From Canadian Living: Summer 1981
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Use two tins that fit medium size paper cupcake liners - you'll get 24 cupcakes.

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 egg    
1/3 cup white sugar
pinch salt

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Cream together until light / creamy and a bit fluffy. If cream cheese was not soft enough, this may be a bit lumpy – but this does not affect appearance or taste.

Stir chocolate chips into above and set aside.

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt


Combine in large mixing bowl until well blended.

1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 TB vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Add to above and mix well. (I use a mixer, but I guess it could be done by hand.)

    Puffy, right from the oven - and then cool and collapsed - but yummy!

   Puffy, right from the oven - and then cool and collapsed - but yummy!

Fill muffin tins about ½ full with the batter - distribute all the chocolate batter first - and top with a dollop of the cream cheese mixture. Bake in 350 F preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  In my oven, 20 minutes does the trick. The cupcakes will be puffed up;  the cream cheese will not be wet/shiny. No point testing with a toothpick - it will come out messy even when they are done.  Over-bake and the cream cheese will start to brown – still edible, but not as pretty. The puffy top will collapse as they cool. Especially yummy when cool enough to eat, but chocolate chips are still soft.

Notes and Tips...

  • Cream Cheese - as one of my "go to" recipes, sometimes made on short notice, the cream cheese may not be softened enough. When planning ahead, I have even left it out over night. Philly company suggests an hour and also offers a quick microwave tip.
  • Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder - see Ingredients for important info on the types of cocoa powder. In prepping tips, I was reminded that natural cocoa can be substituent for Dutch processed, but not vice versa. Oops! I have been using Dutch processed in this recipe for years and they turn out fine. Next time I make them I will go back to using natural unsweetened and update this if there is a significant difference.
  • Oil - vegetable oil  is usually corn oil - not the same as canola. In some recipes this can make a difference, but not here.
  • Fill - cooking scoops (see Equipment) come in handy. So much easier to scoop and release rather than fiddling with finger/spoon, two spoons ...  For the chocolate batter I use my black scoop which holds about 5 tsps; for the cream cheese mixture I use my purple handled scoop which is about 3 tsp.
  • Storage - fine at room temperature covered in plastic wrap for a few days - they have never lasted longer.  What these cupcakes are famous for is surviving Parcel Post in care packages sent to many places on the planet!
  • Planning this task - the night before I prepped the sugar/salt and chocolate chips for the cream cheese batter; measured and mixed all the dry ingredients; pulled other ingredients from the cupboard and lined the muffin tin. Next morning I mixed the cream cheese batter, went out for a breakfast meeting, returned and finished the recipe - all so "Zen" and quick - no stress, no fuss, and lots of yummy fun!