Full disclosure: I don’t understand the craze over Nutella.
I don’t dislike Nutella, but it’s not on my radar in terms of things I want to eat. I think one of the things that turns me off is how sweet it is. I mean, it has as much sugar as cake frosting. I would so rather have peanut butter, almond butter, or hell, just plain butter on my toast any day.
I guess my feeling on Nutella is that it’s a dessert. In how it tastes, but also if you peak at the ingredients and nutritional info it sure qualifies as dessert. Yet somehow it snuck its way into the breakfast and snack categories. Well played, Nutella.
But I mean, who am I to judge? Muffins = cake, pancakes = flat cake, scones = glorified pie crust. And I haven’t met too many muffins, pancakes, or scones I wasn’t willing to eat first thing in the morning.
To each her own.
I realize most people just love Nutella though, and while I won’t be starting my mornings with it any time soon, I am certainly not adverse to using it in desserts. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of baking, it’s if you want people to go nuts over something you’ve made, you’d better put Nutella in it.
But I have a secret.
Even for my “Nutella” recipes, I don’t actually use Nutella. I use Nocciolata. Organic, and made with ingredients that can be read and recognized, Nocciolata is imported straight from Italy; in my opinion, it is far superior to the Ferrero product everyone seems to love. Yes, I like that I can feel a little better about the ingredients and their sources, but mostly I just think the flavor of Nocciolata tops Nutella. I urge you to try it and see if you agree!
Every time I break out this frosting, I have multiple people tell me it is the best frosting he or she has ever had. While I don’t necessarily have a favorite frosting, this one is certainly in my winner’s circle. Just hearing the words “Nutella Buttercream” makes me feel a cavity forming, so I opt for a cream cheese base in this recipe. It adds so much flavor and prevents any overpowering sweetness. A hefty pinch of salt ties it all together.
Then there is the cake itself. I spent the better part of last summer on a mission to bake what I consider the perfect chocolate and perfect yellow cakes. I wanted recipes that could be baked as either layer cakes or cupcakes. I wanted them to rise properly, be light but in no way dry, and flavorful enough to stand alone.
It took some time and many trials, to say the least. But at last I now have my go to chocolate cake and yellow cake recipes. I dressed up the yellow cake recipe with spices and citrus for this Solstice Cake, and here you have my chocolate cake. No mixer required!
While cupcakes of any kind are sure to bring a smile to people’s faces, I think we can all agree cupcakes with filling are the best. Chocolate and raspberry is one of my all time favorite flavor combinations, and a simple raspberry jam from a jar does the trick for filling these cupcakes. When chocolate, raspberry, and hazelnut come together in one big bite…
I know I just wrote I wouldn’t be eating Nutella for breakfast anytime soon, but these cupcakes may be an exception.
Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Cheese Frosting
Yields 12 cupcakes*
Tried and tested chocolate cupcakes filled with tart raspberry jam, and topped with an addictive chocolate hazelnut cream cheese frosting.
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
- 6 Tbs. (30g) cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1/3 cup (80g) sour cream, room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla estract
- 3/4 cups brewed coffee, cooled
Frosting & Filling:
- 1/2 cup (4oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup (4oz) cream cheese, softened
- 6 Tbs. (102g) chocolate hazelnut spread, (i.e. Nocciolata or Nutella)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. heavy cream
- 1/2 cup (144g) seedless raspberry jam
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a 12-cavity muffin pan with paper liners.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, oil, egg, sour cream, and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet in 3 batches, alternating with the coffee. Whisk just until smooth, being careful not to over mix the batter.
Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before filling and frosting.
For the cake:
Using an electric stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until very smooth with no lumps remaining. Add the chocolate hazelnut spread, vanilla, and salt, and continue to beat a minute longer.
With the mixer turned to low, sift in the powdered sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another minute. Stream in the heavy cream and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Refrigerate for at least thirty minutes before decorating your cupcakes.
Using your thumb, poke a whole in the center of each cupcake about 3/4 of an inch deep. Spoon 2 tsp. of jam into each, then decorate with frosting as desired. Keep cupcakes in the refrigerator until ready to serve, as the frosting will become too soft if left out at room temperature for very long.
*You may also make a two-layer cake using this recipe. Simply double all of the ingredients for the cake and frosting (you shouldn’t need to double the jam). Divide the batter between two 8″ round cake pans, and bake for 32-35 minutes. Once the layers cool, spread the jam on one layer, and set the other layer on top. Frost, decorate as desired, and chill.