Born to Bake: Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Posted by Grace Harman

I love cupcakes. To me, they're the perfect treat. I mean, really, how can you go wrong with a portable cake? Especially one wrapped in pretty paper?

I happen to be a huge fan of the tacky decorative muffin tins. The only problem I've come across is that after a little while making basic cupcakes, the task just gets boring.

Chocolate, vanilla, yawn! To liven things up, I decided to embark on a cupcake adventure and try out some new recipes and techniques.

While in many cases such a baking endeavor would lead me to stick random treats into my batter (not that anyone complained when a Reese's wound up in my chocoholic cupcake), I wanted to try something a little more complex and I ended up baking cake into cake. Sounds crazy, I know, but hear me out...

Cheesecake! It's creamy, tangy and tasty, particularly when mixed with chocolate. There are few things as yummy as a chocolate cheesecake cupcake. I'm talking about a decadent chocolate cake swirled with cheesecake filling and topped with vanilla chocolate chip buttercream frosting.

Now, since baking is my pride and joy, I went ahead and made my own frosting. But if you prefer a less time-consuming and messy task, feel free to grab a can of good old Duncan Hines vanilla frosting and throw in some chopped up chocolate chips.

A serious warning about this recipe: you WILL be tempted to eat all the batter and filling raw. I know it is oh-so-tempting (everyone knows that cake batter is secretly ambrosia), but seriously, these cupcakes are amazing cooked, so settle for licking the spoon.

For the record, this recipe makes 12 cupcakes, but I would advise doubling it, or you may find yourself with a group of disgruntled friends who missed out on tasting this divine treat.

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Ingredients
 ? 1 cup all-purpose flour
 ? ? cup unsweetened cocoa powder
 ? 1 teaspoon baking powder
 ? ? teaspoon salt
 ? 6 tablespoons butter, softened
 ? ? cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
 ? 1 egg, at room temperature
 ? ? cup milk, at room temperature
 ? 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
 ? 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 ? 2 tablespoons mini semisweet chocolate chips (regular ones work too, the filling is just a little chunkier)

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350?F and line 12 muffin cups with cupcake papers.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. If sifting isn't an option, use a whisk to mix     the dry ingredients together--this will help break up any big clumps.
3. Using a mixer, cream the butter and ? cup of sugar until they are pale yellow, about 1 minute.
4. Add the egg and mix together.
5. Gently add half of the flour mixture into the sugar/butter/eggs and stir until just incorporated.
6. Mix in the milk.
7. Add the remaining dry mixture and stir until everything is combined. Set the batter to the side.
8. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and the vanilla. A wooden spoon works best here. Use it to sort of mash together the ingredients until they become soft enough to stir.
9. Mix in the chocolate chips.
10. Fill each cupcake paper with enough chocolate batter to just cover the bottom.
11. Add a dollop of the cream cheese filling to each.
12. Cover the filling with the remaining chocolate batter.
13. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cupcakes stand in the pan for 3 minutes and then remove and allow them to cool completely on a rack.

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