Nutella Swirled Cupcakes and Project: Cakes in a Jar
For those of you who have never had nutella before, let me say that you’re missing out on a little piece of true magic right here. A rich chocolate and hazelnut spread, think of it as the inner goodness a Ferraro Rocher chocolate ball. My sister first introduced this to me spread on a piece of toast and from that day forward, I was hooked. Since then, I’ve slathered it on toast, scones, crumpets…anything and everything that I would have otherwise topped with butter or peanut butter. What I didn’t realize until recently was that nutella makes an
really good amazingly GREAT baking ingredient.
I found this recipe while I was researching cakes and breads that I could bake in a jar to send to my friend stationed in Afghanistan. Tagged as Project: Cakes in a Jar, I settled on my spiced pumpkin bread recipe and this lovely swirled cupcake to bake and send to Ricky. Baking cakes in jars, I found, is a great and quick way to send baked goods overseas to your loved ones. Using wide mouthed mason jars that are capped and sealed while the cakes are still warm creates a vacuum in the jar and prolongs the shelf life of the cakes long enough to make it across the seas and still be freshly delicious upon arrival.
But I digress…back to these little cakes of awesome. Moist vanilla cake batter that’s swirled with just the right amount of nutella and baked to perfection. Each tasty bite is a decadent morsel that’s the perfect pick me up after a long day of work or, in my case, a long day of baking. The batter comes together fairly quickly and is a little thick so I ended up adding a little bit of milk to it to make it a little bit lighter and easier to swirl with the nutella. This recipe is also great to do with the kids. I gave Mai and her friend Mackenzie a bunch of toothpicks and had them swirl away for me while I prepped the next set of cupcake pans. It doesn’t get easier than that!
Nutella Swirled Cupcakes
Adapted from The Girl With A Curl
Yields 12 cupcakes
10 tablespoons of butter, room temperature and softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup of milk (I used buttermilk)
Nutella, approximately 1/3 cup (honestly, I just bought a big jar of it and just put a dollop of it in each cupcake using a small cookie dough scoop)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare cupcake tins by lining 12 wells with paper cupcake liners. Set aside.
Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl and set aside. Using a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in one egg at a time, beating in between each addition, until fully incorporated. Add in vanilla. Alternately add and mix in flour mixture and milk in 3 additions, starting and ending with flour mixture (1/2 flour, milk, and last of the flour). Mix until no flour remains.
Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full with batter. Using a mini cookie dough scoop, top each cupcake with Nutella (about 1 1/2 teaspoons). Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick. Make sure to fold a bit of batter over the top of the Nutella so it’s more evenly distributed in the cupcake.
Bake for 20 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Project: Cakes in a Jar
The basic premise behind this method of baking is to use sterilized mason jars to bake your cakes or breads directly in and to cap and seal these while the cakes are still warm. As they cool, they create a vacuum inside of the jar thus extending the shelf life and making for a great and easy way to pack and ship your baked delights.
List of materials
1 pint canning/mason jars
Non stick baking spray
Rimmed cookie sheet
Your favorite cake or bread recipe (I found that denser cakes and quick breads work the best here)
First sterilize your jars, lids, and caps according to the manufacturers directions. Spritz the inside of each jar with a bit of baking spray (just 1 or 2 spritzes will do!) Fill each jar halfway with your cake or bread batter. Wife off any excess batter from the sides or mouth of the jar otherwise it will burn as it bakes and no one likes charred anything, not even delicious cake. Place your prepared jars on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven according to your cake/bread recipe’s directions. The rimmed baking sheet will help stabilize the jars and keep them from tipping over as they sit on the oven racks.
Baking times will usually vary depending on the type of cake or bread that you’re making. I usually start checking for doneness around 30-35 minutes and I use a long bamboo skewer that I commandeered from our shish kebab set to poke all the way down into the jar to make sure it’s all done.
Remove from the oven carefully. I really mean CAREFULLY. These jars will be EXTREMELY hot. I found that it was easiest to don heavy duty oven mitts and remove each jar one by one onto a nearby cookie sheet on a cooling rack. For me, it was entirely too precarious to move them all at once on the cookie tray while they were all the temperature of the sun. If you find that the cake/bread has “crowned” beyond the mouth of the jar, use a knife and just trim it back. You’ll want about 1/2″ gap between the top of the jar and your cake. While they are still hot, place the canning lids and rings on and seal. As the cake cools, it will create a vacuum and you should hear the ting! that signals this is done as the jar cools. Once they’re fully cooled, you can decorate the jars with fabric, ribbon or labels.
Store in a cool, dark place. To consume, always check the seals on the jars before serving. Pop the lid and the cakes should just slide out. You can either cut these into cute little circles of cake or, as my friend Ricky does, just eat it out of the jar with a spoon!