These moist, rich cupcakes work best when made with a plain devil's food cake mix—one that doesn't contain pudding.Plus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. In a large bowl, beat the devil's food cake mix with the cream cheese, water, vegetable oil, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla at low speed until smooth.
Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them two-thirds full. Bake until springy to the touch and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer the muffin pans to a wire rack and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, butter and milk and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring until dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips until melted. Transfer the frosting to a bowl and let cool until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Dip the top of each cupcake in the frosting and return to the wire rack. Garnish the cupcakes with the almonds and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until the frosting is set, before serving.
The frosted chocolate cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container overnight.