Monday, March 31, 2014

Cubicle kitchen: Chocolate Cream Cheese Muffins

The line between cake and sweet bread can be so very, very thin.  Particularly when it comes to muffins versus cupcakes.  Aside from a lack of frosting, does a muffin need to have a particular consistency?

These may be the kinds of questions that you ask yourself as you bake these, but I don't think you'll be wondering when you eat them, because you just won't care.  They are so yummy.  The pumpkin makes them so moist, and then the bite of cream cheese in the middle just takes it over the top.  The only thing I would change would be the cereal topping, because it loses it's crunch after the first day.

Other than that, though, these freeze really well and taste really good after being warmed up in the microwave after a few seconds.  Which might be why, after making sure my direct coworkers had their fill, I didn't put the rest of these out for the general population.  Instead, I brought them home, bundled them in the freezer, and have been enjoying them as dessert myself for the past week.

But there's no frosting, so I'm just going with muffins.  Delicious, dessert-worthy muffins...

Chocolate Cream Cheese Muffins
Adapted from The Table: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins and Hungry Girl: Chocolate Caramel Muffins
Makes 21 cupcakes


For the filling:
  • 8 oz Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sweetened cocoa powder
For the cake:
  • 1 box Devil's Food Cake mix
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg (optional; Hungry Girl's recipe doesn't include an egg)
For the topping:
  • 1/2 cup chocolate cereal, crushed


For the filling:
  1. Mix together cream cheese and cocoa until combined.
  2. Transfer cream cheese mixture to a one gallon plastic bag, or use plastic wrap, and roll into a log about an inch in diameter.  Place in the freezer for at least a few hours, or overnight.  
  3. Before preparing the batter, cut the log into coins.

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine pumpkin and egg.  Stir in cake mix and mix until combined.  Batter will be thick.
  3. Spoon one tablespoon of batter into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Press a coin of filling into the batter lightly.  Spoon a second tablespoon of batter on top of the cream cheese mixture.  If necessary, smooth batter evenly to ensure the filling is covered.  Sprinkle crushed cereal on top.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted around the middle comes out clean (unless you hit cream cheese).  Allow to cool.

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