I have a bad track record when it comes to baking with chocolate. The last chocolate cake I made came out really dry and let’s not even talk about my first batch of brownies (okay they were black bean brownies and I should have never even tried to go there, but still). Thankfully I threw both of those away before anyone had a chance to happen upon them (except for my mom but she agreed that we could pretend they never happened. Aren’t moms great that way?).

And I was willing to pull out the white flag. Throw my hands up to the gods of the cacao trees and say, Okay I get it. You win. And walk away from the entire situation none the worse for wear. I like vanilla better anyway, I told myself as if it were a consolation prize.

The problem is that most people out there like chocolate. They like chocolate enough to say things to me like, Hey why don’t you make some chocolate cupcakes for your friend Amma’s birthday? And I am stubborn and strong-willed enough to not want to concede that maybe I can’t do anything I set my mind to, and thus end up replying with something like, Wow what a great idea!

And then I go home and flip out because when push comes to shove I will actually have to bake these cupcakes and serve them to people and there is a very good chance (if history repeats itself) that they will be awful.

But they weren’t. They were actually very good. So for everyone out there who is mortally afraid of baking with chocolate. This is the recipe for you.

On a side note – I ran 20.24 miles today. Just thought I’d put that out there. I also finished a jar of peanut butter, single-handedly, in a month. I might turn into a jar of peanut butter soon, so if I ever stop blogging without explanation – you’ll know what happened.

I am submitting this to this week’s Blogger Secret Ingredient, which is being hosted by Anna over at London Foodie in New York.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
Serves 24, adapted from Not Without Salt

3 cups flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups cold water
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup and 2 tsp unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp white vinegar
12 oz neufchatel
4 oz butter
3 tbsp half and half
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 cup-ish confectioner’s sugar (I added it to taste and thus probably added less)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the water, oil, 2 tsp vanilla, and vinegar. Mix the wet into the dry and stir until just combined. Fill the cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is set. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then on a wire rack.

2. For the frosting, whip together the neufchatel and butter until fluffy. Add in the half and half and vanilla. Mix in the caramel ice cream topping. Add in the confectioner’s sugar until frosting has desired taste. Put in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Frost cupcakes.

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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19 Responses to BSI: Chocolate – Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Megan says:

    Ok – I can finish an entire jar of peanut butter in a month too – but I certainly am not training for a marathon like you are!

  2. these look great. they alnost look like tic tac toe boards.

    and sorry to hear that about the black bean brownies. i was just going to make some.

  3. Kim says:

    These look delicious Joanne. I love the caramel topping mixed into the frosting, I bet it was very good. Congrats on your 20 miles, what an accomplishment. I don’t know how you find the time to run, cook, bake, blog, go to school and do homework. Yummy, yummy cupcakes!

  4. Debinhawaii says:

    They look great, I love the icing. Congrats on the run–that is impressive!

  5. Palidor says:

    Great job on conquering chocolate! The cupcakes look superb, and I love the idea of caramel cream cheese frosting. So creative! 20.24 miles? You are a machine, girl!!

  6. GarlicBOSS says:

    Joanne, I will have to try all these ingredients. Especially interesting is the vinegar…thanks

  7. I bet the vinegar made these tender and moist. They look so yummy especially with the caramel frosting. 20 miles is awesome!!!!

  8. Like you, I could definitely go without chocolate cake, but that cream cheese frosting looks incredible!

  9. It sounds to me like you have broken your chocolate streak and have won the battle. More chocolate please.

  10. girlichef says:

    YOU are a machine! And these cupcakes sound amazing! 🙂

  11. Catherine says:

    Just dropping by to say hello and thank you for following my blog…You cupcakes look wonderful along with your other dishes…

  12. Kerstin says:

    Great job with the chocolate cupcakes, they look great! My favorite is carrot cake, followed by vanilla, but chocolate is just such a crowd pleaser!

  13. Fantastic! These delightful little cupcakes look wonderful!

  14. Amy says:

    Ha! Joanne, you got my first laugh of the morning.

    I absolutely love chocolate, but in baked goods I actually prefer chocolate. I’m told that’s un-american.

    And if I ran 20.24 miles, I would let the world know, too. YOU ARE A MACHINE!

  15. Kelly says:

    I love the idea of a caramel cream cheese frosting. Talk about putting two of my favorite things together. Hang in there with the baking. It sounds like you’ve finally had a break through on the chocolate front. It too me much longer to get good at baking than at cooking and now I adore it.

  16. Cucinista says:

    Great cupcakes. Love the anecdote about your mother and the black bean brownies 🙂 I would think you’d need at least a jar of peanut butter to keep you going for 2o.24 miles. Amazing.

  17. Jen says:

    YUM!!! =)

    I was gonna make the black bean ones, glad I didn’t!

  18. […] Four years ago…Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting […]

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