The Baketrix: Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

In honor of the birthdays of Matt (today) and my sister (last week)–two of my favorite people–I am posting the Baketrix’s scrumptious chocolate cupcake recipe. Matt was meh-ing around this morning about turning older and blah blah blah, and I just wanted to make it known that I, for one, am extremely grateful that the world begat both Matt and Tricia. I say, the occasions of their birth must be feted with chocolate!

The Baketrix:

Good things come in small packages…Cupcakes!!!!

The cupcake craze is still growing in popularity and more and more shops have popped up in Los Angeles–although it cannot compare with New York City.  On a visit there, it seemed that there were cupcakes being sold on every corner. I think NYC should change from being referred to as the “big apple” to the “big cupcake!”  But here in Los Angeles, one must seek out the cupcake, which often means getting into one’s car and driving.

I am fortunate that I live in Hollywood where there are at least six locations for cupcakes or other baked goodies within a three-mile radius. However, I am picky about my cupcakes–any baked goodie must be “worth the calories,” and some of the locations do not cut the mustard!  My litmus test for any bakery is the red velvet cupcake–if a shop has a moist, tasty, and cream cheese–frosted one, it is worth going back to. None of this cream cheese with flour frosting that gives it a weird consistency! What’s up with that?

Unfortunately, my countless attempts to re-create the red velvet cupcake have been disappointing.  I have given up on baking my own and will gladly hop in my car or my bike (but that makes transporting the cupcakes back a challenge) to Toast restaurant on Third Street, which has a good one.  If I am really craving red velvet, by far my favorite is at Violet’s Cupcakes, which I discovered while working in Pasadena.  Their cupcakes are total homestyle, hand-frosted (not put in a pastry bag with a decorating tip). The cupcakes are approachable, not fussy or pretentious.

But I stray…in place of baking my own red velvet cake, I default to chocolate cake.  My partner Tom Clancey (not the writer/game developer but baked an amazing cake one year for my birthday and it has become the “go-to” recipe.  The cake is light and rich and well, decadent.  And topped off with a cream cheese frosting, oooooohhhhh, so good!

Black Pearl Layer Cake
from Bon Appetit, January 2005

Note:  this is an amazing cake with exotic flavors, the filling is ganache with wasabi…for the cupcakes, I use only the cake recipe part.  For the full recipe, please go to

This is for three layers of cake so it will make a LOT of cupcakes.

2 c. boiling water
1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 3/4 c. all purpose flour (do not substitute with whole wheat flour)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 c. sugar (I use baking sugar)
1 c. (2 sticks) buttah, unsalted at room temp
4 large eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line or butter/flour cupcake pan.

Whisk 2 cups boiling water and cocoa powder in a bowl.

Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in large bowl (I combine all in a large sieve to add directly to the wet mixture to avoid dirtying another bowl–but I end up making a huge mess all over the counter, so you may want to use the separate bowl for dry ingredients!).

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in a large bowl until light a fluffy, approx. 1 minute.  Add eggs one a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

Add flour mixture in four additions alternately with cocoa mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Do NOT skip this part, very critical to the outcome of the cake.

Pour into the pan, put in the oven and bake…cool completely before frosting!

While baking, prepare the cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8 oz. boxes cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted buttah, room temp
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla then beat in powdered sugar until smooth and creamy.  Sample as you go!  and be sure to lick the electric mixer beaters…

Spread on a GENEROUS amount of the frosting goodness once the cupcakes are cool. No one likes a thin layer of icing!  Don’t be stingy!  Top off with sprinkles to bring a splash of joy into everyone’s life.

These cupcakes were made for my colleague Laura’s birthday…she was out in the field that day and well, we celebrated in her absence! This recipe makes a lot of cupcakes… I made only 24 to fill my cupcake carrying container and the rest made a 9” round cake which I frosted and ate!!!


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About Kate Soto

2 responses to “The Baketrix: Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. Matt says :

    Thanks, Kate — looks delish! But I’m far too old to enjoy cake. It’ll send me to an early grave, you hear me?

    I’m having a prune salad instead… 🙂

  2. Kate Soto says :

    You better mash up that prune salad and suck it through a straw. I know you can’t trust your teeth these days!

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