Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Anatomy of the Perfect Nutella Cupcake


If I haven't already mentioned it, Nutella cupcakes are definitely one of my favorite cupcakes. I have made cupcakes and cakes out of this thing so many times I have lost count. It is somewhat of a specialty cake so I do save it for special occasions. For instance I made them at my son's 3rd birthday party, for Christmas, for Valentines, for when our long time friend came to eat with us etc. I don't like to be boring though so each time the icing or decoration would be a bit different.

The Nutella cake alone is delicious but with icing, it's a-ma-zing! Even when I messed up and completely forgot to put the egg yolks in, it still tasted good. Lol. A bit oily and weird but still good :) When I ran out of rum, I made it without and it also tasted great! So don't worry about the rum. It doesn't make a huge difference if you leave it out ;)

Nutella cake and cupcakes are great with ganache, swiss meringue buttercream, chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, fondant etc. You can't really go wrong with this cake. Unless you burn the cake, of course :) My favorite used to be with chocolate swiss meringue buttercream but recently, I mixed up a nutella swiss meringue buttercream that I just fell in love with. Omg. It tasted like heaven. It had a tint of Nutella flavor in it and was much lighter in color, compared to the chocolate buttercream. The frosting was a beautiful contrast on top of the dark cupcake. It was sweet, but not overly sweet, and was slightly salty from the Nutella. I can't wait to make this again! It basically follows the swiss meringue buttercream method but I sort of half-ed the butter, half-ed the sugar, then added maybe 1/2 to 3/4 cups of Nutella. Something like that (?). Haha. I am such a hacker. If you are interested in a detailed recipe for this frosting, let me know in the comments below and I can measure out and write it down next time ;) This frosting would be excellent on other types of cake as well. Or even cookies! I tried a Nutella cloud frosting once and it was ridiculously sweet. Sorry Sweetapolita :( It looked beautiful and it came from a trusted source but I really don't like desserts that are too sweet. Again, I grew up eating Chinese sponge cakes with lots of fruit and whip cream :)

Recently, our out of town friend came to visit us. She stayed with us for two days and I wanted to shower her with great food and desserts. Like any good host would, you know? :) My friend is great and she's always great to us as well. She bought our 4 year old a Star Wars Lego and instantly became his BFF. Lol. I cooked Vietnamese for her this time and for dessert, I made Nutella cupcakes. She never had mine before so I just couldn't resist. They actually turned out to be remarkably perfect that I decided to make a blog post out of them. When my friend saw them for the first time, she told me that I should open up a cupcake shop because they looked amazing. To that, my usual response was "yeah, yeah but no." But I love her for saying that :)

Mommy's little helper hard at work.








So what constitutes the perfect Nutella cupcake? In my opinion, it needs to meet a certain cake to frosting ratio, and have a good balance of nuts and chocolate. The cake needs to be moist but still hold it together after each bite. It needs to look appealing and taste so spectacular that you wouldn't even care how many calories were in it. Lol. It's funny because when I first tweeted this cupcake, I concluded the tweet with "5000 calories." Every response I got was that it looked great and would be worth every calorie. Honestly, what would be worst than ingesting 5000 calories for something that tasted bad? Oh, I would cry.

My perfect Nutella cupcake contains cake, chocolate swiss meringue buttercream center, Nutella swiss meringue buttercream top, ganache, and a ferrero rocher chocolate ball. It sounds like a lot but with the right proportion together we have achieved the perfect marriage of hazelnut, chocolate and buttercream. And really it's just a medium size cupcake so you'll always have room for it ;)


Bonus: It's GLUTEN-FREE! My friend and I were talking about gluten free bakes since she bought some from Victoria to take back to a friend in California. She raved about how great they were and that she couldn't believe they were gluten-free. That got be thinking and then after looking at all the ingredients and reading the back of labels, I told her that my Nutella cupcakes, without the chocolate ball, were gluten-free too. If you are allergic to gluten or on a gluten-free diet, remove the ball and all is good! They definitely aren't vegan but hooray for being gluten-free cupcakes!

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