Challenge: Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

I do not wish to brag, but I can eat a mean cupcake.


I’m not so shabby at making them, either.

Holy CRAP, I was young there!

As I’ve lamented before, most Asian kitchens don’t have ovens, which is a very sad thing for somebody who likes to bake as much as I do.

Luckily, I am staying with my incredibly generous and amazing friends, Eric and Melanie, who have the nicest apartment I’ve ever lived in, period, and by far the nicest place I’ve lived in Asia. They have hot water IN THE SINKS. They have WATER PRESSURE IN THE SHOWER. They have SOFT BEDS. They have AN OVEN. They have A MIXER. Perhaps best of all–they have NETFLIX.

I realize that people who have not lived in Asia or in developing countries will have big question marks over their heads, like–So, why is any of this a big deal? Sounds like a normal apartment to me! 

Well: Ha!

Nay: HaHA!

None of the apartments I’ve had in my time in Asia have had hot water anywhere except the shower, and that was only sometimes. Thai beds are hard as freaking rocks (anybody know why?), and the rest I’ve already discussed. Anyway, it’s really nice to be here. Melanie and Eric are super laid-back and have made me feel completely at home. And, yes, they are going to have to drag me kicking and screaming out of here when the time comes.

The view from Mel and Eric's. I can see my old apartment building way off in the distance...

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a vestigial baking limb that felt like it was being cut off due to the lack of an oven, so I’ve been using the oven here a lot. I’m not exaggerating when I say I feel like myself again when I mix some stuff together and then shove it in an oven to turn into food.

I decided to make chocolate cream cheese cupcakes the other day because they are one of my absolute favorites. I know I’m not a food blogger, but I’m going to post the recipe, anyway. BECAUSE I CAN.

I used a vegan chocolate cupcake recipe as the base because I find vegan cupcakes to be lighter and moister than traditional egg- and butter-based cakes. Seriously, give them a try. Nobody will ever know they’re vegan, I swear on my life. Vegan food gets a bum rap sometimes, but as long as you ignore the oft-annoying ramblings of vegan warriors, you can find a lot of good stuff.

This recipe is actually from the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, which is worth every single penny it costs. I’ve used my copy so much that it’s falling apart. And now you will make these cupcakes and then you will buy the book and everybody will be happy, yes?


Stuff You Need for Cupcake World Domination: 

  • 1 cup soy milk (I used regular milk)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (I think regular vinegar would work)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Things You Do: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and smack some liners into a muffin tin. Or place them gently. WHATEVER.
  2. Whisk together the milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. (The real milk curdles quite a bit; soy not as much.)
  3. Think about the word “curdle” for a bit. It’s kind of a funny word, isn’t it? Curdle. Curdlecurdlecurdle.
  4. Gather yourself together and proceed to the next step.
  5. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the milk mixture and beat until foamy.
  6. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. (I didn’t sift.)
  7. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain.
Now you’re going to make the cream cheese filling. 
Stuff You Need for Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 ounces chocolate chips
Things You Do: 
  1. Mix together the first 4 things. You can use a mixer or just a fork, like I did.
  2. Add the chocolate chips and stir it all around.
  3. Eat some of it and then remember there’s raw egg in it and you shouldn’t eat it, especially as eggs aren’t refrigerated in Thailand, which I REALLY don’t understand. (You could probably skip that step if you wanted to.)
To Assemble Everything: 
  1. Pour the chocolate batter into liners, filling 1/2 way. If you fill more than halfway, you won’t see the cream cheese swirl and you will be very disappointed.
  2. Add a big spoonful of cream cheese filling.
  3. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Or, if you’re me and Melanie, eat them immediately after they come out of the oven and curse the molten cream cheese and chocolate chips while simultaneously saying how these are the best cupcakes EVER. Repeat until you feel a little sick from all the deliciousness.

Clearly I will not be making the leap to full-time food photographer anytime soon.

Important Note:
The next morning, you are allowed to call these “chocolate cream cheese muffins“, then heat them up just a little bit in the microwave (or set them on the counter for 15 seconds if you live in Thailand) and eat them for breakfast with coffee, while pretending you’re at Starbucks. I just saved you, like, $15. YOU’RE WELCOME. I accept cash donations.
Final Score
Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes: 0      Megan: 1
They’re SO good!


Filed under Food, Living Abroad, Thailand

28 responses to “Challenge: Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

  1. I was wondering that if i made the batch, can i leave it out on the balcony to cook? or should i jump on a motosai and head up to you guys to borrow the oven? ILL PAY YOU IN COOKIES AND BROWNIES!

    They look crack-o-licious for sure.



