These chocolate hazelnut cupcakes are full of the delicious flavour of Nutella without the brand name and the dairy. These vegan cupcakes are made with a rich chocolate hazelnut cupcake, filled with vegan chocolate hazelnut spread and topped with a vegan Nutella buttercream. They are seriously good!
Not being able to eat Nutella might just be one of the worst things about not being able to eat dairy. Thankfully, there are now quite a few vegan substitutes that are equally as delicious and they’re becoming more and more easily available.
So these are a Nutella cupcake without the brand name and the dairy. And yes, I’m so excited about this recipe!
For the ‘Nutella’ I’m using Pana Organic Chocolate Hazelnut spread which is always in stock at my local Woolworths. It’s a natural product so you do need to give it a big mix to combine the oils like a natural peanut butter when you buy it but the flavour and texture is so delicious, I highly recommend it.
My other favourite brand is Vego but it tends to be harder to come by and I usually find it at specialty and health food shops or online.
My husband is my chief taste tester, with all the desserts in particular going through him for final approval before I finalise a recipe. For these, I must include his feedback because wide eyed he exclaimed that these were the best thing I’d ever made.
Now there is definitely some personal preference coming in here, but if you or someone you want to make these for is the kind of person to sit down with a jar of chocolate hazelnut spread and eat it with a spoon, then these cupcakes are 100% made for them.
When creating the recipe for these cupcakes I knew I wanted to include as much chocolate hazelnut flavour as possible so the chocolate cupcakes themselves have hazelnut meal in them to give them that extra nutty flavour.
I’ve then cut out the centre and filled it with a big spoon of the chocolate hazelnut spread because you 100% want to take a bite and get that rich, creamy centre. Finally I’ve made a chocolate hazelnut buttercream frosting using more of the spread to finish them off.
These are the ultimate indulgent cupcake flavour and are simply perfect for any occasion.
To make this recipe you’ll need your usual ingredients for making vegan cupcakes plus a couple of extras to add the hazelnut flavour.
- Almond milk – my preference in baking but you can also use soy milk or oat milk instead.
- White vinegar – added to the dairy free milk to create a ‘buttermilk’ that helps create a super soft cake texture.
- Plain flour – known as all purpose flour in the US.
- Cocoa powder – always use a good quality cocoa powder for the best flavour.
- Hazelnut meal – gives the cupcakes a subtle hazelnut flavour that enhances the overall flavour of the cupcakes. You can buy this at the supermarket or make your own. If you can’t get it or would prefer not to have to buy another ingredient, you can just use the same quantity of plain flour in this recipe.
- Baking powder – gives the cakes rise.
- Bicarbonate of soda – also known as baking soda in the US, this is essential for a light and fluffy cupcake due to the reaction with the vinegar.
- Canola oil – you can use any light tasting oil for this recipe. I don’t recommend olive oil or coconut oil for this recipe as the flavour will be too strong and we want to highlight the choc/hazelnut combination.
- White sugar – keeps the cakes sweet but not too sweet
- Vanilla extract – enhances the rich chocolate flavour
- Chocolate hazelnut spread – we’re using this in the centre of the cupcakes as well as in the buttercream. I’m using Pana Organic brand as it’s vegan but Vego also makes a delicious one. If you didn’t need these to be dairy free/vegan you can of course use Nutella.
To make the cupcakes themselves is really quite easy, you’ll need a couple of mixing bowls, a whisk and a 12 cup muffin or cupcake tray.
Start by preheating your oven and lining the tray with cupcake liners. This recipe will yield about 14 cupcakes so you can either line a second tray with 2 liners, or you can cook these in batches which is what I usually do.
Add the white vinegar to the almond milk and mix together and set aside. This will curdle a bit but that’s ok.
Next, in a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, hazelnut meal, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda until combined. Set aside.
In a separate bowl whisk together the canola oil, white sugar and vanilla extract. Starting with the milk, alternate the addition of the milk and the dry ingredients a little at a time into the bowl, whisking until combined between each addition.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, about ¾ full and then bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing and setting aside to cool completely on a wire rack.
Decorating and Assembling
Once the cupcakes are cool it’s time to assemble and make the buttercream frosting.
To make the frosting you’ll need an electric mixer. I prefer to use my stand mixer but a hand held mixer also will work.
Start by beating together the dairy free butter and vanilla extract. Add in the vegan hazelnut spread and mix until it starts to combine with the butter. Add in one cup of the icing sugar and mix until combined. Add in another cup of icing sugar along with a tablespoon of dairy free milk and continue beating until creamy.
Add in a final cup of icing sugar along with a pinch of salt. Drizzle in roughly another tablespoon of dairy free milk until your frosting is super creamy.
Add your favourite piping tip to a piping bag (I’m loving the ruffles created by my Russian ball piping tip at the moment).
To assemble, use a knife to carefully cut out a small hole in the centre of the cupcake, about half way down. Use a spoon to place some of the vegan hazelnut spread in the hole.
Pipe a swirl of frosting over the top and finish with a light sprinkle of crushed hazelnuts if you like.
More vegan cupcake recipes:
Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes (Vegan)
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 cup plain flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup hazelnut meal
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the chocolate hazelnut buttercream:
- ¼ cup 60 grams dairy free butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup vegan chocolate hazelnut spread
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- Pinch salt
- Vegan chocolate hazelnut spread extra
- Crushed hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a muffin tin with 12 patty cases / cupcake liners and a second tray with 2.
- In a small bowl, mix together the white vinegar and almond milk. It will split and curdle but this is ok! Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the plain flour, cocoa powder, hazelnut meal, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the canola oil, white sugar and vanilla until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the oil and sugar mixture, alternating with the milk until the batter just comes together, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Spoon mixture into patty cases ensuring they are only ¾ full before placing them in the oven for 20 minutes or until they spring back when lightly touched. Remove from the pan and set aside on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Prepare the buttercream frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the dairy free butter and vanilla until creamy. Add in the hazelnut spread and continue to beat together.
- Add in 1 cup of icing sugar and mix until fully incorporated. Add in the second cup and beat until creamy, adding 1 tablespoon of almond milk. Repeat this with the remaining icing sugar and milk, using just enough to ensure the frosting is smooth and creamy. Add a pinch of salt and beat to combine.
- Cut out small holes in the top of your cupcakes and fill with a spoonful of vegan hazelnut spread.
- Place the buttercream in a piping bag fitted with your favourite piping tip and pipe swirls around the top of each cupcake before finishing with a sprinkle of crushed hazelnuts.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.