Black Bottom Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting and a caramel decoration: an AIDS Lifecycle pre-ride dinner dessert!

by Irvin on June 7, 2010 · 11 comments

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Black Bottom Cupcake with Salted Caramel Frosting. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Today, AJ left on his 10th fundraising ride for the AIDS Lifecycle in support of The San Francisco AIDS Foundation. It’s still not to late to donate to his ride (every dollar counts), if you haven’t had a chance or didn’t know about it! I’ve written about his ride twice before (in 2006, and in 2007) in my former, now defunct, blog.  I’m always a little sad when he takes off (a whole week without him!) and so proud of him as well (a whole week cycling from San Francisco to Los Angeles – that’s 535 miles on a bike!). And every year there is a pre-ride dinner with his cycling team, the Gutterbunnies. This year, the annual dinner, was held at one of the bunny’s house, and it was a potluck. Of course I was tasked to bring the dessert and I decide to try a new recipe for black bottom cupcakes, paired with AJ’s favorite frosting – salted caramel cream cheese. Because I had such a great time with spun sugar, I decided to top the cupcakes with a little caramel decoration as well.

However, I didn’t really think that far ahead in terms of what my schedule was going to be like this past week when I volunteered to bake a dessert. Starting with Memorial Day weekend, I had something planned EVERY SINGLE evening of the week (a long weekend trip to Sonoma, dinner with the Gay Straight Alliance that AJ is the advisor for, dinner with a friend from out of town, dinner with ANOTHER friend from out of town, and then the dinner his cycling friends). On top of that work was ridiculously insane. It was a four day work week, but I ended up billing 40 hours worth of work, running from work to each event (ever so slightly late for them) and then going home and collapsing in bed, starting all over again in the morning. Yes. This is my life right now.

But somehow, SOMEHOW, I was able to squeeze in making cupcakes. I made them in the hour break I had between coming home from work and running out to dinner with friend Number 1 (skipping the drinks before that they had suggested). And then I made the frosting the night of the dinner, along with the caramel decorations. Oh yeah, I also baked some chocolate chip cookies because I was a little worried that I had overbaked the cupcakes (I had, but they were salvageable with the frosting). The chocolate chip cookies don’t really count though, because I had emergency chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer (something I suggest EVERYONE do in case of baking emergencies) so that was just pulling them out and stick them in the oven for 15 minutes.

The annual dinner is named “The Sub-Zero Dinner” because each day of the ride has a number, starting with Day Zero which is when you register, Day One when the riders cycle off into the distance, and so on to Day Seven when the riders arrive into Los Angeles.

The Sub-Zero dinner has fluctuated in size from large groups (35+ people) to much smaller. This year it was the core bunnies, down to 13 people (I was initially told it was going to be 11 people, which is why you see 11 cupcakes in the carrier). Each bunny in the group has a nickname and there are rules as to how you get the nickname. The nickname can’t be mean or spiteful, you cannot pick your own nickname, it has to be given to you, but you do have veto power over the nickname. This year, they went around the circle and related the story of each of their nicknames. From Rebound Bunny to BandAid Bunny they talked about how they joined the group and how they got their names. This year, there was a new bunny Eleanor, who had been riding with the group but had not yet gotten a nickname. She was christened Detour Bunny (because she had a habit of getting lost on the training rides).

Side note. I COMPLETELY put my foot in my mouth when I sat down to dinner next to her. I totally knew who she was, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember how I knew here. I figured that I just knew her from various cycling functionsr. So I just sat down and said “Hi! I don’t know if we have ever formally been introduced, but I’m Irvin.” She just looked at me, and replied back “Um. I was at your dessert party last year. I met your parents there.” AND then it all clicked on how I knew her. And I felt completely ridiculous. Not much you can do to recover from that one. But Eleanor’s such a sweetheart, I’m sure she’ll forgive me. In my defense I was coasting on minimal amounts of sleep and was completely exhausted and brain fried from the week. So there’s that.

The dinner was fantastic. The bunnies told stories about former bunnies and what they were up to. They talked about AIDS rides from the past and previous trips across the country and the world. AJ competed with the bunnies at the Gay Games in Chicago, winning one gold and several silver awards in cycling (another former blog post) and a group of bunnies are going to Cologne, Germany later this summer to compete in this year’s Gay Games as well.

