Nutella is a European chocolate hazelnut spread; it’s popular in Italy, slathered on toast for breakfast. I love the stuff and will admit to having eaten it more than once directly off the spoon (I know, it’s not a health food, but sometimes a girl’s gotta have her chocolate fix!). I’ve been wanting to use Nutella in cupcakes for a while, and this recent Fall-like weather inspired me to finally do it! I’d seen some recipes for Nutella cake online but they all seemed very heavy – I wanted the flavor of Nutella in a nice, light cake. So I adapted my Asti-Spumante cupcake recipe I posted last week (by adapted I mean really heavily adapted, this cake ended up having a totally different flavor and texture!). The result?
A delicate, fluffy chocolatey cupcake that’s not cloyingly sweet. If you haven’t figured it out by now I like my desserts on the less-sweet side, but I love lots of flavor. The nutella shone through as the star of this cupcake, supported by a good dark chocolate base. The texture was anything but heavy – in fact, one of my cupcakes was so delicate that the top came off as I was trying to gently remove it from my pan – and the cakes rose to pretty peaks in the oven.
If you like Nutella, or if you’re looking for a good, easy chocolate cake recipe, you’ll love this! It comes together in one bowl, doesn’t involve sifting flour or beating egg whites, and tastes incredible.
Elisa’s Nutella Cupcakes
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 3/4 cup Nutella
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup strong coffee*
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 3/4 cup** cocoa powder (I only had the “normal” stuff at home; if you have Dutch process cocoa powder you may want to use less because the flavor is stronger)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
The #1 most important part of the process when making this recipe? Scrape the sides of the bowl and the beater often! Nutella is sticky stuff!
Beat together butter, Nutella, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until shiny and well-incorporated. Add coffee, milk, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and flour (yes, I said add everything at once; I did it and it works like a charm here). Mix slowly to prevent flour flying everywhere, and then beat until well-incorporated and fluffy. Divide into 18 baking cups and bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
Cool and frost with Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below). These cupcakes are extremely delicate and on the drier side (surprisingly, given the amount of Nutella in them), so I wouldn’t recommend keeping them for more than a day or two.
Elisa’s Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting***
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1/2 cup Nutella
- 4 oz softened cream cheese
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp cream
- 2 cups powdered sugar
Using an electric mixer, beat all ingredients until light, fluffy, and fully combined. Frosts 18 cupcakes. This is a sweet frosting, between the sugar and the Nutella; I think it provides a nice contrast with the cake!
I tried really hard to get a good photo… I think I need to get myself a camera that doesn’t freak out when there’s low light!
*I’ve been thinking a lot about the texture of these. I love the delicate softness. But they’re a teeny bit on the dry side. So I had a quick idea about how to help keep them moist – substitute coffee- or chocolate-flavored liquor (Kahlua or a Starbucks liquor or something similar) for the coffee. Let me know if you try this!
**My husband tells me that I should rename these “Dark Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes”, and he’s right – they definitely have an intense chocolatey flavor. If you like a sweeter chocolate flavor, I’d say you should halve the cocoa.
***So according to my friend Danielle’s comment (below), the “cupcakes are a vehicle for the frosting”. If you feel this way too, be prepared to double the frosting recipe! 🙂