Sadly, one of the things that I normally have to live without since I am vegan is Nutella, because it has whey in it. Luckily for me, my brother is living in Holland, and when he visited this past December, he brought me two large jars of a vegan version of this chocolate-hazelnut spread! The most obvious thing to do with it is eat it straight out of the jar by the spoonful, or mix it with peanut butter and have that as a snack/dessert/anytime-food. However, I wanted to do something a little more creative with it, and while my first idea was to spread it thick on a cake instead of icing, I opted for putting it directly in the cake! I can’t decide what to call these; muffins because they have no frosting, and I couldn’t resist eating them for breakfast, or cupcakes because they are sweet and I also ate them for dessert! Either way, they were delicious.
Here is the recipe for them, the only trick is that you will have to find a vegan Nutella. You could make your own nutella from scratch, or use peanut or almond butter instead for an equally delicious but different taste.
1 cup non-dairy milk (i like almond milk, but soy or rice milk will work just as well)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tblsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (like Earth Balance), softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. hazelnut extract (or more vanilla extract)
approximately 3/4 cup Nutella (or subsititute)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk the milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside a few minutes to curdle. Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix. In a separate bowl, use a handheld mixer to cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and hazelnut extracts, and then alternate beating in the milk mixture and the dry ingredients. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full. top each cake with 1-1/2 teaspoons Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the Nutella. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until cake is golden and a toothpick insterted into the cake edge comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack, and eat some while they are still warm!