Chocolate cupcakes with Nutella frosting

It’s been a while since I’ve made cupcakes, and in making some thank you packages for people who’ve helped me out with my business school applications, I decided the occasion was certainly special enough to warrant a bit of extra baking work.  Cupcake/cake batter itself is incredibly easy to make – I find it typically comes together in 10 minutes or less and it’s just the frosting that takes a bit of extra time.  Honestly, the cake part is important, but a cupcake is really made by the quality of the frosting, and that is why I was delighted to find this extraordinary Nutella frosting recipe.  Nutella is a key ingredient for a happy life and I sincerely believe it should be added to as many things as possible, so really it’s shocking I haven’t tried making a frosting with it before.  This was my first time but it definitely will not be my last.  Even if you are not in the mood for cupcakes, make this frosting and frost something with it.  You will not regret it.

Chocolate cupcakes with Nutella frosting (adapted from Sweetapolita)


For cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup (95 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) white sugar
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) dark cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3.5 g) baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3.5 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (4 g) salt
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) buttermilk (I just used regular milk)
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) brewed coffee or espresso, hot
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil – I actually didn’t have any so I just used olive oil
  • 1 egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) pure vanilla extract
For the Nutella frosting:
  • 1 cup (227 g)(2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but cool (I used less butter, about 200 g)
  • 1-1/2 cups (190 g) icing sugar (confectioners’), sifted
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (125 g) premium bittersweet chocolate, chopped, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/3 cup (100 g) Nutella
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) milk
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F and line a muffin/cupcake pan with your favourite cupcake liners.  In a large bowl, combine the milk, coffee, oil, egg, and vanilla.  Then measure in the salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  Add in the sugar, followed by the cocoa powder and flour, and stir in gently until just combined.  The batter will be quite liquidy but that’s fine.  Divide batter among (2/3 full or just less) liners.  Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs. Carefully remove cupcakes from the pan immediately (it’s hot!), and place them on a wire rack until completely cool.  You can speed this up by putting them in the fridge. (Frosting warm cupcakes is a terrible idea.)

Then, for the frosting, cream the butter and sugar together. (Yes I realise it’s an unholy amount of butter.  That’s what icing is all about, my friends.)  You can also use a stand mixer for this of course; I just happen to not have one.   At this point, you should have already melted the chocolate and have it sitting nearby so it cools off.  Add the vanilla and mix, followed by the melted chocolate.  Then add the Nutella, a pinch of salt, beat more, and finally the milk to get it to spreadable consistency.

Frost your cupcakes with a pretty piping bag if you have one and if not just slather it on with a knife.  I like decorating with sprinkles and/or chocolate chips.

IMG_6225The wet ingredients

IMG_6226Mixing in sugar and cocoa powder

IMG_6234The finished batter – needs a bit more stirring at this point as the oil is separating a bit, but just give it a good stir before putting it into the cupcake liners and it won’t be a problem

IMG_6236The tremendous amount of butter for the frosting

IMG_6237Mixing in nutella and melted chocolate.  If your frosting feels too liquidy at the end you can always add more powdered sugar, and if it’s too solid, add a bit more milk

IMG_6238Finished product – definitely should have put way more frosting on than I did because it’s so good.  However, I then had some left over for other uses, so can’t complain about that.

These were absolutely amazing.  The chocolate cupcake was good (nothing to write home about, but a good moist crumb), but the nutella frosting was to die for.  It is so good that you will feel compelled to put it on everything.  I’ve had guests in town so I frosting some brownies with it and made some cookie sandwiches with it as well.  Do not worry if you have too much of this frosting, because it will be put to good use.  Next time I make it I might add even a bit more nutella.  it’s delightfully light and airy and the chocolate hazelnut combination really goes fabulously with anything.  These cupcakes are a great gift for any special occasion!

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