It seems as though it’s very rare to come across people who love to bake and cook. Usually, people who love to bake enjoy the measurements whereas the people who love cook take full advantage of the guestimates. And then there’s me. I love to bake and cook. Baking fully embraces my control freak, anal retentive, OCD side while cooking allows me the freedom to experiment, taste-test, and educate myself. The two combined are me in a nutshell.
My Mom is one of those people who loves to cook and would be happy to never have to bake a treat in her life. So, how did I grow to love baking? That’s easy. Whenever my family craved a tasty treat, I would always volunteer to spend some time in the kitchen whipping up chocolatey goodness.
This past fall, when we were visiting my parents, I decided to bake a batch of cupcakes…using my parents 20+ year-old oven. I got to work whipping up all of the ingredients. Into the oven they went and out of the oven they came…with tops as hard as hockey pucks. Knowing that I couldn’t serve the cupcakes to family and friends, I worked on whipping up another batch. Into the oven they went and out of the oven they came…with inverted, sunken tops.
When my husband walked into the kitchen, his nose wrinkled, his eyes squinted and then widened, and a smile crossed his face as he asked, “What are those?” I was mortified, exhausted, and insanely frustrated. Why insanely? I’m pretty sure I was starting to go insane. In the past, I have never encountered such an awful experience trying to bake cupcakes.
With the greatest of determination, I whipped up yet another batch of cupcake batter. Into the oven they went and out of the oven they came…with tops that were even more inverted than the second batch. I didn’t think it was possible. My husband was laughing, my mom was trying to tell me to just “fill the centers with frosting…no one will ever know,” and my Dad was nervous. Why was he nervous? The oven was 20+ years old and, according to my Mom, “gets more and more inaccurate the longer it stays heated.” Um…what?
My Mom was frustrated for years but it wasn’t until my Dad saw my frustration that he knew that the end was near for the
trusty old relic. A month later, my parents welcomed construction workers and delivery men into their home. During the holidays they were able to show off their new oven…oh yeah, and refrigerator, dishwasher, and granite countertops (you’re welcome, Mom).
During the holidays, I made cupcakes in the new, trusty oven and guess what…they turned out perfect on the first try…and I immediately exhaled a sigh of relief.
Nutella and Cocoa Cupcakes
Tip: If you’re not into baking, simply buy box mix. The best part about box mix? You can easily add different candy and flavors into the mix (and frosting) in order to customize the taste and look.
- 1 box of vanilla cake mix
- 4 tablespoons of Nutella, divided
- 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, divided
- 1 container of classic frosting
- 2 tablespoons almonds
- 2 tablespoons peanuts
- 2 tablespoons white chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
- Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box.
- Place the Nutella in a bowl and microwave for 15 seconds. Drop 2 tablespoons into the prepare cake mix and gently swirl it into the mix.
- Drop the cake batter into the liners until they’re 3/4 full. Sprinkle 1/2 of the chocolate chips over top of the cupcake batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove the cupcakes from the oven, allow them to sit in the pan for 2 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire rack. Let them cool completely before frosting.
- Prepare the frosting by gently swirling together the frosting and 2 tablespoons of the Nutella in a small bowl. Frost the cupcakes.
- Place the rest of the chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, almonds, peanuts, and cocoa powder in a food processor (or simply put them in a plastic bag). Process (or crush) all of these ingredients together until the mixture turns to a crumb texture. Sprinkle mixture over the frosting.
What is your favorite type of cupcake?