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. Smart, right?
The truth is frosting can be a nightmare to transport, and can slide/melt/knock about/wind up not as pretty as when you put it on, but 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.
That said, while the cupcakes were a hit, they were also dense and heavy (and some readers were experiencing disappointing, dry results). But there’s a way around that: give the Nutella a quick zap in the microwave to soften it; this make it easier to swirl and creates a lighter batter. And trust me: the concept of these cupcakes is so fab, it was worthwhile to take another run at them. So I did.
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.