100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1 and a half teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g butter, at room temperature
120ml whole milk
120g hazelnut and chocolate spread (e.g. Nutella)
about 50 whole, shelled hazelnuts, to decorate.
For the hazelnut and chocolate frosting
250g icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
25ml whole milk
80 hazelnut and chocolate spread
a 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases.
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3. As the oven is heating put the whole hazelnuts on a heatproof tray and put into the oven for 15 minutes. You should start to smell them as they warm. You don’t want to roast them completely just enough to soften them slightly. After 15 minutes place the hazelnuts in a food processor and blitz until finely ground into a golden hazelnutty dust. Place to the side until later. I remembered how lovely the ground nuts were when I made raspberry and hazelnut meringue cake so decided to incorporate it here.
Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. It takes a little while but it will get there eventually.
Slowly pour the milk into the flour mixture, beating well until all the ingredients are well mixed and it has a smooth consistency. Add the egg and beat well (scrape any unincorporated ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Add about two-thirds of the ground hazelnuts and mix until evenly incorporated.
Spoon the mixture into paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.
When the cupcakes are cold, hollow out a small section in the centre of each one and fill with a dollop of hazelnut and chocolate spread.
For the hazelnut and chocolate frosting. Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on a medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to a slower speed. Slowly pour in the milk, then when it is all incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.
Stir in the hazelnut & chocolate spread and half the remaining hazelnuts by hand until evenly mixed into the frosting. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the frosting on top and finish with a sprinkle some ground hazelnuts on top.
Mum said, “it was rather delicious and enjoyable.” I must agree.