Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

Happy first day of spring! We’ve had a pretty mild winter here in northern California, but I’m still ready for full-on spring: sunshine, blooming flowers, skirts and flip-flops. When I saw these cupcake liners at Michael’s in January, I couldn’t resist buying a box. They’re too cute with little ruffles, tiny polka dots and pastel colors…I knew they’d be perfect for a spring cupcake.

When I was brainstorming spring cupcakes, I got this idea in my head that I wanted to make bunny shaped cupcakes – but not just the cute white bunnies that keep cropping up on Pinterest. You see, I have a brown lop-eared rabbit and I wanted to make cupcakes that looked like her:

Her name is Cinnamon (she was the color of my favorite spice when we first adopted her) so I made some cinnamon chocolate cupcakes and topped them with my most popular frosting, Nutella buttercream. But when I tried to make the cupcakes look like my bunny, things went downhill fast. I put ear-shaped sugar cookies on top of the frosting, but they didn’t lay right and just looked weird.

She sets the bar pretty high for cuteness, so weird looking cupcakes really wouldn’t do her justice. For instance, here is Cinnamon adorably and delicately washing her face:

As it turns out, the cupcakes looked a whole lot prettier with nicely piped frosting and a few sugar pearls sprinkled on top. At least the flavor still honors her, and the cupcakes tasted amazing! The warm cinnamon flavor went perfectly with the rich chocolate in the cake, and you can’t beat Nutella frosting. Really, if you like the flavor of cinnamon at all, I wholeheartedly recommend these cupcakes. Russ tasted one without knowing the flavor. His reaction? “Woah! These are really good.”

Although my dreams of a bunny cupcake to represent my lop-ear were dashed, I’m so glad that I tried this cinnamon chocolate flavor combination. And, of course, I don’t give up that easily – I already have ideas for bunny cake pops and bunny marshmallows dancing in my head…

I couldn’t resist sharing one more cute photo of Cinnamon – here she is channeling her inner (and sleepy) Cadbury bunny:

She’s too cute for her own good. How about you – do you have any pets? Have you ever baked anything that looks like them (or baked for them, like dog treats)?

 

Recipe:

Chocolate Cinnamon Cupcakes
Yields: 18-19 cupcakes

Adapted from Epicurious.com

1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 + 1/8 cups freshly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
1/2 + 1/8 cups buttermilk
1/4 + 1/8 cup vegetable oil
1 large eggs
1 large egg yolks
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients from flour through baking soda.

In a separate large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla, and beat until blended. Turn mixer speed to low and slowly pour in dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan until each cup is 3/4 full. Bake 20 minutes, until the center springs back a bit when lightly touched. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Nutella Buttercream

You may need to double this if you like a lot of frosting on your cupcakes.

  • 1/2 C butter, room temperature
  • 1 C Nutella
  • 1 C powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 T milk

Beat butter until smooth. Add Nutella and beat together until thoroughly combined. Slowly add powdered sugar, mixing until combined. Add vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk. Add additional milk or powdered sugar as needed to reach desired consistency. Pipe or spread onto completely cooled cupcakes.

44 Comments on Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

    • Stephanie
      March 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm (3 years ago)

      @Becca – thank you! I can’t recommend these cupcakes enough, they’re definitely in my top 3 of all time!

    • Stephanie
      March 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm (3 years ago)

      @Peggy – thanks! She’s pretty spoiled and gets away with a lot. It pays to be so cute :)

    • Stephanie
      March 20, 2012 at 2:10 pm (3 years ago)

      @Mary Ellen – thank you! I agree – nothing beats Nutella buttercream!

    • Stephanie
      March 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm (3 years ago)

      @Steph – Bunnies aren’t for everyone but they can make great pets: adorable, quiet and lower-maintenance than a dog or cat. Cupcakes are definitely for everyone! A huge plate sounds pretty good to me too. These were gobbled up in a few days.

  1. Anita at Hungry Couple
    March 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm (3 years ago)

    The cupcakes sound delicious and your Cinnamon is adorable. I have a pup and I’m about to bake her some homemade treats for her upcoming birthday. Ironically, her best doggie pal used to be a little redheaded toy poodle named Cinnamon :)
    Anita at Hungry Couple recently posted Healthy Asparagus Spiral Puffs

    Reply
    • Stephanie
      March 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm (3 years ago)

      @Anita – thanks! That’s so funny about your pup’s pal. Cinnamon is a great name for a redheaded poodle. I love that you’re baking homemade treats for your pup’s birthday. I’m sure she will love them!

