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Rich chocolate cupcakes with a deliciously creamy strawberry filling and a fudgy cream-cheese frosting, all made from scratch.

Step 1: The Filling, Part 1

Let's start with the strawberry filling for the cupcakes.  You will need:

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1 pint fresh strawberries*

Place the cream cheese**, egg, sugar and salt in a medium sized bowl.  Blend the ingredients together until everything is evenly mixed and there are no significant lumps.  Add in the mascarpone cheese and mix until the filling is smooth and even in consistency.  The filling should be thick enough to stick to the spoon without falling off easily, if it seems too thin you can add either more cream cheese or more mascarpone to thicken it up a bit.

*note: the entire pint of strawberries will not be needed for the filling, what is left can be used for decorating or eaten as a snack

**note: Make sure the cream cheese is very soft before starting; otherwise it can be hard to mix smoothly. I'd advise letting it sit on the counter for awhile rather than microwaving, as the microwave always seems to melt it a bit.

Step 2: The Filling, Part 2

Now that the filling base is done, take a handful of strawberries*, about 8 medium sized berries, and dice them.  You want an even dice that is small enough to not be too noticeable in the filling.  Add the strawberries to the mixture and stir them in, making sure they are evenly distributed through the filling.  You can now set the filling in the fridge as it is done for the moment.

*note: make sure the berries are well rinsed and then pat them dry with a paper towel to remove the extra moisture

Step 3: The Cupcake

For the cake part of the cupcake you will need:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups water
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Then add in the oil, water, vinegar and vanilla and stir until they are all blended together.

Step 4: The Baking

Now to put the cupcake together.  You will need:

1 oven
1 muffin tin (at least)
24 paper cupcake liners*
1 bowl of strawberry filling
1 bowl of chocolate cupcake mix

First, set your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Then, either get out enough muffin pans to make 24 full-sized cupcakes at once, or consign yourself to doing this in batches**.   Put paper liners on the muffin tin and then fill each portion between 1/4 and 1/3 of the way full of cupcake mix.  Next, place a spoon full of the strawberry filling in each portion.  I like to use a heaping tablespoon, but the amount is up to you.  To finish off the cupcake, top each portion off with more cupcake mix, at least enough to cover the filling.  Bake the cupcakes for approximately 25 minutes***.  Once the cupcakes are done, let them sit for at least 15 minutes to cool.
 
*note: the foil ones don't peel off as easily as the paper ones, so I would advise against using them.

**note: If you do not have any muffin tins then you have no business trying to make cupcakes.  You could attempt to be creative with cake pans, but I have no idea if that would work.  Let me know if you try it.

***note: bake time depends on the oven.  I would check them around 22 minutes for done-ness.  The top should be soft but dry.

Step 5: The Frosting

To make the frosting for the cupcakes, you will need:

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Place the softened butter and cream cheese in a medium sized bowl and blend until completely mixed.  Add the vanilla extract and mix well.  Next, add the confectioners' sugar and gently* stir it in until it is completely combined.  Finally, add the cocoa powder and mix it all together until smooth.

*note: the gently is more to prevent you from getting confectioners' sugar everywhere than from any culinary reason.
 
 

Step 6: The Finishing Step

To finish your cupcakes you will need:

24 strawberry bomb chocolate cupcakes
1 bowl of chocolate cream-cheese icing*
any decorations you feel like using

Frost the cupcakes with the frosting and decorate as you wish.  I used the remainder of the pint of strawberries along with a tube of Betty Crocker green icing.

*note: if you don't like cream-cheese frostings, you can use any other type of icing you like, though I would recommend sticking with either chocolate or strawberry flavors.
I will make it for my boy friend. I believe he will be happy.

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