It is seriously beyond me how I have never made these before. Especially considering they’re a hybrid of my two favorite sweets – chocolate and cheesecake, and honestly there’s really no way anything made of chocolate and cheesecake can be anything but spectacular. These cupcakes are no exception, as they take a super moist and intensely chocolate devil’s food cake and drop a cheesecake filling with chunks of bittersweet chocolate right in the middle. These rank way up there on the ladder of favorite things I have ever made. I was sitting outside for a bit while these were in the oven and when I came back into the house it smelled like I could lick chocolate off the walls – the aroma wafting from the oven completely permeated the house. Mmmm…
Good news for the legions of you that love your KA but love even more when you don’t need to get it dirty (*wink wink*) – this recipe does not require a mixer, only a few mixing bowls. I was a little hesitant about filling these cups the whole way full, but forged ahead anyway, and didn’t encounter any problems. I used a large cookie scoop to filling in the chocolate, and then a small cookie scoop to add the cheesecake filling to the middle. I wish I could have done a better job at keeping the filling in the middle, but hey, they taste amazing, so I can live with it! I was a bit skeptical about the notion of naked cupcakes, but after tasting these, I’m confident there’s no need for frosting of any kind. The chocolate is so rich and moist, and paired with the cheesecake, these are phenomenal all on their own.
While the recipe states that these can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container, I always feel better refrigerating anything with cream cheese in it. Plus, I tasted one of these fresh from the oven and then after they cooled, I popped them in the fridge and tried another after awhile, and I think they are just as good from the fridge.
An added bonus: I get to cross these off of my Top 100 list!
For the Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
For the Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons naturally unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. To make the Filling: Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in chopped chocolate pieces. Set aside.
2. To make the Cupcakes: Adjust the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line the tin with paper muffin cups.
3. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring just until smooth. Stir any longer and you will over mix the batter and end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.
5. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Spoon a few tablespoons of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely, which is fine.
6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed. These moist treats will keep unrefrigerated for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.