Multiple chocolate cupcakes in foil liners with buttercream swirls on a white surface.
Photography, Art Direction & Food Styling: Anthony Contrino

As much as I love cake, I may actually prefer cupcakes.  They are so much less time consuming and just as good (and, in my opinion, just as pretty)!  You’ll find me making these for family parties and get-togethers, and they’re always a crowd pleaser!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Inactive: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 24 cupcakes



  • ¾ cup high-quality cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee or boiling water


  • 4 large egg whites
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ pound unsalted European-style butter, removed from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to using
  • ½ cup chocolate hazelnut spread
  • Chocolate sprinkle, chocolate pearls and/or gold leaf for garnish, optional


  • MAKE THE CUPCAKES: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cavity cupcake pans with aluminum liners.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix the cocoa powder, sugar, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined.
  • In a 4-cup measuring cup, whisk the eggs, oil, vanilla and whole milk until emulsified.
  • With the mixer on medium-low, slowly drizzle the egg mixture into the dry ingredients to form a thick batter, scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Add the hot coffee in four additions, waiting until each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixer bowl to ensure all ingredients are well combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans, filling each liner about ⅔ of the way full.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, for 18 to 22 minutes.
  • Using a small offset, carefully transfer the hot cupcakes to a cooling rack; cool completely.
  • MAKE THE BUTTERCREAM: Bring a small saucepan filled with 1-inch of water to a simmer.
  • Meanwhile, in a stand mixer bowl, whisk the egg whites, sugar and salt to combine.
  • Place the mixing bowl over the simmering water and whisk until the mixture is thickened, very warm to the touch and the sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and whip, with the whisk attachment, on medium for 2 minutes. Increase the speed to high and whip until the sides of the bowl are nearly room temperature and stiff peaks form.
  • Reduce the speed to medium-high and add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, whipping until fully incorporated and creamy.
  • Switch to the paddle attachment and beat until smooth.
  • Add the chocolate hazelnut spread and mix, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, as needed, until well combined.
  • Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized star tip.
  • Pipe rosettes and garnish with chocolate sprinkles, chocolate pearls or gold leaf, if desired.
  • Refrigerate up to 3 days; serve at room temperature.
Course: Dessert
Author: Anthony Michael Contrino