chocolate hazelnut nutella cupcakeI first made these for my brother.  He was studying fervently for his fellowship exam on his birthday and I figured some study snacks wouldn’t go astray!  Since then, they have become a favourite of my husband’s – MmMmmm – I wonder why…chocolate hazelnut nutella cupcakeThese divinely moist devil’s chocolate cupcake bases are filled with Nutella, dotted with a roasted hazelnut and then topped with a gloriously fluffy Nutella-based Swiss meringue buttercream.  I, personally, find it hard to restrict myself to only one a day!

I used my no-fail Martha Stewart CUPCAKES cookbook for all the components alongside an enormous 1kg jar of Nutella that we had purchased from Costco to recreate the divine Nutella dessert crepes from the street stalls in Paris…

INGREDIENTS

DEVIL’S FOOD CUPCAKES (makes 32)
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks / 330 g) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature

SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM (makes about 5 cups)
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks / 453 g) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Nutella to taste

FILLING
Nutella (between 500-750 g worth – depending on how generous you are)
32 roasted hazelnuts

DIRECTIONS

DEVIL’S FOOD CUPCAKES
Preheat oven to 350F/175C.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth.cocoa and hot water

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.flour mixture

Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine.  {I just used the microwave.}butter and sugarmelted butter and sugar

Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl.  With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes.whipped butter and sugar

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.add eggs one at a time

Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined.add cocoa and vanilla

Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.add flour and sour cream

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.fill patty cases

Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centres comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.  Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.bake

SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water.whisk sugar and egg whites

Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).whisk over water bath

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form.  Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.whip till stiff peaks form

With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition.  add butter

Once all the butter has been added, whisk in the vanilla.  Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes.  Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth.

{This is where I added some Nutella to the frosting to taste.}add nutella

Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month.  Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

THE FILLING
Core out the centres of the cupcakes.  As mentioned previously, instead of using an apple corer, I prefer to use a small Japanese vegetable cutter which is larger.  I also use the back of a spoon to scoop out the cake.core out cupcakes

Fill the cupcakes with Nutella.  I like to pipe it in because I have more control over where exactly the Nutella is going.fill with nutella

Press a roasted hazelnut into the centre.  dot with a roasted hazelnutroasted hazelnuts

Pipe the buttercream on top.  I used a Wilton 1M tip.pipe on buttercream

And as an optional extra, I melted some dark chocolate and drizzled it on top using a piping bag.drizzle with melted chocolate

So there you go.. delicious, Ferrero rocher cupcakes!drizzled

This was mine…mine

And it was so worth the effort!!cross section

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