nutella swirl steamed cupcakes in 15 minutes

This is what I made for World Nutella Day yesterday. I've been excited about it for weeks. Sooo many ideas for nutella oozing desserts to make kept buzzing around my brain. I have been happily digging into my jar of nutella all week in anticipation. Finally I was jolted out of my daydreams to realize that I had better make something or it would be too late to post even by today. It was quite late in the evening and the sun had already set so the pics were going to be quite terrible to begin with. I reached into the cabinet for that little jar to see that we were nearly out. Of nutella. There was probably a few tablespoons left in the jar. Great, just great. I had to make a nutella dessert for world nutella day  with a couple of tablespoons of nutella.

That's when I chanced upon a recipe for these steamed cakes. I loved that the recipe calls for very little amounts of ingredients so that it yields only 4 cup cakes- perfect for my current obsession for portion control and small batch baking. And all I had to do was swirl a spoonful of nutella into the batter to make a perfectly delicious nutella dessert. They take about 15 mins to make, use basic ingredients and all you need is a saucepan or skillet with a lid and a stove. No oven required. But best of all is the texture! oh the texture!- its  moist but not dense, fluffy and airy without being dry! I did find the basic cake to be a little less sweeter than I like but that spoonful of nutella will take care of that :)

This is a nutella-tised version of Mushi-pan a Japanese steamed cake. Steaming is a common alternative for baking in Asian cuisine. In Kerala we have a variety of steamed rice flour appams as part of our traditional cuisine. A lot of western style sponge cakes are also made in steamer baskets or pressure cookers in Asia because not many people have ovens. Growing up some of my birthday cakes were cooker cakes since most ovens in India run on electricity and we are plagued by frequent power cuts and voltage problems. Even during my last visit to India in December I had rotten luck with the power cuts seemingly scheduled for the exact moment that I put a pan full of batter into the oven!
Brands like Pillsbury even make cake mixes especially meant for pressure cookers in India and those were some of the first cakes I made, often for roommates birthdays when we had a stove but not even our dinky little toaster oven yet.
These little cakes brought back a lot of memories of those birthdays and they are quick and easy enough that I will be making them in other variations soon. Stay tuned.

Nutella swirled steamed cupcakes
Recipe Source: From Just one cook book here

Yield: Makes 4 cupcakes


½ cup (75g) all purpose flour ( I used unbleached)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. sugar ( Will be trying to increase the sugar the next time I make this since they were not as sweet as I'd like)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 Heaped Tbsp of nutella


  • Fill a large frying pan with water to 2/3 full and bring it to a boil (and turn off the heat if you are not ready yet)
  • Put a cupcake liner in glass/ corning-ware ramekins ( make sure these are heatproof and won't crack) 
  • In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together the flour and baking powder combining well.
  • In a small bowl, combine egg, milk, sugar, and vegetable oil and whisk them all together- I did this in a coffee mug. With a fork.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix with a fork until smooth.
  • Add in the tablespoon of nutella and stir to creale a swirl in the batter. Don't mix too well else you won't be able to see the swirly effect.
  • Pour the mixture into the cupcake liners trying to make sure that the batter does not spill over the edges of the liners.
  • You may think that there is too little batter but these cakes rise terrifically!So don't worry that your liners are only about 1/4 full.
  • Place the ramekins directly in the skillet with the boiling water and cover to cook about 8-15 mins. If you want you could use steamer inserts or stands but you don't need to- I didn't.
  • Stick a wooden toothpick or skewer into the cake. When a skewer comes out clean (without wet batter), remove them from the pan and place on a rack to cool. If not leave to cook for 5 minute increments until done. 
  • If you undercook they will be dense and gummy and if you overcook they will become rubbery so do check.
  • When cool, the cakes in the liners should pop out of the ramekins pretty easily. If they are stuck to the pan, use a blunt knife or your fingers to pull the cake away from the sides of the ramekins.
My notes: While the texture on these babies is perfect I found them to be a little less sweet than cup cakes I am used to although with the nutella they should be sweet enough. If you try this recipe with a little more sugar before I do , let me know how that works out. 
Off these fluffies go, a little late, to join in all the nutella madness! 

