Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes

In my department (The Finance Department - where everybody counts!) at work everyone used to be responsible for someone's birthday - you'd pick up a card (have everyone sign it), pick up a dessert and we would all sing happy birthday and enjoy the sweet treat. This year, we decided to do things a little different where we would celebrate just once a month (when there was a birthday) because some months we were having three or four cakes! April and October are two of the big months with lots of birthdays. Don't get me wrong, I love cake just as the next person, but when you are trying to watch your waistline, four cakes is a lot!

We had our first celebration in January and someone mentioned, "why doesn't just Christina make the goodies every month". I giggled, but was actually excited that the group wanted me to make the treats. As long as I wasn't sick, busy or had something else going on, I was up for it. Why not? I love to bake and better way then to test some recipes out on my co-workers. Don't worry co-workers, I won't make anything too weird. Although, I do have a garlic cupcake I want to try. I kid. Well, I kid about the part where I will make them for you. I really might make these and am willing to take volunteers to tell me what they think.

Next came February and Dennis' birthday. I know he likes tres leches cake and even requested tiramisu, but I had made tiramiau cupcakes before for Jen's wedding shower and was worried a tres leches cake might be too gooey for a cupcake. I wanted to make something chocolatey, rich and oh so good. I did a bit of googling and couldn't come up with anything that really stuck out. And then I remembered a Giada episode I had watched at the gym the previous week (I really need to stop watching the Food Network at the gym). She had made her own nutella. Perfect! Who doesn't love nutella, right? Mmm hazelnuts and chocolate. I could seriously eat that stuff with a spoon from the jar. Okay, okay. I did that when I was making these cupcakes. Don't judge. It was just one spoonful. Okay, maybe two. That was it though.

Then the chocolate cupcake filled with nutella and topped with a nutella buttercream was born. How heavenly does that sound? The cupcake is light, but moist and so so so chocolatey. The buttercream is airy, but has such a rich nutella-y flavor. The pure nutella filling is just over the top delicious and is a must. When all done, these cupcakes are heavy and are definitely a fork and plate kind of cupcake! The cupcakes were a big hit amongst the group and not to toot my own horn or anything, but several people told me this was the best cupcake they'd ever eaten. One person even said that this was a chocolate lovers dream! I couldn't believe all the good things people were saying. I even was asked if I took orders and if I'd be willing to make cupcakes for an upcoming event someone was having. Whoa. I know the cupcake was good, but was it that good? Maybe you will have to make these and see for yourself!

ingredients - I used instant coffee here, but if you have regular coffee brewing go ahead and use that.

wet + dry

wet going into dry

this recipes makes a lot of cupakes

look at this cool cupcake corer Ryan bought me. Thanks Ryan!

filled with nutella! I put the nutella in a ziploc and just piped into the holes.

topped with nutella buttercream and gold sprinkles!

Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes (slightly adapted from

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (I used instant coffee to make mine)

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 13-ounce jar of nutella (I used the biggest jar I could find so I could have it for the buttercream and filling or you can just buy two 13-ounce jars)
pinch of fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6-8 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Place the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Using a large scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells, filling each well 2/3 full (be careful not to fill them too much or you will have overflowing cupcakes that are hard to get out of the pan). Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, use a small paring knife, apple corer or a cupcake corer to remove a small amount of the center of the cupcake. Fill each hole with nutella using a spoon, piping bag or ziploc bag (with the corner cut off).

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and nutella until well combined. Slowly add in powdered sugar, and continue creaming until well blended Add salt, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk. Blend on low speed until moist. Add an additional 3-5 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.  Frost cupcakes and enjoy!

This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes and they freeze really well. If there are any extras, wrap each one in plastic wrap and place in a ziploc bag for up to three months. When you are ready to eat one, take out and let defrost on the counter or in the fridge. There may be a little bit of "dew" on the cupcake as it defrosts, but that is okay. It will still taste like the best cupcake you've ever had!

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