Simply De-Lite-Ful: Black Bottom Picnic Cupcakes

Black Bottom Picnic Cupcakes
Makes 12 full size or about  30-36 mini cupcakes

Both of these recipes are so great to take for a picnic or summer gathering because there is no frosting to melt and stick to everything.  There is no worry with them being at room or outdoor temperature.  They are also yummy served cold, right from the refrigerator.  They are delicious as a full size cupcake, or scrumptious little bites of heaven when done in the mini version.  Which will be your favorite—rich chocolate or fresh lemon?

Cake batter:
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
6 Tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons canola or light olive oil
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)

Adjust oven rack to the center of the oven.  Preheat to 350 degrees.
Line muffin tin with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  In a separate bowl, mix together the water, oil, vinegar and flavorings.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and dump the wet ingredients into it.  Mix it together just until smooth.  If you over mix it , the texture will not be as tender.  Fill the muffin cups evenly with the cake batter,  then spoon the filling evenly onto the batter.  The cups will be quite full.  Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until slightly golden and the cake portion springs back when touched.  Cool on a rack. They can be stored refrigerated or un-refrigerated. Just before serving, you can dust with powdered sugar for extra nice presentation. 

Filling:

8 oz. fat free cream cheese (room temperature)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup egg substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

In small bowl, mix the cream cheese and sugar till smooth.  Add the egg substitute and flavorings, again, mixing till smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
 

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