We are heading back to Sugar Town.
One of my many random jobs involves helping out in theatrical productions when children are in shows and wrangling them backstage. I keep them quiet, I keep them in lines. I basically unleash all my teacher-ness to force them to be professional.
It works sometimes. Anyway, this weekend is opening for the show I’m working on, so I decided to make something fun for some of the fabulous people working with me backstage. These are much like the show I’m working on. You think you are getting one thing, then it takes a HARD. LEFT. TURN.
Simple chocolate cupcakes on the outside, but on the inside-
Cheesecake Stuffed Cupcakes! I found this amazing recipe over at Bakergirl’s baking site. I was instantly inspired to try and make them. There are a couple of things that are altered a bit, but they are most definitely inspired by her tasty treats. She has the most amazing three tone frosting that I tried to replicate as well. Alas, my frosting game is still in the beginning phases, so I’m showing a simple chocolate buttercream.
They might give you a cavity. Because they are sweet. That’s for you, Mara. 🙂
Let’s do this! We are going to bop around a bit to make sure everything is done with the right timing. They have a longer prep than most of the confections I attempt, but it is totally worth it.
Let’s do it!
For the cupcakes, you need: chopped baking chocolate, cocoa powder, hot coffee, sifted flour, granulated sugar, salt, baking powder, vegetable oil, eggs, white vinegar (#science), and vanilla.
We are going to start on the cupcakes, bounce to the cheesecake, then come back to the cupcakes. It’s gonna be ok guys. It’s like taking the scenic route. We will get there eventually and take a really nice trip.
Start by putting the cocoa powder and chocolate bits in a bowl. Pour the hot coffee over them and whisk together until everything is all melted and smooth. There should be nary a trace of powder or chunks. Nary! Nary, I say! I might be slightly obsessed with the Hamilton soundtrack.
Once the chocolate mix is all smooth and awesome, you have to chill it completely. Pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes and while it is chillin’ (literally and figuratively), make the cheesecake filling.
Start by grabbing all your cheesecake stuff!
Cream cheese, sugar, salt, vanilla, an egg and semi sweet chocolate chips are what this cheesecake filling is basically all about. You’ll want to leave the cream cheese out for a few minutes so it can soften a little.
In the bowl of your Carmelita, or a mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy. I use the paddle attachment. It’s my favorite for this step. Obviously. Then add the egg and vanilla and mix until completely combined.
Finally, add the chocolate chips and fold them in. I do this part by hand so as not to break apart the chips.
Noms. I could eat that stuff with a spoon. But I won’t. We need them for the cupcakes. Let’s set this delicious sinful business aside and get back to the cupcakes.
Take the sifted flour, salt, sugar and baking powder and whisk them together in a large mixing bowl. You are looking for the mixture in your bowl to all be the same texture and color.
By now, your chocolate mixture in the fridge should be all chilled. It should be super cool. It should be Billy Dee Williams cool. It should be other side of the pillow cool.
Take it and add the vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla and white vinegar. Then whisk by hand until everything is combined and the mixture is smooth.
So, at this point you should have three bowls of stuff. One bowl is your chocolate chip cheesecake business. One bowl is the chocolate mixture above and one is the dry ingredients.
Pour all of this chocolate mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Whisk it until smooth. You can use your Carmelita with the whisk attachment, or an electric hand mixer. I whisked it by hand because I wanted to feel more connected to the work I was doing and not at all because I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to do dishes again don’t judge me.
Chocolate cupcake batter! Voila!
So. To put these together, Prepare a cupcake pan by lining the cups or spraying them with some baking spray. Fill the liner about 1/4 way with the chocolate cake batter.
Dollop a healthy tablespoon of the cheesecake filling into the middle of the cupcake.
Finally, add just enough of the cupcake batter to cover the cheesecake filling. Be careful not to fill the liner too full. It should be about 3/4 full before baking.
It took me a few tries to get the hang of it, but eventually I found a good rhythm.
Bla-Blao! Bake at 350° for 17 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool completely, and I do mean completely, before thinking about the idea of considering frosting these babies.
Once they are cool, go ahead and frost them! So here is the story with my frosting. I had, after investigating Baker Girl’s super cool three tone frosting, decided I could totally tackle that.
I was wrong. It was above my pay grade. So after lots of fighting and maybe possibly getting frosting in my hair, I just decided to make a simple chocolate buttercream. It’s way easy and delicious.
We need unsalted butter. Yes, I know that looks like a lot of butter, but that’s because it is a lot of butter. It’s worth it. We also need cocoa powder, milk, a pinch of salt, vanilla and powdered sugar. I always always sift my powdered sugar before making frosting. The first time I tried a buttercream frosting, it ended up with the weirdest texture. I realized it was partially because the powdered sugar was all clumpy. Sifting is your friend my loves!
Beat that butter using your standing or electric mixer until it is super super smooth. Smooth like James Bond ordering a martini. In a tux. Smoooooooooth….
Then, switch to the whisk attachment and add all the vanilla. Before starting to mix, add one cup of powdered sugar. Go ahead and mix until those ingredients are incorporated. Add another another cup of powdered sugar and a little of the milk. Mix together. Add the third cup of powdered sugar and a little more milk and combine. Keep whisking at a medium high speed until the frosting is silky and forms some peaks. You may need to scrape the bowl once or twice during this process to get all the ingredients mixed together.
Now, if you want to use a vanilla icing, you have one! However, if you, like me, are a chocoholic; we are about to kick it up a notch. Add 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and a little more milk. Whisk to combine. Repeat until the frosting is the desired level of chocolatey goodness and consistency. I used 3 tablespoons by the end of it and about 2 1/2 tablespoons of whole milk. Your mileage may vary. 🙂
Once you have your frosting, pipe away! I changed up my piping tip to play around because I’m still very new at this decorating thing. You do you!
Not perfect. BUT! They taste fantastic.
Nosh on, friends!
3 oz chopped baking chocolate
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot coffee
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour (sifted)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
8 oz cream cheese- room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
2 1/2 Tbsp whole milk
3 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- Preheat oven to 350°
- In a bowl, pour coffee over cocoa powder and chocolate bits for the cake. Whisk until smooth and put in the refrigerator to chill. While this is chilling, prepare the cheesecake.
- Beat together sugar and cream cheese. Add salt, vanilla and the egg and whisk until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips. Set aside.
- To continue with the cake, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
- Add eggs, vanilla, vegetable oil and vinegar to the chilled chocolate mix and whisk until all ingredients are combined.
- Pour the chocolate mix into the flour mix and whisk until smooth.
- Prepare a cupcake pan with baking spray or liners. Fill the cups about 1/4 of the way with cake batter. Dollop 1 Tbsp of the cheesecake filling into the middle of the cups. Cover the cheesecake filling with more cake batter. Try to only fill the cups about 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake for 17 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.
- To prepare the frosting, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla and beat to combine. Continue to mix in 1 cup and a little milk at a time until all the powdered sugar has been used.
- Add cocoa powder and more milk and whisk at medium high speed until the desired flavor and consistency have been reached.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost and enjoy!