Brooklyn Blackout Cupcakes

for the dark chocolate pudding filling:
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 oz 73% dark chocolate bar, finely chopped
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon Dutch process cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

for the cupcakes:
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup cocoa
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla paste


For the pudding filling:
Note: Make the pudding first because although it takes less than 5 minutes to make, it needs time to chill. If you can, make it the day before you plan to bake.

Place all of the pudding ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until mixture comes to a boil and begins to thicken, about 3 minutes. If it seems lumpy, strain before pouring it into a bowl. Refrigerate covered, until throughly chilled.

For the cupcake:

Preheat oven to 350. Line or grease 12 wells in a cupcake pan. Mix cocoa with boiling water in small bowl, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool. Cream together butter, vanilla paste and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add the hydrated cocoa, mixing thoroughly. In another bowl, whisk together remaining dry ingredients. In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine the milk and sour cream. Add the flour mixture and the milk/sour cream mixture alternating between the two, thoroughly mixing between each addition. Fill the wells about 2/3 of the way.

If you really scrape the bowl, you might be able to eke out one or two extra cupcakes. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely.

For the frosting:
Beat together all of the ingredients of the frosting until smooth.

Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool. Set aside one cupcake. Give the pudding a good stir so it isn’t so solid it won’t easily pipe. Fill using filling/decorating tools or by removing a small amount of cupcake from the center (using a small corer works well) and carefully spooning in some pudding. I used the tools that came with this and decorating equipment from cupcake kit.

If you’ve never filled a cupcake before, you might want to check out this guide to filling cupcakes that I wrote for Bakespace. Ice with a fairly modest amount of frosting on each cupcake. Smooth the icing so there is a bit of a flat top. Crumple the leftover cupcake to make crumbs.

Sprinkle the the crumbs over the iced cupcakes. Voilà!

Yield: about a dozen cupcakes

Note: You will probably end up with at least some pudding leftover. I really couldn’t scale the recipe down any further than I did.

My thoughts:

Today is our fourth anniversary. We debated about staying home and making something special but the lure of neither of us having to cook was strong so we struck a compromise, we’d go out to dinner but I’d make dessert. I decided to go ahead with a cupcake idea I’ve had for years.

Brooklyn Blackout Cake is a NYC classic originally hailing from long defunct Ebinger’s Bakery. It consists of 3 layers of dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate pudding between the layers, topped with chocolate icing and sprinkled with chocolate cake crumbs. This cupcake version is inspired by both the original cake and the Brooklyn Blackout Cupcakes we used to get at Two Little Red Hens in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The owners of the bakery have since parted ways and the location we once dined at is now called the Ladybird Bakery. I haven’t been there since the schism so I can’t say for sure that the Brooklyn Blackout is the same or still on the menu.

Anyway, since we live in Baltimore and can’t pop out for a Brooklyn Blackout cake or cupcake as they are virtually unknown locally, I set out to reproduce it in my own kitchen. Taking inspiration from the bakery examples I’ve had, I created recipes for a dark chocolate pudding-like filling, a moist sour cream/devil’s food cake and a glossy chocolate frosting. Of course I have no idea what the original Ebinger’s or Two Little Red Hens’ recipes are but I think I did a pretty good job. Unlike bakery (cup)cakes these aren’t over the top in size but they make up for it in flavor.

You need to be a true chocolate lover to truly enjoy the Brooklyn Blackout. All of the individual parts of the cupcake are a rich, moist, dark chocolate. Perfect for a special occasion but easy enough for everyday.


  1. Love the idea of crumbling a cupcake to top other cupcakes. Haven’t seen that before!

  2. Sandra Le Petrin

    yes, you did a pretty good job! i’m sure they taste as good as they look!
    Happy anniversary!

  3. Fabulous looking cupcakes! you did a great job on these. Happy Anniversary!

  4. First, happy anniversary! Mine was yesterday. 🙂

    Those cupcakes look fantastic! I love chocolate so those are right up my alley!

  5. Happy Anniversary! The cupcakes look amazing, what a fun way to celebrate!

  6. OHHH Yum.

  7. Rachel, after seeing this recipe, THIS chocoholic feels like he died and went to heaven.

    Casual Kitchen

  8. I say there’s room for the cupcake and the appetizer!! Happy anniversary!!

  9. Congratulations and happy anniversary! The cupcakes looks awesome – hope you guys have a great night out.

  10. The Food Librarian

    Happy Anniversary! What a wonderful cupcake to celebrate. It looks delicious!

  11. Happy anniversary! These look amazing. I have never heard of brooklyn blackout before (maybe b/c I’m from the south), but I’ll be making them STAT!

  12. Happy Anniversary! Those cupcakes look delicious! And I love the name!

  13. I’d have one for breakfast and then another for lunch! They look fantastic!!!

    Happy Anniversary!

  14. Beautiful cupcakes for a wonderful occasion. Really love that deep chocolate flavor.

  15. This looks so fabulous! I love rich chocolate desserts and this looks like a great one!

  16. Rosa's Yummy Yums

    What lovely cupcakes! Very tempting and delicious looking!



  17. Wow, these cupcakes look amazing! The crumb topping…so innovative! Whoever said the cupcake market has been saturated has another thing coming.

    Happy anniversary!

  18. Wah!! Yummy!!

  19. Woah – they look so tasty

  20. How To Eat A Cupcake

    Mmmm looks so chocolatey and delicious!! 😀

  21. I’ve never had blackout cake, let alone cupcake before. It looks so tasty! Happy belated anniversary! 🙂

  22. I’ve lived in brooklyn for the past few years and didn’t know it had its own cake. I’ll have to make this for myself soon because although I’m not a fan of dark chocolate I love the way it tastes in cake.

  23. Do you have to refridgerate the leftover cupcakes because of the pudding and sour cream? They look fantastic and I definitely want to make them soon. Thanks!

  24. Betsy-
    They were fine sitting out for a few days. They taste best the day they are made though.

  25. Just found your blog. Oh, joy! Oh, rapture! This recipe may do me in…but, I thank you.

  26. Ok, the name of these is cupcakes is great, but more importantly I love the pile of crumbs that look like a mess of frizzy hair. SO cute!

  27. The Brooklyn Blackout was still on the menu at Ladybird when I moved from Park Slope in Aug 2010. One year my husband got it for me in cake form for my birthday. Last time my husband went to Manhattan for business he took a special trip to Brooklyn to buy one and bring it back on the plane.

    Best.cupcake.ever. I'll have to ask him to make me these for my birthday this year!

  28. hannah@Bake Five

    these look seriously good!