Pumpkin Nutella Cupcakes

Self-Frosting Cupcakes!

This week I was inspired by a tweet I received about Nutella frosting. I was introduced to the wonder that is Nutella my sophomore year at CCSU by my old roommate who used to eat it directly out of the jar on pretzels. Needless to say one taste of the rich, chocolate, hazelnut spread and I fell in love. So the idea to incorporate that flavor into a cupcake is genius.

Even though I wanted to bake with Nutella, I didn’t want to shy away from the fall flavors, especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner. So I did my usual Google search to try to find a recipe that I could work with, and one of the first ones that came up was “Self-Frosting Pumpkin Nutella Cupcakes” from the blog, 52 Kitchen Adventures. Now to be completely honest I didn’t search for any more recipes after finding this one, I was sold by the words “self-frosting” right in the blog’s title.

Not only did this recipe allow me to conduct a science experiment, but it also saved me from the frosting step, which has started to become my least favorite task. What is fun about these cupcakes is you make the pumpkin cake batter and rather than frosting them after, you put a spoonful of Nutella (or any hazelnut spread) on top of the batter in the cups and swirl it in with a toothpick. As the cupcakes bake in the oven the Nutella warms and spreads, virtually frosting the top of the cupcake.

Pumpkin and chocolate aren’t two flavors that are combined often, but I loved this cake. The cupcake itself is dense due to the weight of the pumpkin puree, but the Nutella serves as a nice compliment to the strong nutmeg and cinnamon flavors and the hardened Nutella could be broken off and eaten like a piece of chocolate!!


Self-Frosting Pumpkin Nutella Cupcakes

Adapted from 52 Kitchen Adventures


  • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2  teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Nutella for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a muffin pan with foil or paper liners.

2. Place the pumpkin, oil, eggs, vanilla, sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl. Beat to combine.

3. In a separate large bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Add to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.

4. Fill muffin cups around 3/4 full. Place a couple of teaspoons of Nutella on top of each cupcake. Use a toothpick to swirl the Nutella around the top of the batter.

Ready to go in the oven!

5. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

If you love Nutella as much as I do try some of these other inspired recipes, and don’t forget World Nutella Day is Feb. 5, 2012!

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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Cupcakes, Desserts, Fall Flavors


Butterscotch Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Harry Potter Butter Beer Inspired Cupcakes!

Butter beer inspired cupcakes!

I am a Harry Potter fanatic, there I’ve said it.

I’ve re-read the books more times than I can count, can recite the movie scripts line for line, and my freshman year of college I even took a class on Pottermania. The world the J.K. Rowling and the movie cast have been able to create has captured the hearts of people of all ages all around the world, including my own.

I knew starting this blog that I wanted to attempt a recipe that I found for butter beer cupcakes. Butter beer is the iconic drink coveted by the wizards and witches in the wizarding world and more so by the muggles who longed to taste the frothy, sweet drink from the Three Broomsticks.

While I haven’t been able to make the exact recipe (I couldn’t find butter extract, though I still plan to make them…especially with the Deathly Hallows Part II being released Nov. 11!) I was inspired to make some sort of butterscotch cake.

Last week I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a mini park inside Universal Island of Adventures. Walking through the entrance way is like being transported to England and into the secret world where wizards are real. The life-like attractions, including Hogwarts castle, are just the beginning for what the park has to offer.

Aside from rides, you are also able to walk through shops like Zonkos and Ollivander’s Wand Shop. Despite all of this one of the best features happens to be the butter beer carts scattered along the streets. The first thing my friends and I did to begin our Harry Potter experience was buy some butter beer, which happens to be an extremely sweet cream soda with a butterscotch froth along the top. Hence the butterscotch inspired cupcakes!

Vats of Butter beer

Journalism Loves at Harry Potter World!

The recipe I found on, from Betty Crocker was a last-minute find, which yielded delicious results! Like I said, I planned to use a butter beer specific recipe, but I’m happy with what I’ve made regardless.

The recipe itself is a little confusing, in fact I thought I would be blogging about my first batch of failure cupcakes, but alas, the butterscotch shines through and gives the cake a sweet edge to an otherwise plan vanilla flavor.

Butterscotch Cupcakes from Betty Crocker


  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chips, coarsely chopped
The ingredients was the confusing part for me, because as you can see some ingredients, such as sugar and vanilla extract are listed twice. To solve this I mixed all the ingredients, saving the 2 tsp of vanilla and 1 c sugar for the end, while hoping for the best!
I also added extra butterscotch chips to really settle in that flavoring, which definitely helped!


1.    Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups, grease bottom and sides of muffin cups with shortening and lightly flour, or spray with baking spray with flour. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

2.    In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Gradually add granulated sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl occasionally. Beat 2 minutes longer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture, about 1/3 of mixture at a time, and milk, about 1/2 at a time, beating just until blended. Stir in butterscotch chips. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each with about 3 tablespoons batter or until 2/3 to 3/4 full.

3.    Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans; place on cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1.    Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar with whisk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/4 cup milk. Return to boiling. Remove from heat; cool until lukewarm, about 30 minutes. Gradually stir in powdered sugar. Frost cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle each with kosher salt.
I also had a minor heart attack making the frosting, which was due to adding too much sugar too quickly. Instead of creaming together the sugar grew lumpy, although I was able to fix this by adding a splash of milk. However, to avoid this I suggest adding the sugar in 1/2 cup increments.
The final touch is adding a dash of sea salt to the frosted cupcakes. It is completely optional, however the salty taste offsets the sweet intensity created by the caramel and butterscotch chips.

Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Beer Cupcakes, Cupcakes


Candy Corn Cupcakes

Happy Halloween!

October 31, the night of all-hallows-eve has come and gone. Children have dressed up, gone door-to-door trick-or-treating for bite size candies and costume parties with spooky treats have since passed; that is of course if you live in Connecticut.

Last week I made candy corn cupcakes, cute, simple cakes that matched the famous color scheme of yellow, orange, and white, in honor of Halloween. While most houses give out miniature forms of famous candy bars, and Buddy Velastro, aka “Cake Boss” of Carlo’s Bakery gives out cupcakes (how cool is that?!), the one candy associated with this holiday still happens to be candy corn.

Who doesn’t get the nostalgic feeling walking into a store every October and seeing the orange Brachs bag? I know I do, and so does my mom, which is why I thought these cupcakes would be the perfect addition to our Halloween celebrations.

Sadly however, I had to make them early because I spent my Halloween weekend in Orlando, but that didn’t stop my friends from ravishing them! Lucky for me and this blog though, Storm Alfred hit New England depositing snow in the early stages of autumn, which caused trees and power lines to come down and Halloween to be postponed!

So with trick-or-treaters big and small still celebrating this beloved, candy-filled holiday I hope you enjoy my colorful concoctions!


The actual execution of candy corn cupcakes is very simple, and they are meant more to go with the theme of a holiday. Begin by making your favorite vanilla cake mix, I chose to use this recipe from All Recipes.

Once the white cake mix is made I divided the batter evenly into two separate bowls.

In one bowl add in yellow food coloring (I use Wilton’s) until the batter turns a bright hue. In the second bowl do the same with orange food coloring.

First spoon the yellow batter into the cupcake tins, enough to line the bottom.

Once the yellow batter is finished, spoon the orange batter into the tins on top of the yellow batter.

In a preheated oven of 350 degrees, bake the cupcakes 20-25 minutes.


The white tip of the candy corn is represented in the white frosting. Whether a buttercream or cream cheese frosting is used is dependent upon the baker, but I chose a simple, sweet and classic buttercream to enhance the vanilla cake.


2 Cups confectionary sugar

2 sticks of butter at room temperature

2 tbls of milk

1 tsp vanilla extract


Mix the sugar, milk and butter together with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth. Add the vanilla extract last for a hint of flavor.

The final step is to frost and decorate the cupcakes as desired. Personally, I started with Halloween themed, black and orange sprinkles and topped the cupcake with either a piece of candy corn or pumpkins. Let your imaginations run wild, because that is what Halloween is essentially all about.

For other versions of this take on candy corn check out these:

Come Together Kids


Seattle Times: Food & Wine


Sugar Turntable 


Java Cupcake

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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Cupcakes


Cupcake Camp Travels to New Haven

[View the story “Cupcake Camp Comes to New Haven” on Storify]

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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Cupcakes


Cupcake Photo Shoot IV

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream

I apologize for the slew of posts, but I had to this photo up! Last week I made the aromatic pumpkin cupcakes with the sweet and creamy cinnamon frosting. I hope you all enjoyed the post, and tried the recipe because they really are a nice addition to any autumn dinner!!

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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Cupcakes


Sidekick Shout Out: First Day at the Bakery

Between CCSU football and hockey games, and my job at the CT Whale selling jersey girl raffle tickets, I was unable to get multiple blog posts up, so instead I asked my sidekick, Devan Miller to help me. Dev and I aren’t only cousins, we’re also best friends.

I’ve talked about her in past posts, and she really is the one with the passion for baking. It’s her goal to open up a bakery someday, and we are using this blog not only as a way of exploring the Connecticut Cupcake culture, but also as an outlet to test out different cupcake recipes! Each week I know which flavor I want to try and create, and she”s always there to help me. 

A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Anne DeFusco, owner of Mr. D’s in Wallingford. As we were talking I mentioned that my cousin is an aspiring baker, and because of that small little mention she now has a job in the bakery. Saturday was her first day working with the team at Mr. D’s and I thought it would be a fun change to have her assist me in the writing side of the blog, not just in the kitchen!!

I started my new job at Mr. D’s Bakery yesterday andI don’t think I have been more nervous in my life. I had no idea what I was going to have to do, who I was working with, I knew nothing other then the fact that Anne liked the way I frosted cupcakes the day I met her for my first interview.

When I got there in the morning, Anne had this huge smile on her face and I felt a little less nervous. Right away I filled a pastry bag and went to work on the cupcakes. I Frosted them, filled some with caramel, rolled some in sugar, I got the hang of that pretty quick. Then i had to figure out what ice cream was what and how much to put in each size cup or cone and how to make a milk shake. I also had to learn how to work the register, to me that’s the hardest part because I still have no idea how to do it. I also need learn how to make cappuccinos and espresso.

I guess you could say it was a bit over whelming, but watching the girls that I worked with yesterday, I know in time it will become second nature.  They were more then helpful toward me, they helped me with whatever I needed help with and they had an answer for any question I had.  Anne and her husband are also very helpful, caring, and wonderful people and I am honored that they have allowed me to be part of their “family” as Anne would call it.  

Me (r) and Devan (L)

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Posted by on October 23, 2011 in Bakeries, Connecticut


Poll: Fall Flavors

There is no doubt that I love fall and all the food that comes with it! Thanksgiving epitomizes all of the possibilities the season has to offer when it comes to recipes, but why wait until November? I want to know what some of your favorite fall flavors are!! It’ll help me decide which cupcakes to bake next so don’t be afraid to tell me what mouth-watering flavors you’d like to see infused into a cupcake!

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Posted by on October 17, 2011 in Fall Flavors

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