Ritz Nutella Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Remember those Peanut Butter Nutella Ritz Brownies I made? Thise were actually the second attempt at a dessert that incorporated those three flavors. These were the first things I made.

These were good, they just weren't quite as amazing as the brownies. But I've come around to realize that while these are not as jaw-droppingly fantastic as the brownies, they do have their certain charm.

The Ritz cake is the perfect neutral vehicle for the Nutella and peanut butter to really steal the show. Just like a peanut butter Nutella Ritz cracker sandwich, if you think about it.

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if I were to make these again, I would make the filling just a dollop of straight up Nutella. I attempted a Nutella ganache, but it was too liquidy and the cupcakes were too absorbent that it led to a veerrrrry moist cake. Almost, too moist. Like the Nutella seeped into the cake instead of just filling it.

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BUT, please don't think I'm giving you some faulty recipe. If you just fill it with Nutella, I think-- no, I KNOW-- these would be phenomenal. Because we used the best peanut butter frosting known to man. And the Ritz cake, while not being incredibly Ritz-y gets the job done. It definitely tastes different that just a plain vanilla cake. It gives it that buttery edge to i that elevates it from a plain cake to something a little more special.

If you need any more endorsement, I gave these to a girl in my class and she has not shut up about them since. And it's been like two months.

-Audrey

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Ritz Cracker Peanut Butter Nutella Cupcakes

Ingredients:
2 cups (230g) Ritz cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (58g) cake flour
2 tsp (7g) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1g) salt
1 cup (227g) unsalted butter - softened at room temperature
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp (6g) vanilla extract
3 egg yolks - well beaten - room temperature
1 cup (242g) whole milk
3 egg whites - room temperature
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar

For the Filing:

Roughly 6 tablespoons Nutella

For the Peanut Butter Buttercream:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 to 4 Tbsp milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). 

2) Make Ritz cracker crumbs by placing Ritz cracker sheets into a plastic bag and crushing them with a rolling pin. You can also use a food processor if you have one available. 

3) In a mixing bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in Ritz cracker crumbs and chopped pecans. Mix together well and set aside. 

4) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or mixing bowl if using a handheld mixer) combine butter and sugar and mix together for about 2-3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. 

5) Add in the vanilla extract and mix until combined. Next, add in the egg yolk mixture in three additions making sure to mix well after each addition. 

6) On low speed, add the dry ingredients from step 3 while alternating with adding milk (starting and ending with the dry ingredients). 

7) Place this batter into a big mixing bowl and set aside. 

8) Clean your mixing equipment well, making sure there is no grease on the bowl or the whisk attachment (If you have another mixer feel free to use it). Once clean, whip up the egg whites that you will later combine with the batter. 

9) Start beating the egg whites on medium speed. Once the egg whites are frothy, sprinkle in the 1/2 cup of sugar. Continue whipping until rounded peaks form. 

10) Spread the egg whites over the batter you set aside in step 7, and gently fold them together. Divide the batter evenly between greased cake pans. 

11) Bake for about 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, rotating cake pans after 20 minutes of baking. 

12) Cool cake in the cake pans for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and let cake cool completely before frosting. 

13) For the frosting: Place the peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, and the vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well combined, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting lightens and is fluffy, 1 minute more. Blend in up to 1 tablespoon milk if the frosting seems too stiff.

14) When ready to Assemble, cut out a little dip into each cupcake and fill with Nutella. You can pipe it in or just sort of dollop it on there with a spoon. Then frost with the peanut butter buttercream. And then, devour.

Cupcakes from Sweet Society; Frosting from The Cake Mix Doctor