Chocolate Chip Cheesecake-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

So here’s a scenario from my an imaginary 20-something woman’s life:

Let’s say this woman just got a job teaching as a sessional instructor at a large college in a large North American city.  She’s very keen to do well on the job and practice all she’s learned about pedagogy.

Her office, as it turns out, is down the hall from the Computer Help Desk (where students and teachers alike go when their computer is on the fritz, the printer won’t work, or they can’t access emails, etc.). Each morning as she scurries by the desk toward her office, she spies a super-cute guy working behind the counter. After a few weeks, they’re smiling and nodding at each other as she rushes past to her office.

Eventually, she decides that she’d really, really like to get to know this guy.  But here’s her conundrum: she’s too shy to ask him out–or even to just stop and chat with him for no apparent reason (ie, she sucks at flirting).

And then. . . she has a brilliant idea about how to get to know him better!

What do you suppose she does? (Note: you may choose more than one answer. No marks deducted for incorrect choices):

(a) Begs her office mate, who is much more outgoing than she is, to chat him up and find out if he is interested.

(b) Dons her shortest miniskirt, fishnet stockings and clingy sweater and prances about the hallway between his desk and her office, hoping he will notice her.

(c) Deliberately shoves her computer off the desk so that it comes crashing to the floor, summoning Mr. Cute Guy to her office in a hurry.

(d) Throws an end-of-semester Christmas party at her tiny apartment and invites the entire English faculty plus the Computer Help Desk staff (70+ people), just so  it won’t appear too obvious that he’s invited, too.

So, which one did I–I mean, that woman–do?

Let’s just say. . . it was a really good party.

But I’m not writing this post today to tell you about how I met my Starter Husband (oh, wait, no, I mean–to tell you how Imaginary 20-Something Torontonian College English Teacher met her Starter Husband).

No, the reason I mention the Party to End All Parties is rather to relate to you how I became enamored of a computer helpdesk geek these cheesecake-filled morsels of chocolately deliciousness.* (And, how I forged a reputation among English professors as “that gal who bakes.”).

I remember well the reaction after I posted an open invitation in our faculty lounge (“End of Term Christmas Party–All Are Welcome! Snacks and sweets provided.  BYOB. Hope to see you there!”).  One of the senior profs at the time–let’s call her Professor Yenta–glanced at the notice and spun around to face me.

“Wow, that’s brave–or maybe crazy,” she said.  Since I had no idea what she was talking about, I likely appeared somewhat nonplussed.

“To issue an open invitation,” she explained. “To everyone. In this department? I mean, you never know who will show up. What if Professor Misanthrope decides to show? Or if Ms. Ball Breaker spends the evening at your place? I mean, that could really ruin a party.”  Professor Misanthrope was well known in the deparment for the high-watt sheen on his bald head, the force of which was second only to his disdain for students. Ms. Ball Breaker, on the other hand, with her dime store hair dye, lips perpetually lemon-puckered and eyes that never smiled even when she forced the corners of her mouth upward, was disdainful of everyone. Hmm.  I had just assumed that only people who knew me–or, at least, liked me–would attend.

After I’d impulsively invited 70 people into my home, it suddenly occurred to me that I’d better provide some really memorable food to compensate for the fact that we’d be crammed into the living room and hallway of a one-bedroom apartment with a galley kitchen, the entire space no more than 600 square feet.

I decided to do what I did best: bake.  The final menu featured an assortment of holiday cookies like shortbreads (I think I made the original version of these), Surprise Crackles, your basic Chocolate Chip Cookies, and perhaps a few bars and brownies. But the pièce de résistance was going to be a recipe I’d found in Gourmet magazine. Individual chocolate cupcakes called Farm Cakes were each filled with a hefty dollop of cream cheese filling, the filling itself studded with chocolate chips.  The cake eveloped the cheesecake inside so that unsuspecting diners bit into it to discover a hidden creamy, cool, sweet center. I knew I wanted to impress my colleagues, but felt I had to impress Mr. Computer Cutie.

