Last summer, on the eve of a 12 hour drive home from Tofino, I made a batch of cupcakes. Self-frosting Nutella cupcakes, to use up the last of the jar, and to provide a car treat that wouldn’t make a sticky mess. Frosting can be a nightmare to transport, and can slide/melt/knock about/wind up not as pretty as when you put it on. Swirling some Nutella into the batter before baking creates a sort of self-frosted cake – or at least one that requires no further adornment. Perfect for parties, lunch boxes, after-school snacks, or any occasion that might call for a Nutella cupcake.
The cupcakes were a hit, but dense and heavy, and readers here were experiencing disappointing, dry results. The batter was thick – presumably to make it possible to swirl the Nutella on top – but there’s a way around that… giving the Nutella a quick zap in the microwave softens it, making it easy to swirl into a lighter batter. The concept of these cupcakes is so fab, it was worthwhile to take another run at them. So I did.
It’s a simple batter… 1 of 8made with half vegetable oil, half butter for a moist cake with less saturated fat. The addition of milk loosened it up a bit.
Spoon it into paper-lined cups… 2 of 8filling them each almost full.
You could bake them as is… 3 of 8but why not add a swirl of Nutella?
I made a small indent in some… 4 of 8to give the Nutella somewhere to settle, and swirl out from. Not essential, but worth a try with a small spoon.
Warming the Nutella helps… 5 of 8The previous batch had thick batter to support the even thicker Nutella, and allow it to be swirled through. Warm, soft Nutella is easier to swirl through softer cake batter.
Use a bamboo skewer or tip of a knife… 6 of 8to swirl through both, creating a marbled effect.
Kids love this job… 7 of 8and can make hearts and other patterns in the contrasty batter.
Bake until golden… 8 of 8and springy to the touch. Tip them in their tins to help steam escape. Eat warm or cooled.
Self-frosting Nutella Cupcakes
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola or mild vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk or half & half
1/2 cup(ish) Nutella
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt; add half to the butter mixture and beat on low speed just until combined. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then add the remaining flour mixture and beat just until combined.
Divide the batter between 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Spoon the Nutella into a small microwave-safe dish and microwave it for 10-20 seconds, until softened but not liquefied. Drop a spoonful of Nutella on top of each, and swirl through the batter with the tip of a bamboo skewer, knife or other pointy object. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until springy to the touch. Tilt them in the pan to help them cool.
Makes a dozen cupcakes.
More on Babble: 20 addictive Nutella recipes