They say the spirit of Christmas manifests itself in people who prefer to give rather than to receive; those who whole-heartedly and excitedly give gifts just for the satisfaction of a smile from loved ones. With that in mind, I decided to have this year’s Christmas Countdown recipes focus on well-loved giftable treats. Although I realise you can pretty much gift any sort of baked good during this season, I thought I would share some festive treats that became great hits here at home and to those I gifted them to.
Now cupcakes are, I think, one of those very few things just about everyone loves.
Cupcakes are delicious and pretty but really easy to make, which is why most home bakers also love creating them at home. They challenge the baker’s inventiveness in coming up with new and unique cake-frosting combinations, as well as their creativity in upgrading old classics. This particular recipe feels like a play of a classic. It starts with a simple Chocolate-Banana Cupcake bottom, but topping it with Chocolate-Nutella Frosting makes it deliciously indulgent. And we all know Christmas equals indulgence. Yes??
Like last year’s hit cupcakes, these cupcakes are moist and have that sweet scent and flavour of bananas very present in them. What I love most is how deep the chocolate flavour is. With the thick Nutella frosting on top, the cupcakes take a step up to another level of goodness. It will have you licking your fingers and your lips once you finish one, and nobody will fault you for reaching out for another one.
I decided to retain an elegant look for my cupcakes so I held back on the sprinkles and decorations, using a star tip to frost and placing them in Christmas-themed packaging instead. But if you want to create a more Christmas mood, feel free to add red and green sprinkles, or those sprinkles that are shaped like Christmas trees I find so cute! As always, the sky is the limit when it comes to cupcake decorating. For how I frosted my cupcakes, you can watch my video tutorial below.
makes 16 to 18 cupcakes
- 1 cup corn oil
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 cup Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut spread of choice
- 1/3 cup milk, or more
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- 2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or by hand using a wire whisk), combine oil and brown sugar. Beat on medium speed until combined.
- 3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and mashed bananas.
- 4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- 5. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture to the banana mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk, until incorporated.
- 6. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
- 7. In a bowl, sift sugar and cocoa powder together. Set aside.
- 8. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and Nutella on medium speed until smooth. (This can also be done by hand if the butter is soft enough.)
- 9. Lower the speed and gradually add confectioner's sugar and cocoa mixture. Add milk; beat until smooth.
- 10. Place frosting in a piping bag fitted with tip of choice and pipe on fully cooled cupcakes. Add more decoration as desired.
Aside from the fact that we love banana bread and chocolate over here, it would seem only natural to love something that combines the two. And just look at the texture and moistness of that cupcake– that gorgeous crumb! It’s simply a fabulous little treat meant to be shared to the world. 🙂