I did some super secret daring baking this weekend, but I can't do the big reveal until later in the month. I'm not too disappointed, though, because I have a stack of past baking endeavors just waiting for their internet debut. Like Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Cupcakes, for example.
These cupcakes -- which are also floating around the internet as Black Bottom Cupcakes -- remind me of the chocolate cake cookies Mike and I used to buy from the local grocery store and scarf down shamelessly. They had a cream cheese filling and when you heated them for a few seconds in the microwave, they were exquisite. In fact, I was secretly excited when Mike started eating less sugar, because that meant more cheesecake cookies for me! Oh sure, I would offer him some -- but what a relief when he refused! Mike's sugar abstinence aside, I knew I had to make these Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Cupcakes when I saw them. They were pure genius: moist chocolate cake AND creamy cheesecake combined in one cute cupcake! I was sure that even Mike with all his willpower wouldn't be able to resist. I eagerly awaited the perfect occasion to make a batch.
I have a confession we may as well get out of the way: I'm a bit hokey. I like Scrabble. Mike and I are watching our way through Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I collect Nancy Drew books even though I'm over 10 years old. I own and love those turtle plates above. And I adore theme dinners! You know, you pick a theme ingredient or idea and create dishes to match. I finally got my chance to make the cupcakes as part of one of these very dinners. The theme was "stuffed," so we dined on my semi-homemade Taco Stuffed Crescent Rolls (one of Mike's favorites), a pan of hearty stuffed portobello mushrooms, and last but not least, the Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Cupcakes.
"Stuffed" Dinner -- after which we were stuffed!
Never content to leave delicious enough alone, I decided to make a smooth ganache to drizzle over each cupcake, adding some goo factor. What's chocolate without some gooeyness? It turned out to be an exceptional addition to an already exceptional cupcake.
Some ganache for good measure.
In addition to being delightful, these cupcakes are also extremely simple to whip up. It's one of those great recipes where the taste far outweighs the effort. I hope you'll give it a try and let me know what you think.
Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Cupcakes with Ganache
Yields: 12 cupcakes
Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1 cup (210 grams) light brown sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240 ml) water
1/3 cup (80 ml) unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Ganache Ingredients (optional):
8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
1 tablespoons cognac or brandy (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, or generously butter or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.
Cream Cheese Filling: In your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until creamy and smooth. Set aside while you make the Chocolate Cupcake batter.
Chocolate Cupcakes: In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl mix the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients until nice and smooth. Evenly divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups (resist the urge to overfill -- remember that the cream cheese filling needs some space too). Spoon a few tablespoons of the cream cheese filling into the center of each cupcake.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the cream cheese filling is a little brown and the cupcakes feel springy to the touch (a toothpick inserted into the chocolate part of the cupcake will come out clean). Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur. Makes enough ganache to cover a 9 inch (23 cm) cake or torte.
These cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days.
Ready to bake!