June 5, 2010

Black-Bottom Cupcakes

Another school year is finished, my second year teaching at this high school. It was a pretty good year overall, much better than last year.  The English department piloted a new skills-based, high-interest literature curriculum.  My College English class really liked my food unit (we watched Food Inc. & learned about local, organic eating). The school's top seniors nominated me for Silver Medallion Teacher of the Year.  The valedictorian asked me to be in her "Teacher's Pet" picture for the yearbook, and she mentioned me in her graduation speech.  I bonded with my co-workers.  I stayed organized enough not to have to bring work home regularly.

When I woke up graduation morning, I discovered that my car had been covered in Post-It Notes.

Actually, I saw it the night before. When Jerad got home around 2am, he woke me up. "You've been punked," he said. At first, I was kind of pissed off. But, then I realized that my car wasn't damaged. "Look," Jerad pointed out, "they left your windows clear & wrote nice messages. These are students who obviously like you." Good point, I thought.

I suspected a few of the girls in my Advanced Studies class as the Post-It bandits, but some things didn't add up. For example, there was a note on the driver's side window that said "Have a nice day at work, pumpkin." Pumpkin? I didn't think any students would call me that. Plus, I had the bedroom window open that night and didn't hear a thing outside. For a few moments, I thought that maybe a couple of the other teachers had been the culprits.  It had, after all, been a VERY stressful and depressive week for me, and I thought maybe they were trying to cheer me up.

I cleaned off my car the next morning before going to work. When I got to school, I saw those girls from AS and greeted them with "Good morning, pumpkin!" Their nervous giggles gave them away. Later, one of them came to my room and asked if I was mad. "No," I said. "I was more impressed than mad." If only ALL my students would put that amount of effort into their school work! ;-) Plus, I'll admit that I was actually flattered. They also forked my co-teacher's yard that night (He and I were mentioned as the valedictorian's favorite teachers in her graduation speech that night).

So, THANKS to Tori, Emily, & Megan for making me feel like I'm doing a good job and for making the past two years fun in Advanced Studies. I am really going to miss you girls!

Anyway, I'm actually looking forward to next year; I already have some fun & exciting things planned.

Because I'd had such a good year & because I really liked my students this year (those seniors worked REALLY hard), I made some treats for the seniors their last week.  A combination of chocolate cake and cheesecake, these cupcakes are not very sweet (it's more of an "adult" kind of dessert) and do not need to be frosted.  The students liked them, and a couple even asked me for the recipe!

Black-Bottom Cupcakes
slightly adapted from  
The Great Book of Chocolate by David Lebovitz

makes 12 cupcakes

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, regular or reduced fat, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (optional)

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the filling:
  • Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, & egg until smooth. Stir in the chopped chocolate pieces, if using. Set aside.
Make the cupcakes:
  • Adjust the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter a 12-cup muffin tin or line the tin with paper muffin cups.
  • In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, & salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the water, oil, vinegar, & vanilla.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring until just smooth. Stir any longer and you will over mix the batter and end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.
  • Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Spoon a couple tablespoons of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed. 


    Alisa-Foodista said...

    What a wonderful post Kelly. Made me miss my highschool days.I'd love to try these cupcakes.They look delicious.

    Stef said...

    Great story! You've got some lucky students! (And it's not just because of the awesome cupcakes you made them.)

    freerangegirl said...

    Your students sound amazing. Im dying to try these cupcakes at the weekend. Im in the UK and the cupcake phenomenon is just getting into its stride here.

    freerangegirl said...

    Your students sound amazing. I love the cupcakes too, I'm in the UK and the cupcake phenomenon is just getting big here so I cant wait to try these out - thanks

    Unknown said...

    Oh just just the sweetest thing! It's always nice to know that you are appreciated