I love a good excuse to make cupcakes. If I don’t have one, I’m very good at justifying my actions when it comes to baking or buying new shoes (with size 11s you gotta buy ‘em when you find ‘em, right?) -but when a friend comes over within a few days of her birthday, it’s like a free pass to bake.
(This is just butter + sugar, beaten for several minutes – I feel like most people fall short on this part, beating the two until they’re well combined but not really whipping it until it’s sufficiently light. Try letting it go for a couple minutes next time.)
Cupcakes make it easier to serve a crowd, especially when fast-moving kids are in attendance and you’re not really sure you have enough little plates and forks to go around. Of course I generally choose cakes based on their need for adornment; I do love a well-frosted cupcake (and can even appreciate a 1:1 cake-frosting ratio) but often even a good frosting is trumped by a desire for a shower and to minimize dishes.
Enter jar of Nutella.
You drop big globs of it atop buttery cake batter (I imagine any kind would work – so long as it’s thick enough that the Nutella doesn’t sink through to the bottom) and swirl a bamboo skewer through both to create a marbled effect. Done! (Bonus: the aforementioned small people with equally small fingers will not be licking frosting off said fingers and dragging them down the hallway walls.)
The coloured paper liners from Winners make me feel very Martha – I’m really not.
Bake until golden and springy and Instagram-worthy.
It’s somebody’s birthday somewhere!
Self-frosting Nutella Cupcakes
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk or half & half
1/2 cup Nutella
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt; add half to the butter mixture and beat on low speed just until combined. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then add the remaining flour mixture and beat just until combined.
Divide the batter between 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Spoon the Nutella into a small microwave-safe dish and microwave it for20 seconds, until softened but not liquefied. Drop a spoonful of Nutella on top of each, and swirl through the batter with the tip of a bamboo skewer, knife or other pointy object. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until springy to the touch. Tilt them in the pan to help them cool.
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.