Cupakes That Are a Mouthful: Nutella Buttons

Last week we had a minor snowstorm in D.C. that caused the federal government to close for the day. I always love the windfall baking time I get from a snow day -- but I didn't want to trudge through the snow to the grocery store, so I had to make do with the ingredients I already had on hand. I decided to make Dorie Greenspan's recipe for Nutella Buttons.

These are miniature white cake cupcakes filled with Nutella -- but Dorie mentions that you can fill them with jam, ganache, speculoos spread, or anything else you like. To make the batter, you first whisk together the dry ingredients (powdered sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt) and then add egg yolks, vanilla, and almond extract. The recipe says that the mixture will resemble a paste, but mine was like stiff cookie dough -- I could have rolled it out and cut it. You then add in melted butter, and I was surprised that the butter incorporated easily to form a smooth batter. Finally, you fold in egg whites beaten to stiff peaks.

You put a little bit of cake batter into the bottom of each cupcake liner in a mini-muffin pan, add a dab of Nutella, and then cover the Nutella with more cake batter. I filled the cupcake papers close to the top (as directed by the recipe), and the cupcakes rose into neat rounded domes. To top the cupcakes, Greenspan recommends ganache or melted white chocolate; I went with chocolate ganache (chocolate, heavy cream, and butter).
These cupcakes were very good. The cake itself was springy and moist. The Nutella surprise inside was tasty, but I wish that I had added more -- after all, who can get enough Nutella? Likewise, I wish that I had incorporated some Nutella in the ganache or maybe added some chopped hazelnuts as garnish, because the strong flavor of the chocolate ganache almost overshadowed the Nutella.

I was very happy with the way the cupcakes came out, but truthfully, I couldn't help thinking that this lovely white cake might be even better filled with berry jam and topped with vanilla buttercream or a fruity glaze. But I also happen to have a personal preference for vanilla frosting with white cake. Regardless, these cupcakes were as cute as a button and packed a lot of flavor in their adorable little packages.

Recipe: "Nutella Buttons" from Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan.