Soccer cupcakes

Chocolate-Cream Cheese Cupcakes (adapted from Nordstrom Friends and Family Cookbook)



1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (I like to use the mini)
1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard-sized muffin pan with paper liners.  To make the filling, in a bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, salt and chocolate chips until well blended.  Set aside.
To make the batter, melt the chocolate chips using your preferred method (I follow the microwave directions on the bag or you can use the double boiler method).  Set aside to cool.
In another bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, egg and vanilla.  Stir in the melted chocolate.  Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the water, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and stirring until smooth.  Spoon batter into each of the prepared muffin cups, filling them half full.  Spoon about 2 Tbsp. of the filling into each cup and top with the remaining batter. 
Bake the cupcakes until they are puffed, slightly cracked on top, and baked through, 20-23 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool slightly.  These are wonderful served warm with or without frosting but they also work great just out of the fridge or served at room temperature.  Makes approx. 16 cupcakes                                      
Cream-Cheese Frosting (enough for 24 cupcakes or a 2-layer cake)
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 
5-6 cups confectioners’ sugar*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
juice of 1 lemon (optional)
Cream together cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl.  Slowly sift in confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until fully incorporated.  Mixture should be free of lumps.  Stir in vanilla and lemon if you use it.  Tint if desired.
*I don’t like my cream cheese frosting super sweet so I only use 5 cups but it works either way.