Black-Out Cupcakes (+ giveaway!)

First things first:  yes, those are chocolate cupcakes topped with pudding and THEN coated in chocolate cake crumbs.

This recipe comes out of Kathleen King’s book Baking for Friends.  You know Kathleen King, she’s the mastermind behind Tate’s Bake Shop in the Hamptons.  I first heard about Tate’s Bake Shop while watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa on Food Network.  Once Tate’s was on my radar, I knew I had to try these Tate’s famous chocolate chip cookies.  When Rachel Ray featured the store-bought version of Tate’s cookies in her magazine and declared they were just as delicious as the ones from the bake shop, I was hooked.

When I saw these black-out pudding-topped chocolate cupcakes in the book, I knew I had to bake them. The recipe below is the full recipe that makes 15 cupcakes. I successfully halved the recipe (using 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk) and got 7 cupcakes with just enough frosting.  You cannot pile the frosting as high as you see it in the photo, however, so if you want super tall cupcakes, half the cupcake recipe but make the full batch of pudding frosting.

Now, for the giveaway!

Tate’s Bake Shop is giving away a huge basket of their famous baked goods.  You know how sometimes you wish I gave you actual desserts instead of just recipes?  Well, here ya go!

For a chance to win this amazing prize-pack full of 3 packs of cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and white chocolate chip macadamia nut), buttery raspberry bars, chocolate chip and walnut loaded blondies, and fudgey brownies, you must:

—leave a comment below telling me which holiday cookie you’re most looking forward to eating

For extra entries:

—Like Dessert For Two and Tate’s Bake Shop on Facebook (and leave me a comment telling me you did so)

—Tweet the following:  Enter to win a dessert basket from @TatesBakeShop via @DessertForTwo here:

The giveaway ends Monday, December 3rd at noon.  Good luck!

5.0 from 8 reviews
Black-Out Cupcakes
Makes 15 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1½ teasspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • ½ teasoon salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup boiling water
For the pudding frosting:
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350. Line 15 muffin cups with paper liners and lightly butter a 9-by-2" round cake pan and line bottom with parchment or wax paper. Dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess.
  2. To make the chocolate cake: In a microwave on medium (50%), melt the chocolate, stirring at 30-second intervals until just melted, about 2 minutes. Let cool until tepid but still fluid.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a glass measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk and vanilla. In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter with an electric mixer until the mixture is pale and fluffy, 3 minutes.
  4. One at a time, beat in the eggs and yolk. Beat in ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by ½ of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat until flour is gone. Add the melted chocolate mixture. Gradually beat in the boiling water.
  5. Using a ⅓ cup measure, transfer the batter to the muffin cups, filling them about ¾ cup full. Spread the remaining batter in the cake pan.
  6. Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes, but continue to bake the cake until set, about 5 minutes more. Let cool.
  7. Make the frosting: In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and ¼ cup of the water to make a paste. In a medium saucepan, whisk the remaining water with sugar, cocoa powder and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the cornstarch mixture and reduce heat to low, stirring often until mixture is as thick as pudding (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Add the chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes while chocolate melts, then transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool, pressing plastic wrap on the surface. Chill very well.
  8. Crumble the cake with your hands, then place the crumbs in a shallow bowl.
  9. Pile ⅓ cup of icing on each cupcake, shaping it into a dome with a small knife. Roll the edges of the cupcakes in the crumbs. Serve. (Cupcakes can be refrigerated for 1 day, but let stand at room temperature 2 hours before serving).
Recipe reprinted with permission.




  1. sharon says

    I think my very favorite is a linzer cookie with a little dab of chocolate frosting in the center

  2. Melissa says

    I’m most looking forward to candy cane cookies — which are NOT peppermint flavored! The soft dough (made with powdered sugar) is flavored with almond extract. My grandmother made them when I was growing up, and I started making them several years ago when she stopped doing holiday baking. They’re a favorite of mine and I think have become one of my husband’s favorites, too!

  3. Sarah says

    I’m really looking forward to Zimtserne or cinnamon stars, one of the most typical German Christmas cookies!

  4. Susan G says

    Chocolate chocolate chip cookies for me. My mom made them for every occasion, bake sale, etc when I was a kid and I made them for my daughter. These cookies now go into her “good luck with finals” college care package. They really bring back such happy memories this time of year.

  5. Sondra Stephens says

    i LOVE fudge! Does that count as a cookie? If not, frosted and decorated sugar cookies are great.