  2. Lacy @ NYCityEats
    March 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm (3 years ago)

    There is so much cuteness going on in this post I can hardly stand it!! First the bunny – ohmygoodness!! And these cupcakes lines & the frosting & the cute little bead topping! LOVE the extreme cuteness of this post – and the cupcakes sound delicious!
    Lacy @ NYCityEats recently posted Homemade Jalapeno-Bacon Tortilla Chips & Zesty Guacamole

    Reply
  3. Annie Oakley's Kitchen
    March 21, 2012 at 4:25 am (3 years ago)

    Your bunny is too cute and I love the name cinnamon! I always love the combination of chocolate and cinnamon. Just really deepens the flavor. Great recipe!
    Annie Oakley’s Kitchen recently posted Key Lime Pie

    Reply
  4. Kiri W.
    March 21, 2012 at 10:35 am (3 years ago)

    Wow – these look amazing! I love spiced chocolate, but then to add nutella? Utter genius :) And that’s the cutest bunny I’ve seen in a while
    Kiri W. recently posted Vietnamese Sweet Soup/Pudding – Che

    Reply
  5. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious
    March 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm (3 years ago)

    Cinnamon is absolutely adorable. The picture of her washing her face just killed me!

    As for the cupcakes, they are still stunning without the bunny ears. And that nutella buttercream sounds heavenly. I’ll have to try it soon!
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious recently posted Orange Cheese Danish

    Reply
  6. Spencer
    March 27, 2012 at 9:07 pm (3 years ago)

    They look absolutely delicious! I would love to try some.

    Reply
  7. Erica
    March 29, 2012 at 9:47 am (3 years ago)

    The bunny is adorable, and the cupcakes sound fantastic. Except the coffee. What should I use in place of the coffee?

    Reply
    • Stephanie
      March 29, 2012 at 10:12 am (3 years ago)

      @Erica- you could use water in place of coffee, but the coffee deepens the chocolate flavor so it wouldn’t be quite as good. The cupcake doesn’t end up tasting like coffee at all if you’re concerned about that.

  8. Tammy
    March 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm (3 years ago)

    Would these freeze well? (DOes one freeze with or without the icing?)
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Stephanie
      March 31, 2012 at 9:53 pm (3 years ago)

      @Tammy – yes, you can freeze cupcakes, but do it without the icing. I’ve frozen in plastic bags and tupperware successfully. Uncover before defrosting to avoid a gummy top.

  9. Kim
    April 24, 2012 at 10:21 am (3 years ago)

    I love your blog and I love cinnamon!She`s so cute!I once had a rabbit, who looked exactly the same like cinnamon.:) Love this recipe!

    Reply
  10. Gianina
    June 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi Stephanie,

    I just wanted to thank you for posting this amazing recipe. I’ve made it twice for my family and got nothing but compliments. It’s recipes like these that inspire me to keep on baking :)

    Reply
    • Stephanie
      September 6, 2012 at 11:34 am (3 years ago)

      @Silvia – thanks! She’s pretty adorable :)

  11. Ian
    October 14, 2012 at 8:45 am (2 years ago)

    It was obvious from the beginning that the Nutella Frosting would be amazing, but this recipe also gave me the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made! I’ll certainly be making both parts of this recipe again, either together or separately. Thanks!!

    Reply
  12. Sarah
    April 29, 2014 at 7:03 am (11 months ago)

    So for a kids party (my daughter LOVES cinnamon) would you just use decaf coffee? The sugar and chocolate should be enough to hype up a bunch of preschoolers ;)

    Reply
    • Stephanie Saunders
      May 4, 2014 at 6:31 pm (11 months ago)

      Sarah, I think decaf coffee should be fine – it’s just for boosting the chocolate flavor, so the caffeine shouldn’t affect the recipe as far as I know. Enjoy!

  13. Amanda
    May 12, 2014 at 4:40 pm (11 months ago)

    What does it mean for the coffee, butter milk and eggs when it says like 1/2 + 1/8 cups?

    Reply
    • Stephanie Saunders
      May 12, 2014 at 4:47 pm (11 months ago)

      Amanda, rather than say 5/8, which isn’t a common measuring amount for baking, I put 1/2 + 1/8 cups. Measure out 1/2 cup of the ingredient and add in another 1/8 cup.

  14. Amanda
    June 26, 2014 at 7:09 am (9 months ago)

    If one were to make this into a cake instead of cupcakes would everything in the recipe be exactly the same?

    Reply
    • Stephanie Saunders
      June 26, 2014 at 10:14 am (9 months ago)

      Amanda, yes you can keep it all the same and make it into a cake instead.

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