February 9, 2014

The BEST Chocolate Cupcakes with Cheesecake Pudding Filling

Let's just say my mind is blown!  These cupcakes are one of the best chocolate desserts you will ever put in your mouth.

They remind me of my Mom's Famous Chocolate Sheet Cake in cupcake form and with cream filling.
This is the same Chocolate Cake recipe that I used for My 30th Birthday Cake.  I loved it in cake form and I really love it in cupcake form.  There is no way to resist this amazing eggless cake batter.  At least a recipe with eggs in it keeps you from sampling too much of it before it's baked, but an eggless batter? It was hard to not eat the whole batch of that raw batter by the spoonful.

I made a super rich fudgy frosting to go on top.  At first, I was worried it was going to be too overpowering, but once you combine it with the cupcake and filling, I couldn't imagine a better frosting to go with these super moist cupcakes.
Since the cake and frosting are both rich, I wanted some kind of light vanilla type filling.  Cheesecake pudding popped in my head and it is the PERFECT compliment.  

After tasting it all together, I think you could easily switch up the filling by using a different pudding mix.  I think Strawberry, OREO, White Chocolate, Banana or even just Vanilla would all be divine.

I made a Valentine's Day version and an Every Day version.  With or without sprinkles, you will swoon over these cupcakes.
The Best Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from: Crazy For Crust
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

*Both the filling and frosting recipes have cooling/chilling time involved.  Make sure to plan ahead.

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. hot water
1/4 c. + 2 Tbl. vegetable oil
1 Tbl. distilled vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. instant coffee granules
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cheesecake Filling:
1 (3.4 oz.) pkg. Cheesecake instant pudding mix
2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting:
1/4 c. (4 Tbl.) unsalted butter
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp. instant coffee granules
1/2 c. + 2 Tbl. heavy whipping cream (no substitutes)
2 Tbl. sour cream (I used light)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spray with cooking spray.  For the cupcakes: In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  In a separate bowl, combine hot water, oil, vinegar, instant coffee and vanilla; stir together and add to dry ingredients.  Stir until just combined.  A few lumps are okay.  Divide between muffin cups, filling 2/3 full with batter.  Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and top springs back when lightly touched.  Makes around 12-14 cupcakes.  Allow to cool completely.

For the Filling:  In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix, milk and vanilla and whisk together until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

For the Frosting:  Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stir in the sugar, cocoa and instant coffee.  Combine whipping cream, sour cream and vanilla and stir into sugar mixture.  Stir until smooth and creamy (mine had a few small lumps that I couldn't get out).  Continue heating until sugar is dissolved.  Do not boil.  Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for several hours or until it's thick and fudgy looking.  It will happen, just be patient.

To Prepare:  Use a paring knife and cut a small chunk out of the top center of each cupcake.  Slice off the very top of the chunk, so it's flat (see steps 4, 7, 8 and 9 of this post for a picture tutorial of this process - it's really easy).  Fill cupcake with cheesecake filling and replace top.  Spread chocolate frosting over the top.  Garnish with colorful sprinkles, if desired.  Store cupcakes in the refrigerator.      
Linked up at Weekend Potluck! and Tuesday Talent Show! and Time to Sparkle!


  1. These cupcakes look great, the filling sounds so delicious!

  2. Love the filling for these cupcakes! And your photos are gorgeous with all those sprinkles. So great Jenn!

  3. Do you think leaving out the coffee granules will make much of a difference? We are not coffee drinkers so don't have that ingredient on hand. The cupcakes look so delicious! I plan to make them for Valentine's Day treats. Thank you!

    1. You can absolutely leave out the coffee! The coffee just enhances the chocolate flavor a little bit, but they will still be amazing without it. I just ate the last cupcake out of this batch and I am already wanting to make them again - that is how much I love them :) Happy Valentine's on Friday.

  4. Oh my gosh, my fiance will go nuts for these! They look amazing!

  5. Jen, these look to-die-for! Pinning!

  6. Mmmm, these are gorgeous. PINNED!!!

  7. Could a cake be made instead of cupcakes?

  8. Could this be made into a cake instead of cupcakes?
    (That was me as anonymous)

    1. I made a cake using this chocolate cake recipe in this post:

      I didn't use this frosting or this filling when I made it into a cake, but the frosting is very thick and would work on a cake. The filling is kind of soft, but I think a thin layer work work fine.

  9. It was absolutely delicious, and it looked amazing. Thank you for sharing the detail with us.


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