  6. Deborah says

    No matter what cookies I make for the holidays, I always seem to head for the Chocolate chip cookies the most.

  7. Maggie says

    Those look great–both your cupcakes and the giveaway goodies! I always try new cookies at Christmas, so I’d say the ones I’m most excited about are the ones I haven’t made yet. Obviously, I have no idea if they’ve got faults yet, so they’re the best ones!

  8. Sam says

    I cannot wait to make some jam-filled thumb prints! My Mom and I make them every year, but we use Dad’s thumb because then we can fill with more jam!!

  9. Rachel C says

    I will love really chewy chocolate chip cookies forever and always, but I’m also looking forward to lime tea cookies this year!

  10. Beth says

    I’m looking forward to making and then eating some good ole’ fashioned frosted sugar cookies. When I was a little kid my mom would let me help her in the kitchen when she made them. She’d let me choose and use the cookie cutters after she rolled out the dough, then she’d let me add the food coloring to the icing and smear ’em on the cookies. Now that I’m an adult I kind of keep the tradition alive, even though I don’t have any children. I use the same exact recipe my mom used to use and they turn out tasting exactly like hers used to.

  11. joann says

    I’m looking forward to sugar cookies with honest to goodness BUTTER!! It’s all about the butter baby! I also liked you and Tate’s on F/B. My husband and I both love your recipes.

  12. jane says

    What wouldn’t I eat? Honestly. However, besides stuff we ONLY make at Xmas (count both German lebkucken and Italian queen cookies), I really like these Nick Malgiere things called “praline cookies”. They are so rich with nuts and so addictive that I AVOID making them because I will personally eat half of them.

  13. Marikate says

    My mom is the baker in the family and every Christmas she makes dozens of different kinds of cookies. The ones I’m looking forward to the most are her Neiman Marcus cookies. They have a little bit of everything in them!

  14. Maureen says

    I love love the White Chocolate Chip Cherry cookies or I like the Chocolate Chip Eggnog Cheesecake bars.

  15. Beth says

    I look most forward to the giant ginger cookies that we’ve actually just added to our Christmas baking three years ago.

  16. says

    I’m not entering the giveaway (live in Canada) but did want to comment on how scrumptious those cupcakes look. Nice that you shared how to half the recipe successfully too.

  17. Sarah says

    My favorite are chocolate thumbprints filled with white chocolate and topped with crushed candy-canes.

  18. Ashy says

    I just can’t wait to get my hands on my aunts homemade garlic gingerbread cookies! FYI you can’t taste the garlic:-)

  19. Betty Jo says

    These aren’t technically a cookie, but I do look forward to them every year. They are the Ritz Crackers with peanut butter in the middle and then dipped in chocolate. Yum!

  20. Kathy says

    Ohhh!! Candy Cane and Snickerdoodles – nothing says more than the holiday’s that those two things. Love it.

  21. Erin R. says

    Hooray for the upcoming holiday cookie freak out! I have a recipe for some nutmeg drops I’m dying to try out, but I never get tired of frosted sugar cookies.

  22. Annie says

    I’m looking forward to krumkake! A Norwegian cookie that my grandmother taught me to make when I was just 12 years old. My favorite to make and to eat!

  23. Karen D. says

    I make a chocolate covered cherry cookie that is divine. Basically a cakey vanilla cookie, wrapped around a cherry, baked then dipped in chocolate. It’s either that or chocolate crinkle cookies. Too many cookies, can’t decide!

  24. Nette says

    Oooh – so hard to decide. Love chocolate chip, but found some sugar cookies half dipped in white chocolate and then decorated with crushed peppermint last year that were out of this world!!!! But I’m guessing I would have to lump candy in with cookies (LOL) and go with either my fudge or grandmother’s divinity (fingers crossed for some good weather though – LOL)!

  25. Claire says

    My favorite Christmas cookie isn’t really a cookie, but it’s close; I love peanut butter buckeyes!

  26. Colleen Smith says

    I liked you on fb. It’s just my hubby and I now that our sons are grown and gone so it’s great to see some ideas for 2. The cookie I look forward to is the individual nut rolls that I make every year. I got the recipe years ago from an 80 year old woman who didn’t think I would be able to make them. I proved her wrong and have made them for almost 40 years. I also love my Mom’s recipe for Vanilla Treats, a spritz cookie made with loads of butter.

  27. Becky R says

    frosted (preferably decorated) sugar cookies.
    I just “liked” your page on FB. I’m looking forward to your posts!

