If you had exposed optimally for the look you wanted to end up with then either manufacturers camera could have done that, with ease. But you didn't, you underexposed both and one is better at sorting out your mistake than the other, Had you overexposed both then the Canon, in my experience, would have been a better file to give you the result you wanted, Canon RAW files have much better highlight recovery potential than Nikon RAW files do.
Learn how to expose optimally for the image you want and your equipments capabilities and stop relying on being able to post process the crap out of badly underexposed images when taken with a Canon. Ever notice that nobody ever complains about the highlight recovery of Canon? That is not true if you look at Nikon forums, all Nikon users know you must underexpose to get optimal results, start overexposing your Canon and your "issues" will largely evaporate.
I keep hearing of this ever since canon sensors were surpassed by every other player out there.
That unquantifiable, ethereal, hidden in the edges of overexposure, DR. Tell you what, there is no such thing. There're no hidden dr stops there. Canon is nailed to <12 DR stops for half a decade now and that includes the whole spectrum. No hidden highlight dr anywhere. No mystical 11.5dr + 2stops hidden in the highlights kind of thing.
And as someone who shoots nikon alongside canon i cant really see where you're getting that: "Canon RAW files have much better highlight recovery potential than Nikon RAW files do". Could you post an example?