There are three parts to this cupcake: chocolate cake, Nutella, and Nutella buttercream frosting. I love the combination of chocolate and hazelnut, therefore I love Nutella, therefor I love Nutella cupcakes (the law of syllogisms at work!). I actually want to kick myself for all the time I spent not eating Nutella. I think I first tried it when we moved to Germany. I must have been about six, and for a long time I didn't like nuts or things that were too sweet. I've outgrown both those phases, thankfully. I just didn't take to the chocolate-hazelnut spread, and avoided it until last year. I purchased it on a whim, and thank goodness I did. It is back in my life where it belongs.
Another confession. The cake part is not completely made from scratch. We had a busy weekend; pulling ivy, pressure washing our driveway to remove the paint the bank put on it, and general running around. So I kind of cheated. I used a Devil's Food cake mix as the base and doctored it up. It's still delicious. Moist and flavorful, and does not taste at all like a box mix. Sometimes you've got to use shortcuts when they are available to you.
A few lessons learned: Nutella does not pipe well into cupcakes. I tried to use the piping tip from the decorating set my sister got me. I ended up with a very large mess. The apple corer technique works much better. I also tried using a round decorator's tip to pipe the icing, but let's just say the result was not appetizing. I've only gotten as far as star tips. Oh, I'm a big believer in different music to cook different things by, and Supreme Being's of Leisure's Never the Same is perfect music to pipe frosting to. That smooth, jazzy thing they do just helps get you into the groove. After that song I listened to David Byrne's Look into the Eye-Ball because, well, I can always listen to that.
|These will be garnished with a piece of a chocolate-hazelnut candy bar|
Here is where I got my inspiration and the recipe for Nutella Buttercream Frosting. The recipe I used for the cake is below:
1 pkg devil's food cake mix (with pudding in the mix)
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Either with an electric mixer or a wire whisk, slowly combine all ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then mix vigorously until batter looks well combined.
Divide batter among cupcake liners and bake for 20-23 minutes, or until tops look firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before filling.