There's something about cupcakes that I really love. I think it's that they're so easy to eat. They're also cute, as compared to a layer cake which tends to be more elegant. I'm a bit lazy though when it comes to frosting cupcakes. That's one reason I thought I would love this cupcake recipe. No frosting required. Even better, the cupcakes combine chocolate and cheesecake and who doesn't like that?
The recipe does require some sifting and honestly, this was the trickiest part of these cupcakes for me. I've never tried to sift brown sugar before and it proved fairly difficult. I'd be curious to hear about others' experiences with sifting brown sugar. I'd also read that some people had trouble dolloping the cheesecake filling into the center of each cupcake. I thought the easiest way to do it would be to use a pastry bag so I stuck the filling into a Ziploc bag and piped it onto the cupcakes. That method worked well for me and I'd definitely use it again in the future.
I had high expectations for these cupcakes and they did not disappoint. I tried one before giving away the rest and boy am I glad I didn't have these sitting around the house to tempt me. They are fabulous! That sentiment was echoed by others who tried them as well. In fact, if I had more cream cheese in my fridge I'd be tempted to make them again this weekend!
from The Great Book of Chocolate, by David Lebovitz (as seen on Smitten Kitchen)
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
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 vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the filling: Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the chopped chocolate pieces with a rubber spatula. Set aside.
To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl or a measuring cup, mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring until just smooth. Do not over mix the batter or you will end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.
Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Spoon a few tablespoons of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. Alternatively, you can put the filling in a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped and pipe the filling onto the center of each cupcake. This will fill the cups almost completely, which is fine.
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 well unrefrigerated for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.
Makes 12 cupcakes.