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
  temperature

1/2 tsp raspberry extract

Directions:

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!

Riley

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#CoffeeTalk

“It’s One Of My Theories That When People Give You Advice They’re Just Talking To Themselves In The Past.” ~ Mark Epstein

Let’s Catch Up…

I saw you a couple of weeks ago but was too shy to say anything to you.

I understand. I’m shy too, but next time just come say hi.

I need a new wardrobe. Please tell me your favorite places to shop?

I need a new wardrobe too! I threw away 90% of my wardrobe today. I usually go to Revolve, Nordstrom or Niemans.

Your hair is growing so quickly! Can you tell me what hair care products you use? Are you using some kind of hair growth vitamins?

I’m not using any hair growth vitamins. I do wash my hair every week with Redken products, and Kenra products.

What camera do you take your photos with?

I use my Nikon, or my Samsung S7, but since I dropped that phone, I’ve been using my new iPhone. I have two phone lines so whatever phone is charged that day, is the phone I use.

My daughter is 11, and she is 5’5. Where do you find age-appropriate clothes?

I understand how you feel 100% My girl is 12 and she’s 5’8. I’m just like what the heck??? She’s hella tall! I’ve found her jeans at American Eagle, Gap, and Nordstrom.

I put a lot of thought into asking you this question because I know it’s kind of personal, but I’ll see if you respond…  You responded to a question a long time ago and mentioned you were on the IUD. Mind sharing which one?

I was using Mirena, but I’m no longer on birth control. I had it for 10 years and it was great. I highly recommend it.

What’s the red lipstick you always wear?

Ruby Woo by M.A.C.

I’m getting a little frustrated with all the “men” I’m meeting nowadays. They seem great at first but then turn into fboys and ghost! What’s the best way to get over these guys? What’s the best spot/way to meet a great guy?

I keep hearing terrible stories about men!!! I’m sorry to hear you’re going through all of that. I have male friends complaining about the same thing with women. When I was dating everyone was saved in my phone as free food. I didn’t take anyone serious, and I wasn’t looking for serious. I’m all about letting things flow and whatever happens, happens. I’ve never been ghosted so I can’t really give advice on that.

I loved your book recommendations. Will you start a book club?

Ha! Girl, please! I don’t have time. I wish I did though.

Hi Riley. I’m trying to decide between visiting San Antonio or Austin. What are your thoughts?

I would definitely go to Austin. I love Austin. San Antonio is too slow for me. I’m definitely a city girl who needs action.

I have so many questions to get caught up on, but I’ll be answering them.

If you have any questions drop me a comment.

Have A Great Superbowl Sunday!!

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!

 

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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!

Riley

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Coffee Talk

Let’s Pour This Coffee & Chat…

I’ve gotten my Masters degree in the HR, but I have no experience. I don’t want to start at entry-level, but it seems that with my lack of experience that is my only option. I’ve been wondering if you have any suggestion for climbing the HR ladder?

You have everything needed on paper to grab the attention needed to get you in the door. However, lack of experience is something you definitely want to acquire. I’m learning that most companies are now more interested in people who have that experience, and it’s been making up for having a degree. Not to say a degree is not needed. It’s just that now I’m noticing that the degree is the added bonus. I say start entry-level to gain that experience needed and maybe find a mentor. Stay up to date with HR regulations and policies as they are ever evolving. Network. There is always an HR Mixer going on here in Houston. That can be another great way for you to get your foot in the door and take advantage of amazing opportunities.

I have recently broke up with my boyfriend. He was a little abusive mentally, a cheater and everything bad in between. I stayed because I was used to him only, he was a great provider, and contrary to all the bad it was mostly good. When it finally ended, he ended things because he wanted to see what was out there. Truth is I’ve been so happy since the breakup. However he feels he made a mistake and wants me back. He won’t leave me alone. He keeps calling, emailing, anything he can do to reach me. Since I’ve refused to take him back he says things like I’ll never find better, or no one will love me more. I slipped up and had a little meeting with him, but I don’t know what I should do. My friends said I should block him and move on. When it was time to move on with your life how did you handle removing them from your life? Was it the best move to open the doors to meet new people? I feel like if I don’t close the door, then he’ll always be there…

G I R L ! Drop and Block him! My last relationship was like that. It was very dysfunctional. When it was time to end things, it was hard for me at first. Even with all the wrong that happens, you still go through the pain of losing someone you’ve been with. Like your ex, he too tried to come back, and he keeps trying to come back. I changed my number, deleted my email address, and my social media. When I finally started to come around social wise, the first hint of him, he got blocked. When leaving a relationship, they say the best way to move on is find something new, but I don’t think so. I think that’s the time for you to really look at what you want, and to heal from your situation. When you least expect it the right person will come along.

