Life in the back of beyond has been quiet since boxing day, all thanks to the flu virus that has knocked Mr VanderCave and I literally off our feet. All baking has been suspended whilst we have been busy getting through copious amounts of cold and flu remedies, throat lozengers and tissues. Finally, today I think I saw a light at the end of the tunnel when my mind started wandering towards the lovely cookery books I got for Christmas.
I was lucky enough to get two Hummingbird Bakery recipe books, which are both packed full of recipes that I just can't wait to try out! I was quite surprised when reading some of the recipes about the small amounts of butter used for the cupcakes. Call me old fashioned but I am a devotee of the old 4,4,4,2 (equal amounts fat,sugar, flour, half the amount of eggs) approach to sponge cakes. I decided to put my skepticism to one side and have a go at the Chocolate and hazelnut cupcake recipe. Any thing with Nutella in is ok by me!
Chocolate and Hazelnut cupcakes
100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g butter, at room temp.
hazelnuts to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to gas 3/170c/325f
2. Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl and mix together. I used my Kenwood chef with the K beater but an electric hand held whisk will work just as well. It should be a slightly sandy/grainy texture
3. Pour the milk into the mixture and mix. Then add the egg and beat until it's all incorporated.
4. Spoon the mixture into cupcakes cases in a muffin tin, filling to about halfway or 2/3 full. They rise quite a bit. Bake for 15-20 minutes until springy to touch.
5. Leave to cool completely, then cut out a little circle in the cupcake. Pop the loose piece of cake out, insert a dollop of nutella, then put the cake piece back ontop so you have a filled cupcake.
For the icing
250g icing sugar
80g butter, at room temp
25 ml milk
Mix all the above ingredients together until incorporated and continue mixing for about 5 minutes. The more mixing, the fluffier the icing! Use a palette knife to ice the cupcakes, then add the whole hazelnut as a finishing touch.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.The sponge was moist, light and airy, and the frosting was creamy and smooth. The addition of the nutella in the middle makes these cakes a Nutella lovers idea of heaven. This recipe is a definitely a keeper and I looking forward to trying out other recipes from the books soon!