Sweet childhood memories. Coming back from a cold and windy sailing practice to devour mounds of brioche spread thick with chocolate-hazelnutty goodness. Goodness? Well, sort of. Too bad that Nutella actually has more refined sugar and vegetable oil than hazelnuts. Too bad that it contains skim milk powder and reduced-fat cocoa instead of real, full fat stuff. Too bad that synthetic vanilla flavor is used in place of good old vanilla extract.
Do I still eat Nutella? On occasion. I do not ever buy it. But if I visit my parents and find a jar of Nutella, am I going to dig in? You betcha. And I'll probably spread it generously on a thick slice of homemade yogurt cake (recipe coming soon).
Because I am at home and not buying Nutella does not mean the craving never strikes.
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself longing for a good simple piece of vanilla cake with Nutella. Enter this simple vanilla cupcake recipe from Simple Bites, topped with my own, homemade, Nutella-inspired frosting.
- 1 cup hazelnuts, roasted at 350F for 10mins, most skins removed (you could, of course, use 3/4 cup hazelnut butter instead, but I find the process of roasting and removing skins very therapeutic)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
In a food processor, process the hazelnuts, salt and butter until creamy. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add vanilla, cocoa powder, maple syrup and milk - stir to combine.
Add the icing sugar and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy.
This recipe will make enough for 12 cupcakes.