What were your most dependable workout shoes this year? I’m planning to jump back into a workout routine January 1st and need some good options! Also, what do your workout’s consist of?

You’re asking the wrong person this question. My trainer says I need velcro toddler shoes because my laces are always coming untied. I haven’t been working out, but my diet is completely changing in the upcoming year. It’s so hard to work out with all the holidays and eat right with all the food. My workout usually consists of jump rope, tons of weight squats and anything he feels like killing me with that day. I may try to do a video showing how my workouts work.

I really loved your relationship Q&A. I also loved how direct, open and honest you were with a side of funny. Considering what you are going through it has to be really hard, and it’s admirable that you continue to maintain your relationship and continue to grow. Claps Hands For You! Are you going to touch more on the relationship topic in the future? I think we’d all be interested to hear what you have to say.

Thank you! I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from that post. People that know me and see my relationship would have never imagined that we were dealing with that, and everyone has offered their support to not only me, but my guy as well. I can truly say that we have an amazing group of friends, family, and my readers are just as amazing. I have been thinking about touching more on this topic, but it’s something that would happen some time next year if it does.

Will you be posting more recipes in the future? Each one I’ve tried has come out so good. Where did you learn to cook?

I’m so glad to hear that!! I will be posting more recipes, but it’ll probably be clean eating. My body is tired of alcohol, heavy food, and junk food.

Hi Riley. I recently came across your blog as I was stalking Perez Hilton and saw that he liked and followed. LOL (i’m not crazy). It eventually led me to reading every single post on your blog and scrolling through your instagram. I saw that you gave one of your commenters the finger and I decided you’re someone I can get with! I was thinking of starting a blog, but I’m a little afraid of the criticism or not getting the support. Any Advice?

LOL!!! I was so shocked when that happened!!! I woke my guy up out of his S L E E P ! ! !  I usually don’t just give people the finger. It’s usually a friend of mine. Other people I ignore. My guy is probably my biggest supporter next to my mom. Don’t get me wrong everyone around me is so supportive, but he and my mom are the biggest. Some advice they always tell me is that people will always have something to say or criticize, but at least you tried. Everyone isn’t brave enough to go after their dream.

I’m in Houston and I was looking into attending something fun for the new year. Is there anywhere particular you’ll be?

I will particularly be at home. We’re having a small New Year’s thing at home. We’re going to cook, light some cigars, and toast to 2018.

I’ve noticed that you’ve taken a few quick getaways, but you haven’t posted about it on the blog. I’m dying to know where you’ve been and where you’re going in 2018!

I’ve been meaning to post so many things on here, and I just did not have the time. I’m going to do so much better next year. We have a few trips coming up that I’m so excited about, so stay tuned to that.

I love your style. You never disappoint!!! What is your inspiration, and have you thought about starting a line of your own?

Thank you! My style has evolved so much from when I was younger, but I think that goes for everyone. I wouldn’t say that I had inspiration exactly. I just know what I want to look like in my head, and I look for the pieces that makes my vision sort of come alive if that makes sense. I don’t know if I’ll be starting a line, but that is something to be considered.

Hello! I was a reader even back when you were Blogging Over Wine. I liked that you incorporated your favorite books. It was always my favorite part and something I looked forward to. Have you thought about bringing it back?

I absolutely have!!! There’s some great books that I’m going to be sharing very soon!!!

That’s all the questions I have time for today. Don’t forget that I’m giving away $1,000 to Nordstrom. So don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on Instagram @Ralijah. You have until January 2nd.

Riley#