Dark Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes

darkchocnutella3
At least a few times per week, I walk by a cupcake truck on my way home from work. There is also a Crumbs Bake Shop just a few blocks away from my office building. Needless to say, I have definitely had my fair share of cupcakes over the past few months. Even though there are plenty of options for purchasing gourmet cupcakes in Boston, I always enjoy, and even prefer, making my own.
darkchocnutella2Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting are my go-to cupcake combination. I planned to bake a batch last weekend until I noticed half a jar of Nutella sitting in one of my kitchen cabinets. The idea to make a batch of chocolate cupcakes with Nutella frosting instantly came to mind. In the end, the Nutella frosting might have been my favorite part of these cupcakes. I often find frostings to be loaded with sugar and way too sweet. This frosting was light, airy and not overly sweet at all. It was the perfect pairing to the rich dark chocolate cupcakes. I highly recommend Dutch-process cocoa powder instead of regular unsweeteened cocoa powder for this recipe. It gives the cupcakes a rich chocolate flavor that is just perfect. I generally buy my Dutch-process cocoa powder from King Arthur Flour if you can’t find it in stores.

Dark Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes
 
Ingredients
Cupcakes:
  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp hot water
  • 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1⅔ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sour cream
Frosting:
  • 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1cup Nutella
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin pans with liners and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. Set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer the mixture to an electric mixer. Beat on low speed until cooled, about 5-6 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Add the vanilla and the cocoa mixture. Continuing mixing until fully incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the sour cream. Mix until just combined.
  4. Stop the mixer. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes in the pans before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. While the cupcakes are cooling, start preparing the frosting. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and Nutella until light and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and the milk. Mix until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar. Eventually increase the speed to medium-high and continue mixing until light and smooth.
  6. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Frost fully cooled cupcakes.

 Source: Cupcake recipe from Annie’s Eats, Nutella Buttercream recipe from Handle the Heat

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