The title and picture have you drooling, don’t they? I can honestly say these cupcakes went faster than any others that I’ve made and the flavor combination was just sinful. Really, there’s no better word for it. One bite and your eyes roll back in your head and your spirit drifts away to cupcake heaven. Oh so good!
Start with your favorite vanilla cupcake base and get those babies cooling. For the frosting we are going to use my non-traditional French Meringue Buttercream (FMBC), but instead of white sugar we are going to use brown sugar. I used a Pralines & Cream extract by LorAnn Oils but you can easily mimic the flavor with the addition of a pinch of salt, about a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese, and 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup to your buttercream. You can get your buttercream ready and in a piping bag while you prepare your filling.
Now… have you heard of Nutella? I know, right?? What a ridiculous question!! I think everyone has not only heard of Nutella, but a large portion of us have been known to sneak in with a spoon and eat it by itself… I won’t tell ;-). Nutella is great as-is but I wanted my filling to be just a tad bit thinner so you when you bite into these cupcakes you get an oozy chocolate surprise. As far as the mocha element goes, I have a coffee addiction and the three cups I drink a day are just not enough for me sometimes! But you can definitely leave that part out if you don’t like coffee.
To make this filling we combine Nutella, heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and instant espresso and whip it until it resembles the chocolatey goodness you see above. I like this recipe because its adaptable; if you like a thicker filling, reduce the amount of cream. If the cream is already added, dump in a little extra Nutella or powdered sugar, or both! If you want a thinner filling, drizzle heavy cream in while mixing – it’s completely up to you!
Here is my homemade vanilla extract, made by using about 5-6 vanilla beans cut lengthwise and covered in vodka. Steep for at least a month before use, but three months makes a nice brown, flavorful extract.
Once you’ve reached desired consistency, fill a piping bag and cut about half an inch or less off of the bottom. I use the bag itself to pierce the cupcakes and tend to overfill my cupcakes. No one is going to argue with extra filling and that blob is going to get covered up by buttercream anyway! Once you’ve covered your cakes in FMBC, make a very thin dark chocolate ganache by adding more cream into the recipe and drizzle over the top. These cupcakes are best enjoyed at room temperature as the filling and frosting can get hard when refrigerated. If you are making them more than a day ahead you will need to refrigerate them and remove them from the fridge at least 1-2 hours prior to eating.
- 1 Cup Nutella Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
- 1/3 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 Teaspoon Instant Espresso
- 2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- In a microwave safe bowl, heat heavy cream for 30-45 seconds. Watch carefully as cream can boil over.
- Add espresso to warmed cream and mix well. Leave out or place in the refrigerator until no longer warm (room temperature but not cool/cold)
- Add all ingredients, including cooled heavy cream, to mixer and whip for 2-3 minutes.
- Fill cakes or cupcakes and enjoy!
- Try other instant coffee mixes or hot cocoa for new flavors.
- Add marshmallow crème and crushed graham crackers for a S'more filling!
- Use more or less cream to make your own consistency.
- Store at room temperature for 1-2 days or refrigerate for about a week.