They are also going to the #chocolatelove blog hop at Junia's 


  1. That looks so awesome and yummy...

  2. oh wow! I've experimented with steamed cakes too... Though mine werent entirely successful! I should try this one... esp for my next cheat day :) This is perfect as I dont have to rely on the electricity supply to eat a homemade cake :) btw.. I love ur dish in the fist pic

  3. Hi Rose! Thank you so much for trying this recipe! I never thought of adding Nutella in here. I got to try this next time. My kids will be thrilled! Thank you for the mention and linking back to me. :-) I shared your link on my facebook page, but let me know if you want me to take it down. Thanks again!

  4. Thanks girls! Sarah do try it and enjoy your cheat days :)

    Nami your kiddos are so adorably cute! Thanks again for this amazing recipe and for sharing on fb too!

  5. Looks easy to make and so delicious!!!

  6. WOW!! i love those steaming version and the pan in stove top looks so nice. Happy to follow u.

  7. That looks absolutely amazing dear. I love the first pic, such an amazing medly of colors..! :)
    My event- Valentines Day Special

  8. Thanks Asmita Anu and Anzz! Was not too happy about taking pics late in the evening but the cakes didn't last until the next day!

  9. Never in my life have I seen a cupcake made this way! I am so thrilled by the technique that I want to make a version of this tonight! I don't have any nutella, unfortunately, so I may have to use cocoa powder as a substitute. Well done!

  10. Thanks Julia! So happy you want to try this with cocoa! You can also go crazy with spices, chocolate chips, berries, fruit bits.. I liked the plain ones too though I did find them a little less sweet. In that case some frosting or a glaze might help.

  11. Oh rose i so wanted to make steamed cupcakes for a very long time sp for texture and moisture, with nutella i'm sure to give it a try pretty soon!

    1. Thanks Ananda! am sure you will make them look gorgeous too! Hope you try them soon so I can see your gorgeous pics of them :)

  12. i'd love to try these lil beauties very soon..i'm on vacation yet cant wait toget home to try these, that's how good your cuppies look, Rose, and the steam option is great!

    1. Thanks Jehanne :) yes steaming is a great easy and quick option :)

  13. Hi,
    I have boomarked couple of recipes,have tried your PIsta icecream and today tried these.They were a breeze to make and ready in mins.I increased the sugar to 3.5 tbsp and it tasted fine. They rise beautifully like u said. Thanks for this reciipe..something to make when there is a sudden desire to eat cake.In the time it takes to preheat an oven,this cake is ready to eat:-)

  14. That looks an interesting recipe for my daughtie who love nutella

  15. This recipe looks absolutely amazing and I'm really tempted to try it, but I have a question regarding the flour: Is half a cup really 75grams? I've always thought that a cup of flour is about 100grams and am pretty confused. Do you also think that I could substitute the oil or even omit it?
    I'm sorry to bother you with such simple questions, but I'm a raw recruit when it comes to baking :D

    1. I used my measuring cup Divya, didn't weigh the flour, will check and let you know. However this recipe is pretty fail proof so you don't really have to weigh the ingreds.
      I wouldn't recommend omitting the oil though, since I haven't tried that, and with baking I've learnt to control myself and not make too many substitutions and tweaks, atleast the first time :) All the best do let me know how it turns out and mail me at if you have any questions about baking!

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  17. Maravillosas magdalenas de nutella!Un saludo!

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  19. I love your recipes and going to try this one for my nephew's birthday. It will sure be a hit. My question: can you make the Cupcakes in advance? How should I store them? Room temperature or fridge? Thanks!

    1. Maria these taste best eaten right away. They can be stored on the counter for up to a day and in the fridge for a few days but may become harder if you wait.

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  21. Hi! Can i use individual aluminum foil cups instead of ramekins? Thanks!

  22. I LOVE small batch recipes! Thanks for sharing this. I increased the sugar to 2.5tbsp but they were still a little bland. Will increase to 3.5 next time. My experience of cooking with Nutella is that the sweetness disappears somehow! The hazelnut flavour is there but the chocolate goes away. :(

    Will probably double up this recipe and try swirling with a Nutella chocolate cake revipe instead next time. Maybe then the chocolate flavour will stand out a little more.


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