Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Off-Grid Baking 4: Nutella Cupcakes (success and failure!)

I had seen these Self Frosting Nutella Cupcakes on Home Cooking Rocks, and wanted to give them a try. I LOVE Nutella, and they looked like they'd travel well, so I planned to take them to give to my crew after the race on Saturday.

I also jumped at the chance to use the new whisk my mum sent to me. So I set about making these on Friday night. It started to go a bit wrong right from the beginning - my hand whisk just couldn't get the butter and sugar fluffy enough. I gave up and added the eggs and flour, but the recipe said the mixture ought to be really stiff! Mine wasn't. Hmm. I carried on and added the mixture and the nutella to the cases, but because the cake mix was too runny they just wouldn't marble together properly and it was a bit frustrating. They came out looking OK, but the nutella kind of exploded a bit leaving 'empty' cakes, and where it had stayed in the cakes, it sank to the bottom and didn't really work. Ah well, when I started my Off-Grid baking I expected some fail cakes!


On Monday evening I tried to make Nutella cupcakes again, but this time just in the frosting, but using a basic Quick Chocolate Cupcake recipe from Versatile Kitchen. I like this recipe: it really is quick, just bung it all in and stir! I also like using oil instead of butter in general, as it's healthier, and so much easier to work with - no fluffing of butter and sugar, which is just so hard without an electric mixer!

For the frosting I made up a recipe, using 1/4 cup of butter, 2 cups of icing sugar and about half a cup of nutella! Sooo unhealthy! But so delicious. These turned out really well. I still want to find a recipe which incorporates Nutella into the actual cupcakes, but I will work on that one!



  1. You'd be much better off using a wooden spoon for creaming the butter and sugar for cakes. Obviously, it makes life much easier if the butter is reasonably warm (not melted, just soft). You start off sort of squishing the butter and sugar together to combine them and then you can beat the mixture, which incorporates air, until it's light and becomes pale coloured. After that you can add the eggs and flour, again using the wooden spoon to mix it.

  2. PS I should have added that the other thing which helps is to chop the butter up into fairly small chunks before you begin (especially if it's cold) as this helps you to get started. It really isn't hard to do though, once you've got used to it; I've made many cakes this way over they years!

  3. A further thought for you! It could be worth looking in charity shops to find an old cookbook. Anything published before about the early eighties, will probably have been written on the assumption that a lot of people will be working off-grid, at least for the food preparation, if not the actual cooking. One book I'd recommend is Marguerite Patten's "Perfect Cooking"; my copy was published in 1972 and makes it clear which implements she recommends using for each stage (for instance wooden spoon for creaming the butter and sugar but a metal spoon for folding in the flour and eggs).