My first post! So this post had to be about cake, and about chocolate because…it’s my birthday! I made these delicious cupcakes to take in to work. Last year was my first birthday working in a proper full time office job after finishing university and I was completely unaware of the rule that on your birthday you’re meant to bring in your own cake! So I thought this year I would go all out and make some delicious cupcakes for the office, and of course they had to be chocolate and they had to be pink. And as i’m the only female in my office, naturally I ate the majority of them – men don’t seem to have the same cake/chocolate obsession that we do….strange species.
Anyway, these are probably the BEST chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever made. I used a new recipe method to normal which involved using sunflower oil instead of butter and it results in the most amazing texture and gooeyness to the chocolate cake which I love. You can see in this picture how rich and moist just the cake is on it’s own!
The cakes are topped with a Nutella buttercream icing. Usually I never make enough icing so I made sure I made plenty this time and ended up with so much left over. Little did I realise that Matt had discovered the left over icing and before I’d even finished baking and I found him curled up on the sofa practically inhaling the leftovers. He said it tasted like his childhood cooking with his Nan and wouldn’t stop raving about it – I’m telling you this icing is dangerous if you make too much, it is too good to throw away!
The delicious candied hazelnuts on the top just give these cakes that extra crunch amoungst the gooeyness of the cake and icing so they go perfectly together. What I love about these is that they are not too sweet – sometimes cupcakes are sickly sweet but the balance of everything here makes these just mouthwatering. I hope you like them as much as I do!
Makes 12 Cupcakes
For the chocolate cake:
- 100g plain flour
- 40g cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 100g caster sugar
- 80g light brown sugar
- 80ml sunflower oil
- 120ml buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
For the Nutella icing and topping:
- 150g unsalted butter (softened)
- 300g icing sugar
- 150g Nutella OR Hazelnut chocolate spread
- 50g hazelnuts (roughly chopped)
- 100g caster sugar
- Splash water
- 50g dark chocolate (melted)
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (180 fan) and line a cupcake tray with 12 cases. Set aside.
- To make the cake mixture, in a large mixing bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. I think it helps add air into the mixture if you sieve in the cocoa powder and flour.
- In another bowl add all of the remaining cake ingredients and whisk until it becomes smooth, light and slightly frothy.
- Pour in the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and carefully fold together using a wooden, making sure you don’t beat all of the air out of the mixture.
- Evenly spoon the mixture between the 12 cupcake cases and place into the preheated oven for 16-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool.
- To make the icing whisk together the softened butter and icing sugar. If you find the icing sugar is going everywhere I sometimes add a splash of milk just to combine it slightly before whisking so you don’t end up in a sugar cloud! Whisk for 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy and then mix in the Nutella or chocolate spread. Pipe the icing generously onto each cupcake or just spread a nice thick layer if you don’t have a piping nozzle or bag.
- To make the candied hazelnuts first it is nice to slightly toast the chopped hazelnuts in a dry frying pan just for a couple of minute until slightly brown.
- Prepare a baking tray lined with grease proof paper to pour the candied nut mixture onto.
- Add the caster sugar and a splash of water to a saucepan and leave to melt then bubble. This is like making caramel except you don’t have to worry about the mixture crystallising as its going to be crushed up anyway. Leave the sugar but watch it carefully until it starts to turn a nice golden brown at which point add the toasted hazelnuts, give it a quick swirl so the nuts are coated in caramel and then quickly pour the mixture onto the grease proof paper into a layer and leave to cool.
- Drizzle the melted dark chocolate roughly over each cake. Once the candied hazelnuts are completely cool, crush or chop the slab with a rolling pin or large knife. To finish scatter some of the nuts over the cupcakes and enjoy.
- If you don’t want to make the candied hazelnuts, just some toasted chopped hazelnuts will be just as good sprinkled over the top – they’ll still have a good crunch 🙂
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