  2. Is it Improbable Baking Week in Asia? Why, yes, I do believe it is! And you know what? My next challenge will be cheese. Yes. I will make cheese in China. Well, ricotta, anyway. We want to attempt a lasagne this month. A lasagne that will be BAKED!!! in an OVEN!!!

    I think I may have to make those cupcakes too. A balanced meal.

  3. Wah! I feel left out. With everyone baking their little hearts out, I want to bake, too, but all I have is a gas range & a microwave (although there’s a rumor that I might inherit a toaster oven next month)! Well, I don’t really want to bake, I just want to eat what you’re baking. MaryAnne shared her cookies. Where’s my cupcakes?

  4. Glad to see non-vegans who are open to vegan foods. I am not a vegan either, but I have dabbled in it and was surprised to find how legitimately delicious some vegan foods can be. Any recipe that goes lighter on the eggs and butter while still tasting delicious is a win in my book!

    • Yeah, absolutely! I think vegan food can be really delicious if done right, like anything. I’m glad I don’t do it full-time because it’s a lot of work in Asia, but otherwise, why not? :)

  5. The “muffins” look divine Megan, but what I wanna know izzz…

    How(on earth!) do your friends GET NETFLIX IN THAILAND????

    As I’m prepping to move to Vietnam soon, I’ve resigned myself to the sad (did I mention, miserably, grief-stricken?) fact that I must give up my beloved Netflix when I move to SEA.


  6. Yummy! I just printed your recipe and will be making cupcakes in the next week or so :) They really sound delicious. Sooooo, is just the base from the Vega Cupcakes book? Because I don’t think my vegan friend would eat the filling what with the cream cheese, the egg and what not :) Lucky I’m not a vegan, so I’ll eat MORE :)

    • Yeah, unfortunately, just the base is vegan. But if you google recipes from that book, you’ll find lots of good frosting options. Not cream cheese, though, which is a real shame!

  7. I swear that these are the best cupcakes! I somehow managed to drop a half a cupcake fresh out of the oven on my foot and burn myself with scalding cream cheese filling because I couldn’t wait for them to cool down but that didn’t stop me from stuffing the remaining cupcake in my face.

    Also, I could really get used to coming home to fresh baked goods, so I am pretty sure that I am not going to let you leave EVER!!!

  8. Marlee

    I’ve made many a friend with baked goods. Meg, do you have Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar? Amazing!!

    • Don’t have it yet! I’ll get it at some point…I hope they improved the chocolate chip recipe because the one from Vegan with a Vengeance was awful!

  9. I saw the heading: “Challenge: Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes” and thought, ‘Challenge? No, no. There is *never* a challenge when it comes to nomming chocolate cream cheese cupcakes!’

    I am *so* going to make these. Love vegan style baking goodies so I’ll have to post pictures of how mine turn out and namedrop and blame you if I manage to burn them. ;-)

  10. Hi You can get great Home-Made quality Cream-Cheese in Bangkok at

    they are called HomeMade-Cheese Co. and they make great local cheese and yogurt produtcs, i think their cream cheese would go great with you cup cakes, gonna try it very soon.

  11. Lucky you!!!!!!!!! I wish I had an oven in my cabin in the woods. And thanks for the Vegan Cupcake link. Cheers, xxoo,

  12. Jonathan

    I thought curdle as I added vinegar to my milk but no curdling was to be had so I went with (non-vegan) buttermilk. I had to cook them a little longer and they probably could have stood another minute or two in the oven but let’s just say the latent erotics in the word “moist” were made patent in the final tasty result. Thanks for this.

    • :) I will explain the curdling better to you at a later date. I should have done it in the post, but all the recipes always just say “curdle”, so that’s what I said, too!

  13. Mia

    I will try this!! If I do good or it’s a success I will Try to take an awesome shot of it and blog about it (only with your permission). Thank u for sharing!!

  14. Mia

    I will try this!! If I do good or it’s a success I will Try to take an awesome shot of it and blog about it (only with your permission). Thank u for sharing!!

    Oops wait or better yet, you are welcome to use my oven:).

  15. these look delicious. and about the conditions in asia… me n my bro and sis were so out off that we actually bought my gramma a small fridge when we went to the philippines to visit. we’re such spoiled americans, wanting cold drinks and preserved food.

    • Huh, interesting! I mean, the things we grow accustomed to. My mother and aunt are infamous for the times they visited me in France and were obsessed with getting ice in their drinks (not common, at least at that point), and the time they visited me in Japan when they were obsessed with getting Diet Coke. I think buying your grandma a fridge is pretty reasonable, actually!

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