Junior's little fella chocolate swirls


2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature, divided use
2/3 cup sugar, divided use
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Hot fudge ice cream topping (optional, for serving)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with silicone, foil, parchment or paper liners.

Put one package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl a few times.

Blend in the remaining package of cream cheese. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, then the vanilla.

Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the cream just until it is completely blended. Be careful to not overmix.

Remove 3/4 cup of the batter and stir in the cocoa powder. Set aside. Divide the remaining white batter among the 12 muffin cups. Drop a heaping teaspoon of the chocolate batter in the center of each, pushing it down slightly. Using a small knife, cut through the batter just until dark swirls appear.

Place the muffin tin in a large shallow pan, place pan in the oven, then add hot water until it comes about 1 inch up the sides of the tin.

Bake the cakes until set and slightly puffy, about 45 minutes. Remove the cakes from the water bath, transfer the tin to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours.

Cover the cakes with plastic wrap (do not remove from the tin) and put in the freezer until cold, at least 1 hour. Top cakes with hot fudge sauce if desired.

Makes 12 servings