I ended up baking seven dozen Farm Cakes over the course of two days, using the same 6-cup muffin tin (the only one I had at the time) over and over. The tiny sink could barely accommodate the dishes I washed, and by the time I was done, the walls were splattered with bits of cheesecake that had flown from the beaters on my hand mixer as I whipped up the cream cheese filling. But I was fairly confident the cakes would impress.  After all, I might have been too shy to spend five minutes chatting at the computer Help Desk, but I had supreme confidence in my prowess in the kitchen (no, silly, not that kind! I meant baking up sweet treats. Sheesh!).

In the end, the party was a huge success.  Dr. Misanthrope made a brief appearance, but he actually enjoyed himself for once (and Ms. BB never did show).  Professor Yenta enjoyed herself immensely, I met quite a few of the other teachers, and even forged a couple of friendships that continue to this day.  I was thrilled when people lingered until the wee hours of the morning, eventually snaking their way to the tiny bedroom where they fished through the hillock of coats and jackets to retrieve their own outwear before wishing me a Happy Holiday and heading out on their way.

The last guest to leave, though, was Computer Cutie.

Mission accomplished!

Sadly, the marriage only lasted a few short years. But colleagues requested those Farm Cakes at every faculty event for many Christmases to follow.

I still had the original recipe tucked away in my recipe folder.  And why toss a great recipe, just because it led to a failed marriage?

My new version, of course, is vegan, anti-candida friendly, gluten-free and low glycemic.  But you know what?  They tasted just as good to me as the original ones, way back when.  And even though I’ve been gluten-free for four years, I still baked a dozen cupcakes.  What to do with the extras?

I know: maybe I’ll throw a party. (Naw. . . . ).


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Last Year at this Time: Flash in the Pan: Ricki’s All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond)

Two Years Ago: Flash in the Pan: Creamy Pineapple-Mint Salad Dressing or Dip (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond)

Three Years Ago: Dog Day: Where’s Mum?

Four Years Ago: Radish and Grapefruit Salad (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond)

© Ricki Heller

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  1. Yum, a cupcake for every year GF, love that! It’s been awhile for me, I think Beth Hillson was one of the only companies around back then. Times have changed. Send any extra cupcakes my way!

  2. Ricki, this is a fantastic story from your, I mean this woman’s past baking experiences 🙂 And, I have to admit, these cupcakes look just as good! Can’t wait to try them out.

  3. That looks deliciousss!! an amazing surprise in those cupcakes!

  4. I saw the title pop up in my Google Reader and I may have sworn out loud because it sounded amazing. Then I saw the picture and swooned.

    No need to throw a party, Ricki, I accept deliveries. 😉

  5. Divine filling made with soaked cashews! That’s great since I am a cashew nut lover & your chocolate cupcakes look so irresistable too! 😉 A great & cool recipe! 🙂
    A real delight! 🙂

  6. Oh I wish I had been working in your department because I would have loved to have been at the party if only to sample the food – and of course to enjoy your company! Shame about starter husband, esp as a computer geek is always useful to have around these days (though in my experience, most of the computer help desk guys we have are either gormless or have personality problems – however I would have married the head of IT in the last place I worked because he was so helpful) And the cupcakes look excellent

    • You are so right, Johanna. . . I’ve wished I had a computer geek in the family many times over the past few years! 😉 I’ll just have to make do with the HH. 😀 And glad the cupcakes look good, too!

  7. That choco-holic fest (party) sounds so much like my family gatherings with each chocolate treat vying to out-star the next. My cousin used to go around and put a sample of everything chocolate on his plate BEFORE the meal. This is yet another recipe for the must-try stack of Ricki recipes!

    • Aw, thanks, Gretchen! I probably forgot about the other treats, but they weren’t *all* chocolate! And sounds like your cousin is my kinda guy. 😉

  8. Oooh… healthy cream filled choccie cupcakes?! Yummmm!!!

  9. Loved the story, Ricki, and I guessed the right answer, because what other option was there, right? The cup cakes look worthy of a marriage proposal (sorry) but I think I’ll make them to impress my granddaughter — and everyone else! 🙂 It’s so nice to see a cream-filled cupcake that’s not filled with coconut oil.

