Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream

There's just something about fall. The colors, the sky, the air, the colors, the smells-- don't even get me STARTED on the magical smell of burning leaves. I can't be the only one who loves that smell.

 Everything about autumn inspires me & makes me feel alive. I am an October-baby, you know. & Bless my sweet 5yr old Gabe's heart.. He tells me every single day how beautiful the leaves are & how much he loves the colors & how much he loves when it's "like fall" outside. He is his mother's son, after all. :)

Anyway! What better way to re-introduce myself into blog-dom than with something a little unconventional? I was staring at the bagels in my fridge & mourning the depletion of the cream cheese when I suddenly wished that I had heaping gobs of Nutella to cover my bagels in. Of course, we didn't have any. My husband didn't even know what Nutella was until last night. But the thought of cupcakes popped into my head & I wondered if anybody had ever tried to make a Nutella cupcake. A Nutella buttercream, more specifically.

For those of you who might not know (which you really should), Nutella is the magical concoction of creamy chocolate & rich hazelnut. It is TRULY lucious & amazing. Have you ever eaten those Ferrero Rocher candies? If not, then I don't think we can be friends anymore. Just kidding. Sort of. But anyway. That is basically what Nutella tastes like. & It's one of the best things ever.

After settling on skipping the bagel & just downing a whole pot of coffee instead, I decided to do a little research. Lo & behold! I found that someone had, indeed, done a Nutella buttercream.

I got a hold of my sister Kayla right away. I absolutely HAD to make this frosting. It wasn't even a question. It was going to happen one way or another.

I was extremely indecisive about what kind of cupcake to pair with it. I played around with lots of ideas. Should I do a basic chocolate cake? A coffee flavored cake? I ultimately decided on doing a vanilla almond cupcake. It's pretty much just a basic white cake, with just a little bit of a deeper flavor with the almond in it. SO good. I wanted to keep it simple since Nutella is such a rich, unique flavor all on it's own.

Guys. Really. This is one of my favorite things I've ever baked. & If you know me personally, you know I bake a lot. Like... a lot a lot.

They are rich, flavorful, fluffy.. Everything I could ever want in a cupcake.

Without further adieu..

Vanilla Almond Cupcakes

1 1/4c all-purpose flour
1 1/4t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t salt
2 eggs
3/4c sugar
1t vanilla extract
1t almond extract (you could leave this out if you don't have any & just use more vanilla extract)
1/2c vegetable oil
1/2c buttermilk (you can make your own by adding 1/2t lemon juice or vinegar to your 1/2c of milk)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt to a mixing bowl. Whisk together & set aside.

3. In a separate, larger bowl, beat the eggs for 10-20 seconds. Add the sugar & continue to beat for an additional 30 seconds. Finally, add the vanilla extract, almond extract & oil, then beat until combined.

4. While beating on low, add half of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk, the remaining half of the flour mixture & then the rest of the buttermilk. Beat until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl.

5. Line a cupcake tin with liners & fill 2/3 of the way full.

6. Bake for 12-14min or until the tops are just barely golden brown & a wooden toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool completely before frosting!

Nutella Buttercream Icing

(recipe from KitchenTreaty)

1c (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2/3c Nutella
1t vanilla extract
2T heavy whipping cream
Pinch of kosher salt

If you have a stand mixer, use your paddle attachment. I am not yet blessed with a stand mixer, so I just my electric hand mixer.

1. Cream butter & sugar together until smooth.

2. Add Nutella & beat for 2 minutes.

3. Add vanilla extract & salt, mix well.

4. Add heavy whipping cream & beat until light & fluffy!

That's it! Such an easy icing to make.

Both recipes make enough for 12 cupcakes. You might be able to get 14 cupcakes out of it.

You might have some leftover icing-- it is amazing on just about anything. Put it on your bagel, in your coffee, dip Nilla Wafter or graham crackers in it.. Hide in the kitchen away from your kids & eat it with a spoon like I've been doing......

Don't judge me. You know you'll be doing the same thing.

Until next time! ;)
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