So these might be the best chocolate cupcakes ever, and I don’t say that lightly. They are moist and light and I promise you they will be a hit. Topping them with Nutella cream cheese icing is just an added bonus.
The original cupcake recipe is from Glorious Treats, who adapted it from Hershey’s. So not my creation, but honestly, these chocolate cupcakes are perfect as is and they don’t need any adapting. I would definitely recommend using the best quality cocoa that you can find. It does make a difference. I made two batches; one using Fry’s cocoa and one using Valrhona cocoa powder. Fry’s cocoa is one of the best brands you can get at your everyday grocery store, and the cupcakes were still great. But with the Valrhona (picked up from Duchess Provisions), they were just one step up. Deeper, richer, chocolate heaven.
When filling the cupcake liners with batter only fill them to 2/3 full. The recipe makes enough batter for just over 24 cupcakes, so it’s tempting to just top up each one a little to use up the batter without breaking out a third pan. But then you risk getting cupcakes that aren’t really flat on top, and it make it harder to frost and to eat once the frosting is on. Ideally you want your baked cupcakes so that the top is pretty much even with the top of the liner. (Which I did not consistently achieve…)
The frosting is really easy to pull together, especially if you have a stand mixer. You may need to play around a bit with the amount of whipping cream you add to find the right texture. I usually start with less liquid than called for and add more at the end if I find it too thick. It’s easier to add a little more cream than it is to add in more icing sugar or cream cheese to stiffen the icing back up.
I chose to pipe my icing on, but if you don’t have piping bags or tips, you could definitely just spread it on with a knife and top with sprinkles of your choice. Either way, make sure that your cupcakes are completely cooled before you frost them.
The recipe makes enough frosting to top each cupcake with a substantial amount. If you’re planning on only doing a light frosting layer you can probably get by with reducing the frosting portion of the recipe. But it’s Nutella frosting, so let’s be honest, the more you can pile on top, the better.
- Cupcake Ingredients
- 2 cups sugar
- 1¾ cups all purpose flour
- ¾ cup high quality unsweetened cocoa, sifted
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- Frosting Ingredients
- 24 oz cream cheese at room temperature (3 bricks)
- 1½ tbsp whipping cream (more if needed)
- 1½ cup Nutella
- 1 cup icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F and line two muffin tins with paper liners.
- In bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together sugar, flour, sifted cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Attach bowl to mixer and add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute.
- Carefully stir in boiling water. (See notes)
- Fill liners ⅔ full with batter.
- Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes on middle rack of oven. The tops should spring back when touched and an inserted toothpick should come out clean.
- Let cupcakes cool approximately 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.
- While cupcakes are cooling, beat cream cheese in stand mixer for approximately 1 minute.
- Add whipping cream and beat for an additional 1 minute.
- Add Nutella and icing sugar, and beat until well combined.
- Add additional whipping cream if needed to reach desired consistency. (See notes)
- Once cupcakes are cooled completely, frost using desired method.
- Store finished cupcakes in fridge.
I usually find I need about 2 tbsp of whipped cream in total. If you're adding more at the end, do so in about ½ tbsp increments. A little goes a long way.