but there are also some names featuring farmers, such as ‘farmer’s delight’. I don’t know why but I do know that they do have a black bottom that is, similar to the red velvet cupcake, made with cocoa powder and the vinegar/bicarb of soda raising agent, and I also know that the cream cheese top is a delight.

They taste very similar to a red velvet cupcake but without the need for them to be red they are easier to make and without the sweet icing of a red velvet cupcake they are a bit easier to digest for breakfast or brunch.

The receipe is very easy and quick – I whipped a batch up between coming home from work and going out for the evening all in less than one hour flat!


For 12 muffins you will need

  • 225g (or 8 Oz) cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • a pinch of salt 
  • 1 ½ cup plain flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper cases and preheat the oven to gas mark 4.

In a bowl, whisk together the first 4 ingredients – the cream cheese, egg, 1/3 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt – until fluffy. You could do this with a balloon whisk though I prefer my trusty electric one. Set aside while you make the ‘black bottoms’.

In another bowl, mix the flour, 1 cup of sugar, cocoa, bicarb of soda and salt with a metal spoon or fork so all is well combined.

Make a well in the middle and pour the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract in. Stir everything together with a balloon whisk until you have a smooth dough that has a very liquid consistency.

Using a small ladle fill the prepared muffin cases 1/3 of their depth with the cocoa dough. Then top them with the cream cheese mix, evenly dividing it between the 12 cases.

During the baking, the base will rise and cause the cream cheese topping to crack which I think makes quite a nice effect, similar to my crinkle cookies. If you don’t want this to happen you can swirl the cream cheese mix in with a little cake fork but don’t overdo this as you still want some of the cream cheese mix on top.

Bake for around 25-30 minutes and cool down completely before tucking in!

These muffins are very moist and will therefore keep about 2 days – but preferably in a cake tin, in the fridge.

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