  28. Christi says

    I love to make and eat peacn sandies, or mexican wedding cookies but I hope to finally find and successfully make a soft sugar cookie with buttercream frosting. I am also thinking about making cinnamon roll cookies b/c my favorite food group are cinnamon rolls. :)

  29. says

    My mother always had numerous tins full of all different kinds of homemade cookies, it’s what I still look forward to each Christmas! It’s so much fun to open all the tins and nibble from a variety of family cookies! I am especially looking forward to my Mom’s chocolate chip cookies, her recipe makes a light crispy cookie that holds up to hot chocolate! I also look forward to the sugar cookies, cake brownies, good old fashioned peanut butter cookies, and what we used to call Chinese Pretzels, otherwise known as Rosettes!

  30. Hilari says

    I can’t wait for chocolate crinkle cookies!

    Second, I’m a fan of YOU and Tate’s Bake Shop on Facebook!

    Happy Baking :)

  31. says

    Those look amazing! Thanks for the comment on my blog and continue to follow my sporadic posts! I hope wedding planning is going well for you! It’s a crazy time and you’re a busy woman!

    The cookie I’m looking forward to for the holidays are my grandma’s everything bars… not sure if that is the actual name! I need to get her recipe!


  32. Rahiza says

    Personally I am a fan of a good old chocolate chip cookie (can’t go wrong with a classic) but I am also excited to have some of my cousin’s famous (among my family at least) snicker doodles as well as my BFF’s peanut butter and kiss drop cookies! Yummy holidays here I come!!! ;)

  33. twowowies says

    I love the butter cookies with pecans rolled in powdered sugar. I can’t remember what they’re called right now. They go by several different names I believe!

  34. Sarah G says

    I am looking forward to making gooey butter cookies, St. Louis is famous for it’s gooey butter cake and these taste just like it!

  35. Barbara Youngren says

    I always look forward to my Swedish Oatmeal Cookies. Super thin (the recipe calls for 1 T of flour!) but buttery and wonderful!

  36. Roberta says

    My Mom’s Oatmeal Raisin cookies…..not very exciting but no one makes a cookies like your own Mom does.

  37. avis says

    My favorite Christmas cookie is the raspberry shortbread thumbprints or my mom’s date balls.
    I am adding the bourbon balls to the cookie rotation this year because they went over so well at Thanksgiving!

  38. Brit says

    I’m looking forward to Lebkuchen, love the molasses and spices, yum! I also like you on Facebook.

  39. Angela says

    My grandma makes these cookies called sand tarts. They are very thin sugar cookies brushed with egg white and chin moon on the top, and they have an almond slice on the top :-) definitely looking forward to those!

  40. S. K. says

    I love, love, love molasses cookies, especially ginger molasses cookies. The thicker and chewier, the better! And while I normally don’t like white chocolate, there’s something special about white chocolate cranberry cookies during Christmastime… :)

  41. says

    Yum these cupcakes look so tasty and so do all the treats in the giveaway! I’m most looking forward to eating the coconut button shortbread cookies my mom makes for Christmas.

  42. Chrissy says

    I look forward to Amsh sugar cookies with glaze and colored sugar. As if the cookies aren’t yummy enough already…

  43. Laura says

    It’s such a hard decision! I think my favorite it my grandmother’s sugar cookies. They are soooo good–everyone I make them for always wants the recipe!

  44. says

    The Tate’s Bakeshop cookbook is definitely one of my favorites! Haven’t tried this recipe out though, so I’m excited! I’m definitely looking forward to peppermint bark (I know, technically not a cookie, but it’s my favorite holiday treat!) this season!

  45. Lin says

    How I love this season, so many cookies to eat!! But I’m definitely most looking forward to eating gingersnap cookies studded with cranberries and walnuts with a nice cup of coffee.

  46. karen says

  47. Susan says

    I’m eager to try browned butter snickerdoodles, a new recipe to me! But I’m also eager to taste my raspberry walnut bars…since I only make them during the holidays!! They are an oldie, but a goodie!

  48. says

    Now that’s a hard one! If I’m cooking for myself, cranberry oatmeal white chocolate chip cookies. If I’m at my mom’s house, she makes these amazing Swedish (I think) cookies that are actually a layer or graham crackers, this amazing batter-type stuff with apricot jam in it, then another layer of graham crackers. The batter stuff just soaks into the graham crackers and then you chill them and oh my goodness! That reminds me, I need to get the recipe from my mom…

  49. Christine says

    I have a recipe for pistachio cherry cookies that I am super excited to make and eat : ) Happy holiday all….