As a Valentine’s Day treat for my kids, I made this pull apart cupcake heart I wanted to share with you! I used a Nutella based buttercream that is the perfect frosting for cupcakes. The espresso really brings out the flavor of the chocolate and it comes together quickly and is so delicious. I used the buttercream to top these vegan cupcakes. Why vegan cupcakes? Buttercream can be so sweet and rich, it was a nice contrast with a cake that was crumbly and well, not so rich. They worked really well together, I hope you try it!
Cupcakes Nutella Espresso Buttercream
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup Nutella
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup half and half*
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
For the Cupcakes:
For the Buttercream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cupcake tray with 12 liners.
- In a large bowl, add almond milk, oil and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Add sugar and whisk until dissolved. Add flour, baking powder, and salt, and gently whisk together until combined and smooth.
- In a small bowl, add the baking soda and apple cider vinegar to activate. Add to the mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Fill cupcakes about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for about 22 minutes or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cupcake.
- Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream. In a measuring cup, measure out the half and half. Dissolve the instant espresso powder in the half and half. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and Nutella. Add the powdered sugar in two addition and combine well.
- Slowly pour in the half and half mixture, a bit at a time, until buttercream has reached the desired consistency. * Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a five star tip.
- On a flat surface or tray, arrange cooled cupcakes in a heart shape. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes, starting at the center and swirling outwards. Allow the buttercream to overlap onto adjacent cupcakes so that they appear connected.
- Decorate with chocolate, sprinkles, and berries.
- Be sure to add in the half and half mixture slowly, discarding extra if you believe the buttercream to be too thin (this will happen if you add the mixture too quickly).