Thursday, August 24, 2006

Vacation, sweets, coffee, wine...

It's that time of the year, Summer is almost over, we all needed a break... We rented a house in Berkeley Springs, WV for 6 days and had as much R&R as you can have with a 3-month old baby. Berkeley Springs is known for its warm springs, spas, and rivers. The house we rented was a large house with two Jacuzzis, three bedrooms, and a lot of outdoor space. The house was nestled between mountains and the Cacapon River. Our favorite spot was the porch overlooking the water. We sat there every morning drinking coffee and nibbling on cupcakes. I made some food in advance and brought to the house, we also brought a case of wine and some beer for a barbeque. We ate at restaurants in town a few times but I wasn't impressed with them. The restaurant considered one of the best in town was a very cute and artsy place (they sell paitings, art pieces and sculptures there). I had Crab Cake and File Mignon with Potatoes and Roquefort Cheese. The filet was not very tasty and the crab cake was dry, you could barely taste the cheese on the potato and our baby cried the entire meal... maybe that's why I couldn't taste anything... Anyway, here is the recipe for my favorite cupcakes. The bottom part tastes almost like a brownie with a creamy topping. This recipe yields 24 medium cupcakes. They freeze well. You can make a batch, freeze them and microwave each for 45 seconds anytime you have one.

Black Bottom Cupcake

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups water
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 medium muffin cups or 18 large muffin cups with paper liners. Batter: In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Stir in oil, water, vinegar and vanilla until blended. Pour mixture into prepared muffin cups, filling each 1/2 full.
Filling: In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into each cupcake. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool.


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