Chocolate Cupcakes with Creamy Nutella Frosting
- Chocolate Cupcakes
- 1 cup (240ml) water
- 1/2 cup (64g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 and 1/3 cups (167g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Creamy Nutella Frosting
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups (240g) confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 cup (222g) Nutella
- 3-4 Tablespoons (45-60ml) heavy cream*
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- salt to taste
- decorative candies (optional)
Adapted from sallysbakingaddiction.com
Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Line 14 muffin cups with liners.
Over high heat, bowl the water in a small saucepan. Pour the unsweetened cocoa powder into a medium sized bowl and mix with boiling water until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature by placing in the refrigerator as you prepare the other ingredients.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric hand or stand mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat only until *just* combined. In a steady stream, add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.
Fill each muffin tin 3/4 of the way full with batter. Bake for 16-19 minutes, keeping an eye on them to avoid even the slightest burning (which will lend dry cupcakes). My cupcakes took 17 minutes and a toothpick inserted in the middle came out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool before frosting.
Make the frosting: Beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy. You want a very creamy base before adding anything else. See my extensive notes about this in the post above. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and continue to beat on medium speed. The mixture will be fairly thick. Add the Nutella and continue to beat on medium speed. Add 3 Tablespoons of heavy cream and the vanilla extract. If the frosting is too thick, add more heavy cream (1 Tablespoon measurements at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar (1/4 cup measurements at a time). Taste the frosting and add salt to cut the sweetness. I added about 1/4 teaspoon of salt to mine.
Frost cooled cupcakes with frosting and decorate with candies as desired. Cupcakes taste best the day of or 1 day after they are made. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
*Replacing the heavy cream in the frosting with milk or half-and-half will result in a less creamy consistency.