Nanaimo Bar Cupcakes: A Canadian Treat

Before trying to find the perfect cupcake for a birthday, I had never heard of nanaimo bars.  Apparently they are a Canadian treat and since our birthday girl is Canadian, it was suggested I try to make them into a cupcake.  According to Wikipedia, nanaimo bars  were voted “Canada’s favourite confection”.

After doing a little research on these, I found out they are a triple layered bar…kind of like seven layer bars…with a layer of chocolate, coconut, almonds, and graham cracker, a custard layer, and a top layer of chocolate ganache.  Sounded good enough to me.  The only problem is that the filling calls for custard powder.  What?!  I’ve never heard of such a thing.  Well apparently they don’t sell it in the U.S. so I had to improvise with vanilla pudding mix.  I have a feeling it’s not exactly the same but hopefully it was close enough.

[Inspired by C&C Cakery]

Makes 18 cupcakes

For Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups graham crackers crushed (this was about 1 sleeve of graham crackers)
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cupcake tin with 18 liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, graham, cocoa powder, coconut, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until they’re completely incorporated. Add and mix in the vanilla. Slowly incorporate the melted chocolate chips (make sure it is cooled to at least room temperature first).
  4. Add the flour mixture and the milk/yogurt mixture into your batter, alternating between the two. When your batter is just about mixed.
  5. Divide batter among cupcake liners and bake 20-25 minutes, or when your cake tester comes out clean.

For Filling

  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp. vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 cups powered sugar
  1. Mix butter, pudding mix, and sugar together with an electric mixer
  2. Add in milk 1 Tbsp. at a time until it is fully incorporated
  3. Core holes into your cooled cupcakes, about an inch and a half around and at least half way in. Carefully spoon the custard filling into the holes and cover with the top of the cupcake that’s been cut out

For Ganache

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
  1. Place butter and chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave on 30 second intervals until melted, stirring between each interval
  2. Cool for at least 30 minutes before topping cupcakes and garnish with chopped almonds and coconut

These cupcakes definitely have a lot going on between all the stuff in the cake and the filling and chocolate on top but it’s a great combination.  The cake part was almost like an Almond Joy.

The birthday girl was really excited about it and had to tell everyone what nanaimo bars actually are…she even said the cupcakes were pretty close to the actual bars.  Yup, I’m brushing my shoulders off.  I can’t wait to actually try the real thing to see how they compare, especially since custard powder is nowhere to be found in the U.S.  I’m wondering if the pudding was a close substitute.  I guess we’ll see.

Until next time.

Xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

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