Black Bottom Cupcake Taste Test

I love making Black Bottom Cupcakes and have used the same recipe for years. It has its kinks, though. Two that come to mind are that often the middle sinks and sometimes the tops get too brown.

Yesterday I tried the Magnolia Bakery Black Bottom Cupcake recipe and was very happy to find it was better than my old standy. The tops didn’t get overly brown (though they weren’t perfectly white) and they didn’t sink much at all. Also, the flavor of the cake was outstanding. I was happy to have a new Black Bottom recipe, but determined to try one more recipe — a Cook’s Country recipe from a few years back where they attempted to improve Black Bottoms.

Nicole at Baking Bites posted her slightly adapted version of the Cook’s Country recipe, so I made it today and compared it with Magnolias.

First, here’s Magnolia’s….


And here’s the Cook’s Country.


The filling was great! It was snowy white and tangier than Magnolia’s. Unfortunately, both times that I made the recipe the cake rose up and overtook the filling so that once baked, only a tiny bit peeked out. Furthermore, the tops sank. I thought maybe the size of the chips had something to do with it, but even with the mini chocolate chips the tops still sank.


I liked the Cook’s Country version quite a bit, but tasting the two side by side, my personal preference today was Magnolia’s. Yes, the top browned a bit more and the cream cheese wasn’t as tart as the Cook’s Country version, but the Magnolia cake had what I thought was an all-around better flavor — especially in the cake part.  The extra cocoa powder and the buttermilk really added a lot, even though I don’t think Magnolia’s was quite as moist as Cook’s Country’s.

So the overall opinion is that both Magnolia’s and Cook’s Country’s versions are better than my old version, but my preference of the two (at least today — it could change tomorrow) was Magnolia’s because it has more flavor and more cream cheese on top. I like the whiteness of the Cook’s Country version, though.  The solution might be as simple as combining Magnolia’s cake recipe with the Cooks Country cream cheese filling.

Even though it’s tedious, I kind of enjoy making these handy dandy charts.  Here’s one for Black Bottoms.  The first recipe (Old Standby) is the one I usually use.


Black Bottom Cupcakes

Old Standard Magnolia Cook’s Country
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg

1/2 c. chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup Dutch cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla
16-oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg whites
2 T. sour cream
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup Dutch coca
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

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  1. CindyD says

    I am so hungry! I’m trying to not eat chocolate for a week.
    Do the three recipes make the same amount of cupcakes? If so, I’m guessing the calorie count for your old standby is somewhat lower.
    Expecting the name of your blog to change to Muffin/Cupcake/Cookie Madness any day now!

  2. says

    My recipe is like your old standard. The difference is that my recipe calls for 1.5 c. chocolate chips instead of .5 cup It also calls for a red maraschino cherry that you put on the center of the cream cheese mixture before baking. I haven’t made them in awhile but I don’t remember being bothered by the centers sinking, and I’m pretty sure that brownness of the cream cheese wasn’t an issue either.
    I’ll definitely want to try the Magnolia Bakery version in the future!
    I made Grasshopper Cream Pie for tomorrow. I’m a little worried about it. It looked like it might separate!!!!! YIKES!!! I’m considering making something for back up, or just having the ingredients ready and serving grasshopper drinks instead! That seems a little much for mid day activities doesn’t it!?

  3. Louise says

    With your Red Velvet Cupcakes and Black Bottom Cupcakes, then Sue making Grasshopper Pie, I feel like I’m in a time warp back in the 60’s.

  4. says

    Always love stopping by to see what you are making and comparing!
    I’ve never made a black bottom anything, so read everything with interest. And the chart is well worth the trouble.
    Think I’ll try the Magnolia for my first effort. However, the filling in Cook’s County is quite a bit different than the other two. Interesting.

  5. says

    They’re in the refrigerator chlling, but I’ve come up with a hybrid of the two recipes which I think will be better. Stay tuned!

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