These cupcakes are THE perfect special occasion treat!
The decadent chocolate cupcake holds a surprise inside that adults and kids alike can’t get enough of.
I’m hardly a food blogger, but there’s something about Valentine’s Day that brings out the chocolate lover in me. I just couldn’t let this month go by without sharing my (and my family’s) very favorite cupcake recipe of all time!
I think every family has their handful of favorite dessert recipes that are made over and over again, and requested for every kind of special occasion. These cream cheese cupcakes were the quintessential birthday treat of my childhood: chocolatey and rich with a gooey surprise center. In all honesty, I’m not much of a cake fan, but these are the best!
I made them for Luke for the first time years ago on his birthday and he was an instant fan. He still requests them once or twice each year and if I’m out of new baking ideas for his birthday or Father’s Day, I usually default to these.
I’ve changed the recipe a bit from what I grew up with: I make my cake batter from scratch instead of a boxed mix, and I love using mini chocolate chips in the filling now. You can still use regular chocolate chips if that’s all you have, you’ll just end up with a few big dollops of melted chocolate in the center, instead of lots of little spots. Just a matter of preference!
Depending on how full you fill your cupcake tins, you may or may not have leftover cream cheese filling. It takes a few tries to get it to end up perfectly proportioned without running out, but if you divide it up between the pans before dolloping it on, you can do a pretty good job of distributing it just right.
I also love to sprinkle powdered sugar on the top so that they look a little fancier than a plain chocolate cupcake. In my opinion, the cream cheese filling makes them too rich to add frosting but nobody wants to take a bite of a plain ol’ cupcake. You could add a little cream to the top to make it look pretty and perhaps add a slice of a strawberry too. Sometimes I’ll make a heart cutout of parchment paper and sift powdered sugar over it for a pretty design (like these little cakes).
Make them for your next birthday party and watch them disappear in 5 seconds flat!
NOTES: If your buttermilk is cold, add it after briefly mixing the rest of the wet ingredients into the dry. This is to prevent the cold buttermilk from making the coconut oil harden into clumps. If you first let your buttermilk come to room temperature, you can add all your wet ingredients at once.
I like to use my large ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake tins with cake batter and then my small cookie scoop to add a dollop of the cream cheese filling to the center.
Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Filled Cupcakes
1 ¼ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 ¼ cups warm water
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
8 ounce box cream cheese, room temperature
1 large egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners or spray liberally with baking spray.
Mix dry ingredients for cake batter together, sifting cocoa and flour if necessary. Add all wet ingredients except buttermilk and mix briefly on low with hand mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment. Then add buttermilk and continue mixing on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
In a separate bowl, mix softened cream cheese, egg and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Add chocolate chips and mix again briefly until incorporated.
Portion batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Drop about 1 tablespoon cream cheese filling into the center of each cupcake, then poke down filling a bit with a knife or skewer. You can skip the poking down if you don’t mind a crack of cream cheese showing on top.
Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake portion comes out with moist crumbs. Sprinkle top with powdered sugar, if desired.
*Chocolate cake recipe adapted slightly from this one at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe