chocolate mud cupcakes with Nutella buttercream



If my Instagram feed is anything to go by, the hybridisation of treats is huge at the moment. My appreciation for iterations on lolly cake based cheesecakes and gigantic lamington cakes led to my own imagination coming up with these cupcakes – turning afghan biscuits into cake form, with the addition of Nutella. The recipe I’ve provided here is a simplified version – in part because my gluten free afghan biscuits were if anything, too buttery (and that’s coming from me), and also because four components to a cupcake feels like I’m overcomplicating things for the sake of it.

And what more could you want from a cupcake beyond a tender cake crumb and adequate frosting:cupcake ratio? The Nutella buttercream is ridiculously fluffy and delicious – with the yoghurt addition cutting through the sweetness just enough. The chocolate mudcake underneath is a recipe from Bake Play Smile that I just can’t quit. It’s foolproof, uses simple ingredients, and yields a surprisingly rich and moist result. It also makes a gigantic quantity of cake – as evidenced in my photos via the loaf cake I opted to make in lieu of extra cupcakes. I always find myself compelled to bake things while on night shift – perhaps because I have so much difficulty sleeping that the kitchen provides an alternative form of soothing. In any case, bringing along this platter is always an excellent test for crowd pleasing, and these treats was an all round success.

Should you wish to decorate them just like mine, the cornflake praline is simple enough – heat a cup of sugar and two tablespoons water over medium heat, only stirring to dissolve before leaving to turn a golden caramel colour. While cooking the sugar, prepare a baking tray line with nonstick paper and sprinkle with cornflake crumbs and chopped walnuts. When the sugar is golden, pour on top of the cornflakes, sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt and leave to set before cutting and crushing into rough pieces and crumbs. The cookies are afghan biscuits – a Kiwi classic!



chocolate mud cupcakes with Nutella buttercream (GF)


    Chocolate cupcakes:

    • 1.5 cups (220g) gluten free flour blend for baking
    • 1 ¾ cup (350g) caster sugar
    • ¾ cup (65g) unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 3 tsp baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup (125ml) full cream milk
    • 1/2 cup (125ml) yoghurt
    • ½ cup (125ml) vegetable oil
    • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
    • 1 cup (250ml) hot strong coffee

    Nutella buttercream:

    • 400g butter, softened but not melted
    • 4 cups (500g) icing/confectioner’s sugar
    • 150g Nutella
    • 2 tbsp cocoa
    • 1 tsp vanilla essence
    • 1/4 cup plain unsweetened yoghurt (not Greek)


    1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C fan bake setting. Line standard muffin tins with cupcake cases – this recipe makes around 30, so may require multiple batches.
    2. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt) and stir to combine.
    3. In another bowl, beat together the milk, yoghurt, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla essence. 
    4. To the wet mixture, add the dry ingredients in thirds, beating through on low speed after each addition.
    5. Pour over the hot coffee and mix through.
    6. Carefully spoon the mixture into cupcake cases, filling them to about 3/4 to 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or when a skewer comes out clean. Cool briefly in the tins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
    7. If not using immediately, store in an airtight container. These cakes are suitable for freezing.


    1. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter until pale and creamy.
    2. Add the icing sugar one cup at a time, beating on high after each addition. Add the Nutella, cocoa, vanilla essence and yoghurt and beat further to combine completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge if not using immediately.


    1. Ice the cooled cupcakes using a large round tip fitted to a piping bag, swirling from the outside in.
    2. I decorated my cupcakes with sprinkles, a cornflake and walnut praline, afghan biscuit pieces and cookie crumbs.
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