Italian creme cupcakes with Nutella buttercream frosting

Italian creme cupcakes with Nutella buttercream frostingThose of you who cook regularly probably have absolute favorite things you’ve ever made, that you would totally make if someone asked you to make them something delicious from scratch.

This. is. it. for me.

Our home church group decided to have a Christmas dinner, and Melissa, our host, told us she was going with an Italian theme. Baking’s my favorite, so I volunteered us to bring a dessert. I gave several different desserts consideration (runners up were Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti and Italian Christmas Cookies; I also considered tiramisu and creme brulee cheesecake), but Bobby specifically asked for Italian cream cupcakes. How could I say no?

These were different from any other cupcake I’ve ever made. Two of the unique aspects are the use of buttermilk in the batter and the separation of eggs (and subsequent whipping of the egg whites) before adding them to the batter. Another fun thing I attempted this time was creating my own piping bag by cutting the tip off the corner of a plastic zippered bag. It wasn’t beautiful, but I think it was a good first effort!

Hope you enjoy these cupcakes as much as I did!

Italian cream cupcakes with Nutella buttercream frosting
Adapted from food.com

Ingredients for cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
*1 cup coconut, toasted

Directions:

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Whip the butter and sugar until combined and creamy. Add egg yolks one at a time while mixing (I used my stand mixer with the paddle attachment). Add vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add half the dry ingredients, mix; add the buttermilk and mix; add the other half of the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until they hold soft peaks. Fold into the batter along with the coconut*. Bake at 350 F for 20-24 minutes.

*The coconut is totally optional. I did half coconut and half without, using toasted coconut as a topping for the ones that had it and toffee bits as the topping for the ones sans coconut.

Ingredients for frosting:

8-oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 of a small tub of Nutella
Splash of heavy cream
1/3 to 1/2 lb. of powdered sugar

Directions:

Whip butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add Nutella and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Add heavy cream and mix. Add powdered sugar and mix until frosting is smooth and creamy. Adjust the amount of sugar you add based on how sweet you want the frosting to be. Refrigerate frosting until you are ready to use it.

Once the cupcakes have had a chance to cool, frost them with the Nutella buttercream and garnish with toasted coconut or toffee bits.

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