Cupcakes make great holiday treats and a good replacement for candy this time of year. These personal baked cakes can be made with a variety of flavorful ingredients; good chocolate being one of them. Vanilla or chocolate cupcakes are usually the base of most recipes and you can heighten the flavors by choosing top quality products that offer a bit more taste.
When baking chocolate cupcakes, cocoa powders do vary in taste and color – the more intense or darker varieties tend to have the best flavor. Valhrona cocoa powder is one of my favorites and you can find it online, however Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder does have good deep rich flavor and can be easily purchased from most grocery stores.
The cream cheese topping in these black and white cupcakes tastes like the best combination of cake and cheesecake in one bite, but don’t stop there. The baking preparation is simple – just a little mixing in a bowl, and you will have a treat that not only looks spookalicious, but is really good to eat.
Cream Cheese Topping
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar
5 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
(Makes 1 Dozen)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, egg and sugar with a wooden spoon. Stir mixture until smooth and add chocolate chips. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and stir until blended. Make a well in the center with your hand.
4. Add wet ingredients: water, oil, vinegar and vanilla and stir until just combined.
5. Scoop out cupcake batter into paper lined muffin cups evenly. Next, add 2 tablespoons of cream cheese mixture until it just reaches top of cups.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cream cheese is just lightly browned. Cool and top with favorite holiday candy for decoration. Enjoy!