Irresistible chocolate Nutella crunch cupcakes are a chocoholics dream! Recipe inspired by Ferro Rocher chocolate hazelnut candy transformed into a personal-sized dessert.
Last week Jason and I attended the first annual Everything Food Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. There was an opportunity to be part of a Cupcake Wars battle LIVE during the conference hosted by Justin Willman (squeal!). My partner Jasmine, and I created these Ferrero Rocher inspired cupcakes with chocolate ganache filling and Nutella hazelnut buttercream.
I couldn’t resist the chance to compete. I’ve always been intrigued by the Food Network Cupcake Wars TV show and decided to apply. My friend Jasmine Lukuku has two blogs; The Blenderist and Chocolate Codex. She has a passion for pastry just like me so I knew we would have a great time. Together we formed team Bake-a-Saurus, RAWR!
For three days at the Everything Food Conference, bloggers from around the world gathered together to learn how to improve and grow their blog. We connected with other social media influencers, brands, and ate to our heart’s desire and then some.
It was an information-packed weekend, and we left feeling inspired and motivated to bring you even more high-quality content. I also got some tips on fun new ways to connect with you for a more interactive culinary science experience, so stay tuned!
There was a little twist to the Cupcake Wars competition. Instead of using granulated sugar in the cake, we were challenged to use Lite and Sweet, a sweetener blend of natural erythritol and xylitol. We were nervous at first because we had never used this alternative sweetener in baking.
But guess what? As a 1:1 replacement for sugar, the cupcake was still tender and had a similar texture to the sugar-based cake recipes we tested earlier. A pleasant surprise indeed! Have you tried it before? If not, it’s an excellent way to reduce some of the calories from the sugar in your baked goods and is a great option for diabetics.
Our cupcake was inspired by those cute little golden spheres that are Italian Ferrero Rocher candy . The chocolate-covered crispy spheres filled with Nutella and hazelnuts, yum! Jasmine and I each tested recipes in our home kitchens in California and Canada before the conference to find just the right cupcake, frosting and filling.
The result was a tender chocolate cake, filled with a rich chocolate ganache and crunchy roasted hazelnuts. We had to top it off with a light and fluffy Nutella buttercream, beyond delicious!
Check out that gooey, creamy chocolate ganache center! Ganache is a simple mixture of hot cream melted with dark chocolate. We used about a 2:1 ratio of chocolate to cream to give a really rich pipeable filling. I used Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chocolate for this homemade recipe.
Hmm, which to choose, candy or cupcake? I’ll have one if each, please! It’s so much fun to take flavors from food you adore, and transform it into something different and delectable.
Classy, elegant and sophisticated. The Sophia Loren of cupcake perhaps? The judges said these were “legit” so we got the thumbs up! Jasmine and I didn’t win the battle, but we were just so happy to participate and show our baking skills to the crowd.
We went against some fierce competitors; Dessert Now Dinner Later, Tried and Tasty, Gluten-Free Palate, Flippin’ Delicious, The Chocoholic Baker, Beauty and the Beets. These ladies are so passionate about sharing their incredible recipes with you, check out their gorgeous blogs! If you want to see a clip from the live competition, it’s on my Facebook page!
What are the different uses of Chocolate Ganache?
Besides just eating it straight from the bowl, chocolate ganache is a versatile, rich mixture that can be used in many applications depending on the ratio of chocolate to cream you use. Do you want to glaze your cake, make truffles, fill a cupcake or make a whipped frosting? All you need is two ingredients; high-quality dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao) and warmed heavy cream (just hot enough to melt the chocolate). Here are the proportions based on your application (chocolate to cream): Cake filling and thick glaze (1:1); truffles (2:1); pourable glaze and soft icing (1:2). Try to use the ganache at room temperature to get the right consistency for your sweet treat. Yum! (Source: The Kitchn)
Chocolate Nutella Crunch Cupcakes
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus 2 tablespoons
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, fine-grain, or kosher salt
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
- ¼ cup sunflower oil, or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup boiling water
Chocolate Hazelnut Filling
- ¾ cup dark chocolate, chopped, 60 to 70% cacao, (4 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons whipping cream, heated
- 4 tablespoons hazelnuts, chopped roasted
- 12 ounces unsalted butter, room temp
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- 1 cup nutella
- Position a rack in the center of the oven. Pre-heat to 375°F. Line two standard muffin tins with 12 paper liners.
- Boil ¾ cup water (stove or microwave), set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until no visible lumps.
- Add in egg, sour cream, oil, and vanilla. Mix until just smooth and combined.
- Pour in the boiling water and slowly mix, starting from the center and working your way outward. The batter will be quite liquidy like brownies, but this is normal.
- Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups. Fill each one about halfway with ¼ cup batter.
- Bake 15 to 16 minutes, until a cake tester or a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Transfer the tins to wire racks for about 5 minutes until the tins are cool to the touch. Remove and transfer them to the racks. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them and decorating. The cupcakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- Warm the milk until just boiling and pour over chocolate, stir, then add nuts. You can microwave the cream and chocolate mixture in a microwave-safe bowl for a few seconds if needed to melt the chocolate further. Cool in refrigerator and then transfer to a piping bag. Cut off the tip of the bag right before filling.
- In a stand mixer whip 12 ounces butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes.
- Gradually add 6 cups of sugar 1 cup at a time (low speed, then medium-high to smooth out). Add milk, mix on medium-high until combined.
- Add 1 cup Nutella, mix on medium-high until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag with a large star tip.
- Once the cupcakes are cooled, use a large melon baller or spoon to remove 1 teaspoon of cake from the center. Pipe in 1 teaspoon chocolate ganache and hazelnut filling.
- Pipe the nutella buttercream in a swirl pattern on top of the filled cupcake. Decorate with desired toppings.