Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes, A Triple Whammy Of Goodness

My youngest son, Liam, dives into projects, just like me, but in the case of these chocolate cheesecake cupcakes, he literally dives his fingers right into the cream cheese that we’re using in this delicious recipe.  Lick, lick, chomp.  Alright already, Liam…I believe in the notion that chefs should taste what they make throughout the baking process, but he takes this to a completely new level.

I can hardly blame him as I’m laying out sprinkles, cream cheese, and chocolate cupcakes and can see his mouth salivating.  I have accepted this fact, and even embraced the mess that comes along with it. Honestly, I am finding my time with the boys in the kitchen that much more precious as I see them growing up so fast.

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

I love the element of a surprise inside of a cupcake and the idea that kids delight in anticipation for what their taste buds will find.  My secret dream, that I’ve convinced myself of, is that one day, I can put kale inside and they will gobble it up.  Errr, too ambitious?  Maybe. I mean it is smothered in chocolate goodness though, right?

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

There are a ton of amazing cream cheese recipes out there, but I chose to try this particular one for chocolate cheesecake cupcakes because it has a dollop of cream cheese inside letting the kids enjoy this flavor combination of creamy goodness surrounded by a crumbly moist cake.  And to top it off, this cream cheese is mixed with hazelnuts and chocolate chips with a slight dash of sugar.  Now think about it…how could I blame Liam for trying a sample or two?  Totally ok, right?

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Once your cupcakes are baked, they get smothered in a chocolate ganache made on the stovetop. Combine the cream + chocolate chips over a double boiler until it has that lovely glossy look.  Then you can drizzle or dip (if you prefer) your chocolate cheesecake cupcakes into the sauce as your topping.

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

I also included a recipe for a milk crumble topping.  Often times, I know kids love the colored sprinkles, while us adults want a bit more sophistication.  The milk crumble is from Milk Bar’s beloved Christina Tosi.  It adds the perfect touch to this delicious cupcake.  I used a super ganache from Barefoot Contessa.  Love that woman. Voila!

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Liam learned the trick of a slow drizzle and rationing. Yes, rationing!  The first one was like chocolate lava.  But, I let him know that if it drips on the side, there won’t be enough for all of our friends. After that, he seemed to be ok with portioning a bit less for each cupcake.  He used the analogy of keeping the chocolate within the lines!  Guess his teacher has driven this point home with coloring.  Good job, Ms. Kanen!  So, we dripped a bit in the middle, and the magic began.

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Yep, this chef got serious!  Next came the best part….

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Sprinkle time.  I snuck in a few adult Milk Bar crumbles, and we were both set with some happy moms and happy 1st grade friends.  These chocolate cheesecake cupcakes are perfect for a playdate.

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Now just be sure you have something to sip and you can never go wrong with milk. It’s perfect with these triple delights.  And of course, for us adults, there is always time for some wine!

Photos by: Maria Hedrick Photography

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

By TheSweetNerd  

February 20, 2017

  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons

1 egg, at room temperature

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons mini semisweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Chocolate Ganache (Adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

1/2 cup heavy cream

8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips

Milk Crumble (Adapted from Milk Bar)

1/2 cup milk powder

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 stick butter, melted

3 oz. white chocolate, melted


1Place rack in the middle of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake papers.

2In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, and set aside. Using a mixer, cream the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until pale yellow, about 1 minute. Add the egg and stir until just incorporated. Mix in the milk. Add the remaining flour mixture and stir until combined. Set aside.

3In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

4Fill prepared cupcake liners with enough chocolate batter to just cover the bottom. Add a dollop of the cream cheese filling to each, then top with remaining batter.

5Bake for 20 minutes. Let cupcakes stand in pan for 3 minutes and then remove and allow to cool completely on a rack.

Chocolate Ganache

1Cook the heavy cream and chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle or dip the cupcakes into the ganache for coverage.

Milk Crumble

1Combine the 1/2 cup milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Toss with your hands to mix. Add the melted butter and toss, using a spatula, until the mixture starts to come together to form small clusters.

2Spread the clusters on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. The crumbs should be sandy at that point. Cool the crumbs completely.

3Crumble any milk crumb clusters that are larger than 1/2 inch in diameter, and put the crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the 1/4 cup milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

4Pour the chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are enrobed. Then continue tossing them every 5 minutes until the chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky.

5Serve these cupcakes immediately, as they have cream cheese inside. Or, you can keep the cupcakes in the refrigerator.

Ganache is modified from Barefoot Contessa
Milk Crumble is adapted from Milk Bar, Christina Tosi


Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes


  • Bee
    7 years ago

    Oh, the hazelnuts gave me the best idea for my cupcake filling surprise! Not the kale, lol! Loving this recipe….thank you

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      7 years ago

      Kale is so circa 2016, eh? I agree hazelnut is the new star in town. Cheers Bee!

  • 7 years ago

    Yeah! I love cupcakes with surprises hidden inside. And how cute are those photos of you and your boy baking together? So sweet (on so many levels!).

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      7 years ago

      Thanks April! I love to bake with the boys. It can get a bit hectic, but I always remind myself that these are the few years I have with them to instill a love of being in the kitchen. Appreciate your kind compliments.

  • I totally can’t blame your son for wanting to sample these! If I were there, I’d be sampling them too, lol 😀 Wow! So indulgent! I really like Barefoot Contessa too! I could watch her show for hours on end! Lovin’ your suggestion of wine with these 🙂 Bet that would be amazing with the chocolate….and cream cheese filling….and moist cupcake. Now I’m hungry 😉

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      7 years ago

      Yes, Liam is an aggressive sous chef that truly believes in the concept of testing ingredients and tasting throughout. Little bugger! Thanks for commenting.

  • Anna Ehrlich
    7 years ago

    Cindy, these look delicious and rich. Would love to try these soon!

  • 7 years ago

    Your photos with your boys brought back fond memories of all my years of having my boys in my kitchen! I have 4 sons (and 2 grandsons). The boys are all amazing cooks, 2 do it professionally, and the youngest is a newly minted chef at a 5 star restaurant in Minneapolis. The awesome thing, though, is how our family has bonded in the kitchen and around the table. Joy for a lifetime…

    These cupcakes look spectacular (duh – cream cheese and chocolate!). I don’t blame the little ones for digging in!

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