We ate a leafy green salad, a great vegetarian friendly pasta and a lovely citrus rosemary infused chicken, and, of cou rse cupcakes (my own and some from Mission Mini that Chatty Bunny had brought) as well as the emergency chocolate chip cookies for dessert. A few bunnies had already had my chocolate chip cookies before and they were SUPER excited to see them again. One bunny said that he had actually dreamed about the cookies after he had them previously, so he was totally thrilled to have them again!

And the cupcakes seem to be a hit. Though I thought they were a little dry from my overbaking them, no one seemed to mind, and the caramel cream cheese frosting (I went generous with it) seemed to make up for that. One of the bunnies (who actually is in the hospitality industry) actually asked me if I catered, and that I totally should. Ha! Someone pay me for my baked goods so I can quit my day job please! In the end I’ll miss AJ for the next week, but I’m taking off on Friday to drive down to LA to meet up with him (and friends). I wish the bunnies the best ride! I’m so proud of them, and think they are truly all amazing. Go Riders!

Black Bottom Cupcake with Salted Caramel Frosting. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Whilst baking these, I listened to the new Robyn album Body Talk Pt. 1. Intelligent disco electropop. Perfect for the start of the summer.  

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Juline June 7, 2010 at 1:18 am

Beautiful! I've been wanting to try salted caramel anything for a long time. How did you transport them? Did the lid fit on the container you have pictured?


Mr. Jackhonky June 7, 2010 at 1:48 am

@Juline. I actually have a specific carrier that I got from Costco that is tiered and carries up to 36 cupcakes, or can be converted to carry brownies, cookies, pies or other stuff.

That said, I TOTALLY couldn't put the top on it because of the caramel decoration! Had I thought ahead of time, I would have saved the caramel decorations and put them in a separate container and stuck them on the cupcake at the dinner!

Instead, I had to just hold the container carefully in my lap with it open, as my boyfriend drove us to the dinner! Luckily there were no bumps or sudden stops!


Juline June 7, 2010 at 4:58 am

I haven't been down that aisle at Costco in a long time. I'll have to check for it next time I'm there. Thanks.


S. B. Hadley Wilson June 7, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I had this cupcake on Saturday and let me tell you — it was delicious! I didn't even offer it to Peter & Grant, I just ate it in three bites. Again, fabulous!


Tara June 8, 2010 at 3:19 am

I, too, am surrounded by cyclers who are always setting off on some long fundraising ride – and I'm always so impressed by and proud of them! Go AJ!

I've made caramel buttercream before, and salted caramel sauce, but somehow never thought to combine them – must do! I haven't made cupcakes in a while, but have been seeing lots of posts on them lately. Putting me in a cupcake-y state of mind . . .

And random side note: we used to sell pink Himalayan sea salt (the huge rocks of it, that you have to grate on a microplane or zester) at a store my husband and I owned, and NO ONE knew what it was. It was hard to convince people it was truly salt. Very pretty, though!


Cathy June 8, 2010 at 3:43 am

The cupcakes were fantastic and oh-so-beautiful! I didn't notice they were dry and savored every bite. Oh, and the choc chip cookie was fabulous, too. Somehow, I managed to eat both. Thanks, Irvin!
Sporty Bunny


Rita June 8, 2010 at 4:49 am

Could this cupcake be any more gorgeous?? NO! It could not!!! It's completely gorgeous!!

Also, the fact everyone has Bunny nicknames is very pleasing. I know a couple that refers to each other as Bunny, and if they have to distinguish whom they mean, they say things like "Me-Bunny" or "She-Bunny." Awkward, methinks. I may have to recommend separate names to them.


Martha June 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I have a very bad relationship with cream cheese, but despite my issues those cupcakes look (and sound) AMAZING.

[Going to donate now, thanks for the reminder.]


baking.serendipity June 17, 2010 at 3:56 am

Yum! I've made black bottom cupcakes before, but never with this frosting. They sound divine! Thanks for the tips on pie crust…I never would have thought of using vodka. Sounds strange, but I definitely want to give it a try. 🙂


flavia March 11, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Hi. I just literally finished making these cupcakes. I would suggest double checking the measurements of the ingredients for the batter. I doubled your recipe, and I’m certain I measured everything right… I guess there is a possibility I didn’t… but the batter was really thick, like cookie batter thick… So I added some more cream, milk and one egg. I haven’t tasted these yet, but they look and smell perfect. So please let us know if there could have been a mistake in the amount of dry ingredients vs. wet. Thanks.


flavia March 13, 2011 at 9:39 pm

The frosting was out of this world amazing. The cake was very dry and I only baked it for 20 minutes.


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