Malted Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes
I told my mom recently about this cake - a malted nutella & biscoff brownie torte cake - and she started drooling. Okay, not really, but she did request it for her birthday! But…if you know me, you know I’d prefer to never make the same thing twice, so I had to come up with something else that would combine her love of nutella and all things malted into a birthday-worthy treat.
These cupcakes are VERY sweet, and pretty damn awesome. I happened to use large cupcake liners and so the batter climbed up the sides, making a perfect well for the nutella filling. If I had made standard sized cupcakes (height-wise) I probably would have cut out a little hole in the center, filled it with nutella, and then put a piece of the cupcake removed back on top to cover before frosting. Either way, these are sure to please, and they’re not terribly difficult or time consuming. The best combination, right?
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker and Pastry Affair
MAKES 12 Cupcakes
(heads up, the frosting requires at least 2 hours chilling time so I’ve listed making that as the first part of the recipe)
9 ounces chopped milk chocolate
3/4 cup malted milk powder*
3/4 cup heavy cream
6 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces at room temperature
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (105g)
3/4 cups granulated sugar (150g)
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (55g)
1/2 cup malted milk powder*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup strong black coffee (or 1 heaping teaspoon espresso powder dissolved in 1/2 cup water)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or grapeseed)
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup nutella
24 malted milk balls/whoppers
1 cupcake tin & liners
Small paring knife
Quart or gallon ziplock bag & rolling pin (or hammer or mallet)
2 pastry bags & tip
*I’ve had people tell me they can’t find malt powder anywhere. I got some at my local grocery store. Call around? It looks like this.
Get started with the frosting: Place the 9oz chopped milk chocolate in the bowl of your stand mixer, set aside.
In a small saucepan, whisk together the 3/4c malted milk powder and 3/4c heavy cream. Whisking constantly, bring it to a simmer over medium heat, then pour it over the chocolate in the stand mixer bowl.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 5 minutes.
Uncover and gently stir with a whisk or spatula until completely smooth and combined. Cover the bowl again and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours. Now move on to make your cupcakes, and once the frosting is chilled you’ll resume at step #15.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin pan (cups have ½-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners.
Place 3oz chopped bittersweet chocolate in a 2-cup measuring cup, and pour 1/2c hot coffee on top. Let sit 1 minute, then whisk until combined.
Add the rest of your liquid ingredients - 1/2c buttermilk, 1/4c oil, 1 egg and 1.5tsp vanilla - and whisk until combined.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine all of your dry ingredients on low for about 1 minute - 105g AP flour, 150g sugar, 110g cocoa, 1/2c malted milk powder, 1tsp baking soda, 1/2tsp baking powder, and a pinch of salt.
Add your wet ingredients to your dry and mix on medium (start on low) 2-3 minutes until completely combined. The batter will be thin.
Evenly distribute the batter amongst your 12 cupcake liners (about 2/3 full each) and bake 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean but with a few crumbs.
Cool cupcakes in tin on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.
While the cupcakes are cooling, prep your filling/decorations. Fill your second pastry bag with 1 cup of nutella. Place 12 of your malted milk balls in a ziplock and press almost completely closed, sucking out the air through the last bit you don’t press closed. Crush the candy by rolling a heavy rolling pin back and forth over them, or smash with a mallet, or bang the bag against a counter (but that might get messy) - your choice. Try to crush some of it very fine and leave some larger pieces (see photos).
Once the cupcakes are completed cooled (important!) use a small, sharp paring knife to cut out the centers of your cupcakes in little cone shapes. Here’s a very quick and good video tutorial. I like to cut off the top parts of those little cone shapes that you pull at so I can put them back on top, and create a little barrier between the cupcake filling and the frosting you’ll put on. But - it’s totally optional - you could just leave it off and frost right on top of the filling.
Take your pastry bag with nutella and cut off the tip leaving about a half-inch opening. Fill each cupcake to the top, with about 1TB of nutella in each. If you saved them, replace the tops of the cupcake holes. (Optional: overflow your cupcake filling a little - you’ll need more nutella than is called for in the recipe - and then sprinkle a bit of your crushed malt balls on top of it!)
Once the frosting is chilled, use the whisk attachment of your stand mixer to beat the chocolate frosting mixture on low speed, gradually adding the 6TB room temperature butter pieces one at a time. Once all the butter has been incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is thick and smooth. If it’s too thick to pipe through a pastry bag you can add a bit more heavy cream, one teaspoon at a time, until it’s a better consistency.
Choose your pastry tip and fill your pastry bag with frosting - frost away! Then sprinkle your crushed malt balls on top and top each cupcake with a single malted milk ball.