Happy Monday, friends! I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was unabashedly lazy and uneventful, and it was amazing. I even managed to fit in two naps. After a workweek that seemed like it would never end, the weekend was just what I needed.
Part of last week’s disorderliness was due to the cupcakes you see before you. As the resident baker, work birthdays can be quite the burden, but the pleasure I get from making something special for a special someone’s day exceeds the inconvenience of finding the time to do so. For now, anyway. Sometimes, the hardest part is figuring out what to bake, and in this case, with the birthday girl celebrating a 5 at the end of her new age and with a baby on the way, I knew it had to be something grand.
While “Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting” may be the title of this post, the unabridged name for these babies is “Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Nutella Cream Cream Frosting, Hazelnuts and Caramel.” With the birthday girl eating for two, and me baking for 24, the long, grandiose name seemed only fitting.
Before making these, I reached out to the birthday girl’s husband and asked if she and/or the baby had any special cravings that I should try to satisfy. The answer I got back was “rich and chocolatey.”
Rich and chocolatey is what I delivered.
And then, because chocolate, banana, nutella and cream cheese weren’t enough, I went ahead and topped each cupcake with chopped hazelnuts and a caramel drizzle.
I knew caramel had to factor in somehow, because the birthday girl loves the stuff. I know this because I made these salted caramel cupcakes for her birthday a couple of years ago and she went bananas for them. Bananas were therefore the natural inspiration behind these treats.
As long as their name may be, these cupcakes were really no more difficult than any other recipe to put together. The chocolate and banana batter doesn’t even require the use of a mixer. A little bit of elbow grease will do the trick. And the frosting comes together in no time.
Multiple tasters told me these were the best ones yet. I’m definitely my own worst critic, but even I might have to agree with them. I hope you give these a try, and hope you have a great week.
- 1 cup milk
- 3 ripe bananas
- ⅔ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2 cups flour
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup nutella
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two cupcake pans with liners.
- In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork, then whisk in the milk, sugar, oil, and vanilla until incorporated. Whisk out as many large lumps of the banana as you can, but some lumps are more than ok.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the banana mixture. Stir until just smooth being careful not to overmix.
- Pour batter into liners, filling each one no more than 2/3 full.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
- Sift the powdered sugar over the bowl and continue whisking until combined.
- Add the nutella and mix until completely incorporated. Give it a taste, and add more nutella and powdered sugar if you have a bigger sweet tooth than me.
- Transfer to piping bag and frost cupcakes.
- Makes 24 cupcakes that I also topped with chopped hazelnuts and caramel sauce.