Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Nutella cupcakes

Heartache.  It freakin’ sucks.  Skinny people will tell you that comfort eating your way through it is not the answer.  Luckily for us, I’m not skinny; so if you’re reading this with an achy breaky heart, I say go for it, crack open that packet of chocolate Hobnobs (heck, you can run it off afterwards if you really want)!  Food is the most comforting thing I know, so when someone very close to me recently had her heart broken, I did what is only right and baked.

What does one bake for someone with a broken heart?  Nutella cupcakes of course!  I have both the Primrose Bakery and the Hummingbird Bakery cookbooks at home and each has a recipe for Nutella cupcakes.  The former’s makes a cinnamon sponge with Nutella swirled through the batter before baking.  Appealing, but not enough chocolate if you ask me.  The latter’s uses a chocolate sponge.  Once baked, you then scoop a hole out of the top of each cupcake and place a generous dollop of glossy Nutella inside before covering with a swirl of Nutella buttercream.  Now we’re talking!  The main adaptation I made was placing a toasted hazelnut in the middle of each hole in addition to the Nutella, so that when you get to the middle of the cupcake, there’s a double whammy of chocolate spread and a hazelnut waiting for you.  Yummo!

These cupcakes may not mend a broken heart, but they are so hot-diggetty darn good that when you bite into the soft, moist sponge and hit the hidden Nutella and hazelnut in the middle, I promise you will momentarily forget the douchebag responsible for your chow-down.

One personal piece of post-match analysis: if I were to make these cuppy-cakes again, I’d consider replacing the buttercream with a chocolate mascarpone icing as the buttercream makes them almost tooth-achingly sweet - great for kids, but perhaps a bit too much sugar for the grown up palate.

Makes approx. 10 cupcakes using cases with a 5cm base diameter

For the cake:
100g plain flour, sifted
20g cocoa powder, sifted
1½ tsp baking powder
140g caster sugar
40g butter, at room temperature
120ml whole milk
1 large egg
220g Nutella (I didn’t really weigh mine, but 220g should cover it)
10 toasted hazelnuts

For the buttercream:
250g icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
25ml whole milk
80g Nutella

Preheat oven to 160C fan and line a cupcake tray with paper cases.

Put the flour, cocoa, baking powder, caster sugar and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (K-beater) and beat on a slow speed until it is of a sandy consistency.

Slowly pour in the milk, beating well until combined, then add the egg and continue to beat.

Spoon into the cases, filling each case up to about two-thirds.  Bake for 20-22 minutes.

Once cooled, use a teaspoon or melon baller to hollow a small section out of the top of each cupcake.  Fill the hollow with a hazelnut and then a generous spoon of Nutella.

For the frosting, beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment.  Once well combined, slowly add the milk.  Once incorporated, turn the mixer to a high speed and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy (this will take 5 to 10 minutes).  Finally, add the Nutella and beat again until combined.  Pipe or spoon onto the cupcakes.

N.B. I crumbled up the hollowed-out cupcake tops and used them to decorate the cupcakes once frosted.