Your Valentine wants a rich chocolate cake topped with a fluffy buttercream frosting and a melty chocolate center. This Nutella cupcakes recipe makes just 4 cupcakes, perfect for a Valentine's Day dessert for two. You can also double or triple the recipe to make more for sharing, though.
There are some days when you just need a triple chocolate cupcake. Today's craving fix features a cake that is soft, crumbly and rich with cocoa powder. The filling is a mixture of Nutella with a small amount of sour cream to make it gooey and soft. The frosting is my chocolate whipped cream recipe, which is great on almost any chocolate dessert. (However, I did omit the chocolate shavings from the original recipe so that I could pipe the frosting for the photos, but the choice is yours).
If it's not Valentine's Day without chocolate for you, this is the recipe for you! I personally can't think of anything more romantic than a chocolate cupcake with a molten chocolate center. It reminds me of my molten chocolate cakes for two, but these are easier to make ahead. Unlike my molten cakes, they don't need to be served hot immediately after baking. If you use a piping tip to add the frosting, these are pretty enough to pass off as a bakery treat!
How to Make Nutella Cupcakes
This recipe for Nutella cupcakes makes just 4 cupcakes. This is a small batch baking site, if you didn't know. However, you can double or triple the recipe to make more, if you need to! For Valentine's Day, though, two cupcakes each is just right.
With the leftovers, you can make a Nutella raspberry martini to enjoy alongside. If you're a peanut butter lover, you have to make my peanut butter Nutella cookies. They're great for packaging and gift-giving!
- All-Purpose Flour. We only need ⅓ cup of all-purpose flour here, because we're only making 4 cupcakes. The best way to measure flour is to fluff it in the bag, scoop it heaping over the cup, and then level it with a knife.
- Cocoa Powder. We need unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe. I have not tested this recipe with Dutch process cocoa powder. If you need a yummy recipe to use Dutch process cocoa powder, try my chocolate banana muffins.
- Baking Soda.
- Baking Powder.
- Espresso Powder. Anytime I bake something chocolate, I add a small amount of instant espresso powder to heighten the flavor of the chocolate. It doesn't make the dessert taste like coffee, I promise.
- Oil. Any neutral oil works here--canola oil, vegetable oil, grapeseed oil or avocado oil. Do not use coconut oil, as it is firm when cool.
- Vanilla Extract. I always bake with real pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Brown Sugar. This Nutella cupcakes recipe has brown sugar for its moisture content from the molasses. You can use either light or dark brown sugar; both work equally well here.
- Buttermilk. I really recommend real store-bought low-fat buttermilk for this recipe, but if you don't have any, the same amount of whole milk with one-half teaspoon of vinegar or lemon added can substitute in its place.
- Nutella. This recipe has only been tested with regular Nutella straight from the jar. I haven't tried to use any other types of nut butter here, especially the more natural version called 'Nocciolata Hazelnut Spread.'
- Sour Cream. A small amount of sour cream thins the Nutella and makes the center of the cupcake gooey and creamy.
- Heavy Whipping Cream. Also called double cream, with at least 36-40% fat so that the frosting whips into a pipe-able creamy consistency.
- Powdered Sugar. I always use powdered sugar (also labeled confectioner's sugar or 10x sugar) in frostings so that it dissolves without any graininess.
First, preheat the oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit, and place 4 cupcake liners in a muffin pan. Next, in a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and espresso powder.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla, and brown sugar very well. Whisk very well to ensure no lumps of brown sugar remain in the mixture.
Using a spatula, add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk.
Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let cool completely on a wire rack before proceeding.
Stir together the Nutella and sour cream and set aside. Snip off the corner of a plastic bag or pastry bag and place it in a tall glass. Put a metal round tip in the corner. Add the Nutella-sour cream mixture and squeeze it down to bottom of the bag into the tip.
Next, using an upside-down piping tip, gently poke a hole in the center of each cupcake. Twist to remove the tip, and a cone-shaped chunk of cake will come with it, leaving behind space for the filling.
Evenly divide the Nutella-sour cream mixture between the four cupcakes.
Place the cupcakes in the fridge for a few minutes to slightly harden while you make the chocolate whipped cream frosting.
Next, beat the heavy whipping cream and espresso powder until soft peaks form.
Then, add the cocoa powder and powdered sugar (start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste).
Frost the cupcakes with the whipped cream mixture using a knife or another pastry bag fitted with a tip for a decorative look. Serve the cupcakes immediately, because the whipped cream frosting will not hold its shape at room temperature for more than an hour.
How to Store/ Make-Ahead Nutella Cupcakes
Because the frosting on these Nutella cupcakes is made of freshly whipped cream, they cannot sit out at room temperature for more than an hour. Store them in the fridge for maximum freshness. Yes, the molten Nutella centers will slightly harden in the fridge, but you can let them rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving to soften slightly.
To make ahead, make the cupcakes, create the indent for holding the filling, and freeze in air-tight containers for up to 3 months. Upon defrosting, make the sour cream filling, and pipe on the frosting just before serving.
- Vegan - I adapted my vegan chocolate cupcakes for this Nutella cupcakes recipe by using regular milk instead of almond milk. So, if you need to make this vegan, you absolutely can. You'll need to use the frosting recipe from my vegan chocolate cake instead of the chocolate whipped cream, however. Also, use any of the amazing vegan sour cream substitutes on the market, such as coconut yogurt.
- Nut-Free - If the hazelnuts in Nutella are an allergy for you or the one you're baking for, use chocolate sunflower butter, but please note that it contains sunflower seeds.
- Serving Size - This recipe makes just 4 Nutella cupcakes, because this blog is all about small-scale desserts for two, but you can double this recipe and get 8 cupcakes, too! Or, triple it and get one dozen.
For the cupcakes:
- ⅓ cup flour
- 4 teaspoons cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 4 teaspoons oil
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ⅓ cup buttermilk (at room temperature)
For the filling and frosting:
- 2 tablespoons Nutella
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- ¼ cup cold heavy whipping cream
- ⅛ teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350° and line a muffin tin with 4 paper liners.
- In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and espresso powder.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together vigorously the oil, vanilla, and brown sugar.
- Using a spatula, add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk.
- Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack before proceeding.
- Stir together the Nutella and sour cream in a small bowl. Snip off the corner of a plastic bag or pastry bag and place it in a tall glass. Put a metal round tip in the corner. Add the Nutella-sour cream mixture and squeeze it down to the tip.
- Using an upside-down piping tip, gently poke a hole in the top of each cupcake. Twist and pull out the piping tip to remove enough cake in the cupcake to make room for the filling. Divide the Nutella mixture evenly between all 4 cupcakes. Let it firm up for a few minutes in the fridge before frosting.
- Next, beat the heavy whipping cream and espresso powder until soft peaks form. Add the cocoa powder and powdered sugar (start with 1 tablespoon, add more to taste).
- Frost the cupcakes with the whipped cream mixture using a knife or another pastry bag fitted with a tip for a decorative look.
Storage: These cupcakes must be kept cold, due to their whipped cream frosting.
Make-Ahead: You can make the cupcakes ahead of time and freeze. Create the indent for holding the filling, and freeze in air-tight containers for up to 3 months. Upon defrosting, make the sour cream filling, and pipe on the frosting just before serving.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 253Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 159mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 3g