Black Bottom Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling

“Don’t Think That Chocolate Is A Substitute For Love! Love Is A Substitute For Chocolate.” ~ Miranda Ingram

But with this recipe, you can have a little bit of both…

Let’s Blog Over Chocolate!

I know it’s Tuesday and all, but let’s just pretend it’s Friday. Yesterday I went to Target to get a thermometer for Aven’s science project, and as soon as I walked in I was immediately distracted by all the hearts, flowers and pink. Target was giving me a friendly reminder that love was in the air, and that I should probably be preparing for Valentine’s day.

Every year for the past 9 years I have had a date with Skylar & Aven for Valentine’s Day. I know… Cute right? I always bought bears, candy, make a nice breakfast, we have a picnic for lunch, and for dinner, we always mix it up. However, we have always, A L W A Y S ended the day with a cupcake! They’re a little older now, so the gift exchange doesn’t consist of teddy bears, and little carnations, but the Black Bottom Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese Filling and topping is a favorite tradition of ours that I’m so happy I can say remain the same.

The cupcake itself is perfect for chocolate loves, moist with a full flavor. The filling is a sweet surprise that blends perfectly with the cupcake itself. Sometimes I add a light and fluffy icing on top just to give it that extra yumminess everyone loves.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

2 1/4 cups cold water

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

5 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For The Filling:

1 egg, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room

1/2 tsp raspberry extract


Preheat the oven to 350. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.

To make the filling- In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the egg, sugar and cream cheese, and extract on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Prop up a pastry bag in a sturdy glass or mug with the bags wide opening at the top. Fold the top of the pastry bag down over the glass. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the filling mixture into the pastry bag. Set the filled pastry bag aside.

Mix the liquids- In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the water, oil, vanilla and balsamic vinegar. You don’t have to stir these. Just put them together in the cup. Set aside.

To Make the batter-In a large bowl, using a whisk, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt until evenly blended. Slowly pour the water mixture into the flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth.

Pour in the batter- The cupcake batter will be quite runny. If your bowl has a spout, you can pour the batter directly into the muffin cups. Otherwise, it will be easiest to pour the batter into the liquid measuring cup and use it to fill the cups. Fill each lined muffin cup three-fourths full. Do not fill them any fuller than that or there will not be anywhere for the filling to go when the batter rises!

Add the filling- Pick up the pastry bag. Plugging the tip with one hand, twist the top of the bag to close it. Using one hand to guide the tip and the other to squeeze the top of the bag, insert the tip into the center of one of the cupcakes. Gently squeeze a small amount of the cream cheese filling into the batter. You will see the chocolate batter rise as the filling fills the middle.

Keeping in mind that you need to fill 24 cupcakes, squeeze a small amount into each one or just make more.

Bake the cupcakes-Sprinkle the top of each cupcake with the chocolate chips.

Put the muffin pans in the oven and bake until a thin skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean so about 26 to 28 minutes.

Put them on the cooling racks. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then lift out the cupcakes and put them directly on the racks. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Top them off with frosting if you’d like!




January Reads in 2018

“A Reader Lives A Thousand Lives Before He Dies, said Jojen. The Man Who Never Reads Lives Only One.” ~George R.R. Martin

Let’s Blog Over Books We Need To Read In 2018…

Happy Sunday! There’s not much going on around here except a lot of reading.

My Dad saw me reading a book not too long ago, and he said: “If you ever disappeared I know I’d find you either on a beach or under a tree, and N E V E R without a book!” Growing up I was always that kid who had a book with them at all times. I see kids today who are completely tech savvy, but I never really see them reading which baffles me because I would completely lose myself within the pages of a book and be brought to a whole new world filled with adventures.  I’m such an advocate for reading. Reading is something that will expand the way you think, take you places your feet never would’ve and teach you things you would’ve otherwise gone without knowing. There’s so much to be discovered between the pages of a good book, so I’m starting 2018 sharing some of my favorite books with you all.

Here are some books that I am currently reading, planning on reading, or re-reading because I love them S O much!

