I love celebrating my friends’ birthdays not only because I get to be part of their special day of turning one year older, but also because it gives me an excuse to bake a new recipe. I’m always looking forward to experimenting with new types of cookies, cupcakes, brownies and have almost never repeated.
Except once. My good friend Claire and I had made these delicious muffins for my friend’s birthday. I got the idea from the Nutella Swirled Banana Walnut Bread I made last summer and turned it into muffin form since they’re easier to share. We both tried a piece when the muffins were fresh out of the oven and almost couldn’t help ourselves from eating the rest. All of our friends who had sampled some of the muffin had that coveted “dying of happiness” face, which instantly tells you that you did a good job.
The following week was another friend’s birthday. She immediately requested the same Nutella-swirled banana muffins from me and Claire. So, we made an even bigger batch this time and again, saw even more happy faces. Now I know what to do whenever I have a bunch of brown, overripe bananas
NUTELLA-SWIRLED BANANA BREAD MUFFINS
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flours, baking soda, and baking powder until well combined. Set aside.
3. In large bowl, whisk together banana, sugar, brown sugar. (Use a blender if you have one.) Beat in egg, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture, until mixture is smooth.
4. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Top each muffin with about 1 teaspoon of Nutella and use a toothpick to swirl it into the batter.
5. Bake muffins for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
adapted from The Novice Chef
I could eat spoonfuls of straight up Nutella anytime, anywhere, any day. This smooth, creamy, chocolatey, hazelnut spread is something that once you’re introduced to, there is absolutely no going back. It’s just so…addicting.
Starting last year, I’ve been incorporating Nutella in a lot of my baking. It all started with some amazing Nutella cookies stuffed with Nutella for a friend’s birthday. Ever since, I’ve been putting it into everything, like Nutella Swirled Banana Walnut Bread and Nutella Mug Cake.
This time I made it the star ingredient of a very simple cheesecake (no-bake!) There are only 4 ingredients: Nutella, cream cheese, vanilla, and a graham crust. Just 4 ingredients for a dessert this wonderful? And no oven needed? I almost still can’t believe it.
This delicious cheesecake was for my really good friend, Bahareh’s birthday. Since it was my first time making it, I was worried how it would turn out in the end.
Well, it was spectacular! One forkful was an intense rush of that creamy Nutella flavor. It was different from regular Nutella since it had been in the freezer for 4 hours. If you’re a fan of Nutella, you’ve got to try this cheesecake because chilled Nutella…it’s a whooole new experience
EASY NUTELLA CHEESECAKE
1 jar (13 oz) Nutella
18 oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1 graham crust
6 Ferro Rocher chocolates (optional)
Beat the cream cheese and vanilla together until blended.
Mix in the Nutella using a hand-mixer or food processor.
Spread mixture into graham crust so that it is smooth.
Decorate with Ferro Rocher chocolates (optional).
Chill in fridge for at least 4 hours.
adapted from delishhh
Last Saturday, my best friend Hayley turned 19. Back in high school, her birthday would always be right around finals so I never had the time to properly bake her something other than brownies. This year I wanted to make her something special, since we have been close friends throughout all of high school and just spent our first year away from each other at college. So I decided to bake something colorful, something fun…hello funfetti cupcakes!
Sprinkles are so much fun and especially perfect for birthdays. They add some pop, joy, and happiness to everything. They even add the slightest bit of crunch to these cupcakes, which are wonderfully fluffy and cake-y. The rich vanilla buttercream frosting and vanilla cake duo just melt in your mouth in a spectacular way.
Rummaging through my pantry, I came across these cute mini cupcake liners that I had never used before. So I decided to give them a try. The itsy bitsy cupcakes came out SO cute. Then, I found these aluminum liners that were a bit bigger than the mini ones but not quite the size of standard cupcake liners. So I used them too and they also came out beautifully!
I have a confession to make…this was actually my first time making my own frosting. Before, I would just kinda cheat by icing my cupcakes with store-bought frosting. This time, I decided it was time to bring it to the next level and make my own. Turned out it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, it was pretty easy – just mixing butter, sugar, cream and vanilla in a standing mixer.
Okay, frosting a cupcake is actually harder than it looks. My first couple of tries came out pretty terribly. But after watching some how-to videos and taking some practice runs on a couple of cupcakes, I started getting the hang of it. In the end, I gave the pretty ones to Hayley while the not so attractive ones were quickly gobbled up by my brother.
MINI FUNFETTI CUPCAKES
adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (regular yogurt also works)
3/4 cup milk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sprinkles
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered (confectioners sugar)
1/4 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini muffin tray with 24 mini cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Melt butter and stir in sugar until well mixed. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 minute. Add in egg, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined.
Slowly mix in dry ingredients until batter is thick and smooth. Slowly stir in sprinkles.
NOTE: If you are using nonpareil sprinkles (the little balls), they may bleed so don’t over stir.
Divide batter among the 24 liners and bake for 10 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean.)
For the medium aluminum liners, bake for 15 minutes and for regular cupcake liners, bake for 20 minutes.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
Beat softened butter in an electric or stand mixer on medium for 3 minutes.
Add sugar, cream and vanilla extract with the mixer still running. Increase speed to high for 3 minutes.
Frost cooled cupcakes and sprinkle away!!!