Monday, March 31, 2014

Nutella Bomb Cupcakes

I did something new for my birthday this year and took a trip with my closest friends from nursing school. Originally I wanted to take a week long trip to some sort of sunny destination but in order to be able to accommodate everyone's schedules and budgets I settled for a weekend trip to Whistler instead.

Rather than bake a cake and worry about transporting it to Whistler, I decided to make two different kinds of cupcakes and was able to get some plastic carriers from the local store. One of the recipes I had previously seen a few weeks ago and couldn't get out of my head due to its fun name: "Nutella Bomb Cupcakes".

At first I considered mixing it with another recipe that featured a Nutella filling, to really make it full of Nutella, however once I baked the cupcakes I saw that they were quite soft and moist and I wasn't too sure they could stand up to a filling. Nevertheless they were delicious and personally my favorite between the two types I baked. This cupcake experience confirmed that I prefer a Swiss meringue buttercream instead of regular American buttercream as I often find the latter too sweet while the Swiss meringue buttercream is just right, despite being more tedious to make.

Nutella Bomb Cupcakes
Makes about 12-13 cupcakes (The recipe actually is for 13 but I slightly overfilled my 12 and it turned out fine).

For the cupcakes:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder 
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¾ cups room temperature water
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Add the oil and sour cream and mix until blended.
  3. Add the water in ¼ cup at a time and mix until combined.
  4. Mix in the vinegar and vanilla to blend.
  5. Add the egg and mix until combined.
  6. Divide the batter equally in a well-greased or cupcake-lined tray.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out almost clean. 
  8. Cool for five minutes in the pan before removing and allowing to finish cooling on wire racks. 
For the Frosting:
Note: I made half of the original recipe because personally I don't like too much frosting and the recipe claimed to make more than enough. I actually did not have enough to frost the last cupcake but I was okay with that. The recipe below is the original amounts.
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 4 oz (113 grams) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups (16 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 2" chunks
  • ½ cup Nutella
  1. Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large heat-proof bowl.
  2. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (making sure it does not actually touch the water). 
  3. Heat the egg white mixture until it reaches 145-150 degrees Fahrenheit, whisking frequently so as not to get scrambled eggs.
  4. Remove the bowl from the heat, and whip the egg whites on medium-high until they become fluffy and double in volume. The bowl should be cool to the touch (this will usually take several minutes).
  5. Turn the mixer down to medium low, and add the butter in one chunk at a time, until it has all been incorporated. If the mixture looks curdled at this point, this is normal. Just keep whipping for a few more minutes until it comes together. If the mixture looks soupy, you can add a few cubes of chilled butter, or stick the whole bowl in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes and then continue beating.
  6. Once the buttercream has become smooth, add the Nutella and beat until incorporated.
  7. Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.

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