Dream Cupcakes with Nutella Cloud Frosting

Today it is BEAUTIFUL in San Diego, which is such a relief after days and days of winter-like temperatures, fog and drizzle. We’re all afraid that May gray and June gloom — San Diego’s version of winter– is here early, so any sunshine is welcome.

Last weekend was a good one but super busy, full of picking weeds, coffee dates with friends and a baby shower for my friend Shelby. I offered to make cupcakes then realized that I had no idea what to make! Baking is not my specialty, a fate confirmed after my sourdough baking fail (hello rock hard bread!). Nevertheless, I googled recipes for cupcakes and frostings, hoping that what I came up with would be at least a little tasty. Nutella is a natural pick for me, since I’m a bit obsessed with the stuff (if you haven’t tried my nutella cookie recipes, try them now! Perhaps the best cookies I’ve ever tasted). Thankfully the recipes lived up to their names — World’s Best Cupcakes and Nutella Cloud Frosting just HAD to be good!

The result? Well, there was lots of oooing and awwwing and I saw more than a couple girls go for seconds. The cupcakes were light and fluffy, the frosting was divine. Chocolately but not too rich, piped cheerily on top of each cupcake. Yum.

MAKES 24 REGULAR SIZED CUPCAKES
Cupcakes:

1 pkg white or yellow cake mix
8 oz light cream cheese, at room temp
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C water
1/2 C oil (I prefer coconut oi for health benefits…vegetable oil or grapeseed work fine, too)
4 large eggs
1 T pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 350 and line your cupcake pan with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides, then resume mixing on medium speed for about 2 minutes. The batter should be smooth — don’t worry if there are still some small cream cheese clumps. They will melt when you bake it.

3. Spoon batter into your cupcake cups, filling each one up about two-thirds. Bake for 20-24 minutes until the tops are lightly golden and your toothpick comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Nutella Cream Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened, but not melted
1 1/2 C (190 grams/7 ounces) icing sugar (confectioners’ or powdered)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup premium bittersweet chocolate (I used Giardelli bittersweet chocolate chips) melted and cooled slightly
1/3 C Nutella
1 T milk
pinch of sea salt

1. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed (I use #2 on my KitchenAid mixer) for about 1 minute.

2. Add vanilla, and beat on low speed until well combined. Add the melted and slightly cooled chocolate and beat on medium speed (I use #4 on my KitchenAid mixer) for a couple of minutes until smooth.

3. Add the Nutella, milk and pinch of salt, and beat on med-high speed for another minute.

4. Pipe or spread the icing onto your cupcakes. Brace yourself.

 

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