    • Yeah, I guess it was kinda obvious, eh? 😉 And I don’t know if I’ve ever seen those coconut-oil based recipes for cream. I often cringe when I see recipes for raw cheesecake that seem to be half coconut oil. . . it’s a “good” oil, but nothing in that quantity is good for you!

  10. Oh good god.

    And I too threw a party in college in my 400 square foot apartment in New York. The party ended when our toilet overflowed. Good times!

  11. These look gorgeous. I cannot imagine throwing a huge party in my first tiny apartment – you have guts!

  12. Ricki – these look awesome! And I love that they’re sugar free – delicious. I can’t wait to make and share these with my family 🙂 xo

    • Thanks, Alyssa! 😀 There’s just that bit of coconut sugar in the cupcake base, but I guess it’s not as bad as refined, right? 🙂

  13. This is such a great story, Ricki! Love it! I was actually guessing answer C on your question – hey I work in IT, I’ve seen it happen! lol! It is so awesome you did a party for that many people! Wow! Can’t wait to try your cupcakes!

    • Ha, ha!! Maybe the fishnets were not quite appropriate for an English prof at school, though! 😉 I think, in the end, people were coming in and leaving throughout the evening, so I’m not sure if I had all 70 there at the same time. . .but it was mega crowded, for sure! Glad you liked the cupcakes. 🙂

  14. Haha Ricki I loved this story, one of my faves for sure! I definitely picked the right one, even though I was shocked that you actually did THAT 🙂 This is a fabulous recipe, who wouldn’t want to bite into these?

    • Thanks, Maggie! But not sure what was so shocking. . . ?! I mean, I was an infatuated 20-something, right? 😉 And the recipe was, indeed, a huge hit. 🙂

  15. Frederique says

    YUM, these look really good, but i thought baking with stevia made it bitter? Maybe i was told wrongly…whats the glycemic index of coconut sugar, do you know?
    Its nice to have someone to look for recipes to now that im anti-candida too! And I’m from Montreal, so this website of yours is extra special 😉

    • Thanks so much, Frederique, and for your comment! 🙂 Stevia can make chocolate bitter if it’s the only sweetener used. I usually combine the stevia with something else (like coconut sugar) to prevent that bitter aftertaste. I also use NuNaturals stevia, which I find has no aftertaste. From what I’ve read, coconut sugar’s GI is between 20 and 35 or thereabouts. . . quite low. And so nice to read that you’re from La Belle Ville! 😀

  16. Oh no you didn’t!! Seriously amazing Ricki. Only you could take an over-the-top Gourmet recipe and turn it into an over-the-top healthy recipe!

    • Ha ha!! A bit over the top, yes. 😉 I considered adding frosting ON TOP of all that. . . but decided to leave well enough alone. 😀

  17. These are mouth-watering! I think we now have an excuse for our next office party 😉 Thanks for a great recipe keeping so many allergies in mind!

    • Thanks so much, Melaina! All of my recipes are gluten free, egg free and dairy free, but I do try to keep other allergies (like soy, nuts, etc) in mind when I cook and bake! 🙂

  18. Oh my goodness. What are you trying to do to me. These look incredibly dangerous. I think I would have to eat far too many of them just to get enough of that filling! LOL

    • It is quite possible–and this is just hypothetical, mind you–to pull off the top of the cupcake like an Oreo top and just eat the filling. . . just a rumor I’ve heard. 😉

  19. Oh, Ricki! Why is it that these love stories end as hoped (well, for a few years at least 😛 ) for everyone else? But no, no, I shan’t mope about this all over again, for you’ve been a goddess of my heart, helping me have trust in the future in that regard! 😉

    Gorgeous, gorgeous recipe! I’m in awe of your ability to create magically delicious and healthy recipes out of extravagant recipes I’d normally have no interest in. Superwoman!

  20. Those are truly gorgeous cupcakes!

  21. Be still my heart!!!! These look incredible.

  22. Seriously? These look out of control amazing. Outstanding recipe, Ricki!


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