Chocolate Hazelnut Cupakes

The support staff I work with is exceedingly amazing and incredible. As an attempted thank you to them I want to bring them cupcakes and had to get over my fear of high-altitude baking. Some googling lead me to some high-altitude baking blogs and the Chocolate Hazelnut cupcakes from Hummingbird on High sounded pretty good. Now, on my blog I talk a lot about adventure, dogs, and photography, but I also love to bake. I just don’t see the need to turn this into a baking blog since there are so many incredible culinary bloggers out there and I like to think of this as a place that supports healthy lifestyle living. But I’ve made DOZENS of cupcake recipes and frostings: mojito cupcakes with a lime syrup infusion, creme brûlée cupcakes with homemade dulce de leche, earl grey cupcakes with lemon frosting, butter creams, cream cheese frostings, ganaches and everything else. I love to bake cupcakes.

These are the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. Ever. This amazing woman found a way to improve Nutella: by adding butter cream frosting to it! Drool! I’m not even going to discuss what just happened to the leftover frosting because it would be embarrassing for both of us. Just do something good for yourself: run a marathon and then stick your head in a bowl of this frosting to make up the calories you just burned. Enjoy.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes.

Not my recipe, not even close. Don’t give me any credit. All credit and weird nutella-induced affection should be directed to Hummingbird on High.

For the Chocolate Cake Base:
(makes 10 – 12 cupcakes)
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • a scant 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder (increase to 1 1/2 teaspoons for sea-level)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Nutella

For the Chocolate Hazelnut Buttercream Frosting
(enough for 12 cupcakes)

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/3 cup Nutella


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 (F) — this is a 25 degree (F) increase from the original sea-level recipe temperature of 325 (F).
  2. Put 3/4 plus 2 tablespoons flour, 2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 cup sugar, pinch of salt, and 3 tablespoons butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
  3. Slowly pour 1/2 cup milk into the flour mixture, beating well until all the ingredients are well mixed.
  4. Add the egg and beat well, scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Spoon the batter into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when touched. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. When the cupcakes are cold, hollow out a small section in the center of each one and fill with a dollop of Nutella.


  1. Beat 2 cups confectioners’ sugar and 5 tablespoons butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or, use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
  2. Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and slowly pour in 2 tablespoons milk. When it is incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy (at least 5 minutes).
  3. When the frosting is ready, use a spatula to stir in 1/3 cup Nutella and continue mixing by hand until the Nutella is mixed into the frosting and it is an even light brown color.
  4. When the cupcakes are cold and infused with Nutella, spoon the frosting on top and decorate accordingly.

Photo Credit: Hummingbird on High