Chocolate and Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Add chopped walnuts to these chocolate cupcakes and then top them with a cream cheese frosting.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 12
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10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

2/3 cup boiling water

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts, plus more for topping


One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon juice

4 cups confectioners' sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
  2. Put the butter, cocoa powder and chocolate in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over and let stand 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth, and then whisk in the sugar, vanilla and eggs. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda until just combined. Stir in the walnuts. Divide the batter among the prepared liners so they are about three-quarters full.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting: 

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed, in a large bowl, with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice. Adjust the speed to low speed and gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until well combined. Frost the tops of the cupcakes and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)