Eat. Pray. Love. – Elizabeth Gilbert

This has been one of my favorite books for many years. It has aided me in me in my own self-discovery and is such an inspiration. It will show you spiritual truths through the author’s personal journey. This is an uplifting story of a woman who puts hectic life on hold and allows herself to heal after a difficult divorce. She takes care of herself physically first, immersing herself in the beautiful scenery and lots of comfort food, renews herself spiritually, and then, when she does not expect it, finds love.

Dear Ijeawele – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

By the lady who wrote “Americanah,” and who Beyonce thinks is flawless. She’s got tips on how to raise the next generation to be gender equal. Chimamanda makes us realize the subtle (and overt) ways that women are treated unequally to men by almost everyone in our society.

Crazy Rich Asians Series – Kevin Kwan

This book is part one in a series about some V E R Y crazy, rich Asians.  This the book was hilarious, captivating, with a tiny touch of suspense. A great, witty satire written from an Asian perspective. I actually learned quite a lot of cultural items, and I could not put it down, to say the least. I am starting the second book in the series this week!

Stay With Me – Ayobami Adebayo

Imagine being married for four years. And because you haven’t had a child, your husband’s family has him secretly take a second wife. That’s just the first few pages of the book. The rest is better.

The Woman In The Window -A.J. Finn

Twisty and powerful, ingenious and moving. A smart, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense that recalls the best of Hitchcock.

Milk and Honey- Rupi  Kuar

Rupi Kuar is hands down fascinating. This is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.

These are my January Reading picks. I have so much more on my reading list that I’ll be sharing for February. What are you reading in 2018? Let me know. I’d love to check them out!



Welcoming 2018

Let’s Blog Over What 2017 Taught Me…

We learn from each passing day and each passing year. 2017 has given a whirlwind of emotions……from good to bad and bad to worst. A lot has changed and many lessons learned.

I’ve learned that thing don’t always turn out the way you planned or the way you think they should. And I’ve learned that there are things that go wrong that don’t always get fixed or get put back together the way they were before. I’ve learned that some broken things stay broken, and I’ve learned that you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones, as long as you have people who love you.

Most beautiful lessons are learned in hard times. No regrets or grievance, only gratitude in my heart as I move into 2018.

Goodbye 2017. May the new moon of the new year brings good fortune, and great luck for all of us. It better because I made some chicken, black-eyed peas, greens, mac & cheese, rice, cornbread, gumbo and a peach cobbler. Either way I’m going into 2018 exactly how I’m leaving 2017- which is in L O V E, happy, smiling, and surrounded by the ones I love most!

Happy New Year To Everyone.

Hello 2018!



After Christmas Sales

Let’s Blog Over SALES, SALES, SALES!!!

There are T O N S of After Christmas Sales going down right now so here is a quick post for you girls sharing all of my favorites!

American Eagle 

$40 off $150+ | $25 off $100+ | $10 off $50+ with code: MERRY

Ann Taylor

40% off with code SHOP40 + up to 70% off all sale items


up to 50% off

Banana Republic

60% off everything


50% off entire purchase

J. Crew

Take 30% off final sale items with code CHEERS


Select styles are up to 50% off + FREE shipping


20% off sale styles


25% off all sale items with code JOY25


Don’t forget that I’m giving away $1,000 to Nordstorm!!! Make sure you follow me on Instagram and Subscribe to the blog. For more details, see my post about it here.


Good Luck!!!





Surprise, Surprise!! | $1000 Nordstrom Giveaway

“I Like My Money Where I Can See It. Hanging In My Closet.” ~ Carrie Bradshaw


Let’s Blog Over This $1000 Nordstrom Giveaway…

I hope everyone had the B E S T Christmas! We did! Now that it’s over, and 2018 is near, I wanted to give one of my readers a gift. Does New Year, New You ring a bell? I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers to bring you all the chance to win $1000 to Nordstrom to ring in the New Year! Exciting Right? This giveaway is open internationally and runs from 12/26 until 1/02! All you have you have to do to enter is complete as many entries in the rafflecopter widget below (bonus points if you complete all of them!). So make sure to follow me on Instagram @Ralijah & subscribe to the blog!

Good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway