Black Bottom Cupcakes are an easy, classic black bottom cupcake recipe topped with salted chocolate buttercream.  They’re perfect for any occasion!

black bottom cupcakes on white serving pedestal

This post was originally published in June 2013.  The photos and recipe were improved and I’ve rewritten the text.

Today is a very special day!  It’s my 5 year blog anniversary and we’ve got cupcakes.  I originally published this recipe back in 2013 and it needed a major overhaul.  These Black Bottom Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Buttercream deserved better because they’re very special to me.

Before I gush about these cupcakes, I just want to say what an amazing journey the past 5 years have been.  I’ve learned so much about food and so much about myself.  I’ve met so many wonderful bloggers along the way (some actually in person!) and appreciate all of the support that I receive from each and every one of them.

Most importantly, I appreciate all of my readers for subscribing and following along whether it be via email, Facebook, Instagram, etc.  This blog would be nothing without you and I just want to say thank you for your support!

close up of black bottom cupcakes on wire rack

Black bottom cupcakes

Now let’s talk cupcakes!

When I first began my job in San Francisco at the ripe age of 23, I had a wonderful boss that would bring in the most delicious cupcakes I’d ever tasted each and every time one of the staff had a birthday.

This was long before cupcake bakeries and Cupcake Wars, obviously.  I was so impressed that she made cupcakes with a filling in them.  The only cupcake I’d had with a filling prior to my boss’ were Hostess cupcakes.

Sad right?

overhead shot of black bottom cupcakes on wire rack

I remember thinking how much effort my boss must have gone through to make her special birthday cupcakes.  She’d never divulged the name of the recipe, and years later Google helped me find them.  They were black bottom cupcakes, and my boss had livened them up with chocolate frosting like I’ve done here.

I found this recipe 13 years ago and I’ve been making them ever since.  I made them for my son’s 14th birthday last month as well.  Maybe you saw them on my Instagram stories?

Black bottom cupcakes are like no cupcakes you’ve ever had before.  They’re light, spongy and chocolatey…and the clincher?  There’s no butter, eggs, or dairy in the cake itself and they’re beyond easy to make!

unfrosted black bottom cupcakes on wire rack

The cream cheese filling makes these cupcakes really special.  I for one could never resist chocolate and cheesecake in one delicious confection.  It’s one of my favorite combinations.

These black bottom cupcakes are perfectly delicious with no frosting at all, but keeping with my old boss’ tradition, I’ve topped them with chocolate frosting.  My frosting is silky and chocolatey and isn’t overly sweet thanks to a bit of fleur de sel or flaky sea salt.

Salted chocolate is my thing — see these peanut butter cups and this fudge!

front shot of black bottom cupcakes on white pedestal

The simplicity of these cupcakes is spectacular, and the taste is out of this world.  They’re my go-to chocolate cupcake, hands down.

Frosted or unfrosted, you’re going to enjoy every single chocolate cream cheese bite!

bite out of black bottom cupcakes

Hungry for more cupcakes?  Try these cupcake recipes:

Carrot cake cupcakes

Chocolate cupcakes

Coconut cupcakes by Food Network

Hummingbird cupcakes

Red velvet cupcakes

Vanilla cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Black Bottom Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Buttercream

Black bottom cupcakes on pedestal server with sprinkles

Black Bottom Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Buttercream are chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese chocolate chip filling and silky salted chocolate buttercream.  They're easy to prepare and perfect for any occasion!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


For the cupcakes:

  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider or white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel (I use Maldon)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Prepare the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin pan with 12 paper or foil liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt. Make a well in the center.
  3. Add the water, canola oil, cider vinegar, and vanilla.
  4. Stir everything together just until everything is incorporated.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop, pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups about ⅓ of the way full.

Prepare the filling:

  • In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Top the cupcake batter with a heaping tablespoon of the filling (you will have a bit of filling leftover).
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the filling appears set and the cupcakes spring back when pressed gently with your fingers.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Prepare the frosting:

  1. Place the butter and powdered sugar in a medium bowl and beat together on low until incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, vanilla, and fleur de sel and beat on medium high until incorporated.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of cream if you'd like a creamier texture.
  3. Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and top with sprinkles if desired.  Serve and enjoy!


  • These cupcakes are completely delicious with no frosting at all!  I simply love to frost them for special occasions. 

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 418Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 280mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 2gSugar: 44gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is mean to be an estimate only. The numbers will vary based on the quantity consumed, brands used and substitutions that are made.

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