Its been so long since I've baked cupcakes. In a way these cupcakes don't even count as being baked by me, so I still haven't baked any cupcakes since the end of last year. These cupcakes were baked by V1 from the dynamic V duo, with me as the baking supervisor. Sadly I didn't get an official supervisor hat - I imagine it would have been in the shape of a cupcake.....one can only dream right? So before hand there was a feverish email exchange as to what flavour cupcakes to bake, we settled on Hazelnut cupcakes due to their moist crumb and nutty flavour, and Nutella Swiss meringue frosting because I had copious amounts of egg whites in my freezer.
V1 did an awesome job. When coming out of the oven the cupcakes all looked identical, a feat I am still yet to master and her piping skills are pretty impressive considering it was her first time. It took her a couple of go's to get the hang of it, but in the end she got it. I was well impressed, her first cupcake looked like a rose! You know what the best thing about having someone over to bake cupcakes? you get all the joy of baking them, but dont have to worry about eating them all yourself! Not that that would be an issue for me, its just that I've become TOO efficient at eating cupcakes!
There are heaps of recipes for swiss meringue frosting on the internet. After making this frosting quite a few times I've come up with a recipe that doesnt use a tonn of butter. Sometimes if I feel inclined I'll add extra butter to give a more creamy finish. Its a little scary to make, it seriously looks like the mixture has split, but then buttery magic happens and it all comes together and become fluffy and just perfect. Just persist and you'll get there. For a step by step and VERY american video, go here. I remember the first time I bought these cupcakes into work, my workmates were eating the frosting as if it was an ice cream! If you're a little worried about the egg-whites and want to refrigerate the cupcakes just make sure to let the cupcakes come back to room temperature before eating - or else the frosting begins to take on the consistency of mock cream - some people like it, I'm not a fan.
Hazelnut, Vanilla Cupcakes
Ingredients (makes 18)
* 170g unsalted butter, softened
* 100g caster sugar
* 3 eggs
* 250g plain flour
* 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 100g hazelnut meal
* 1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a muffin tray with cupcake liners
2. Place butter and caster sugar in bowl of electric mixer, beat for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda and salt. Add hazelnut meal to flour mixture then fold into egg mixture. Stir in buttermilk, mix to form a smooth batter. Carefully divide evenly into cupcake liners.
4. Cook for 12-14 minutes, or until cupcakes are firm to the touch
Swiss Meringue Frosting
* 200 g egg whites
* 3/4 cups granulated sugar
* 200g (roughly) unsalted butter, cut into 1cm pieces, slightly cool but not at room temperature
* 200g dark chocolate and 1 small jar of Nutella
1. Melt chocolate over a baine marie, put aside and allow to come to room temperature
2. Add sugar to egg whites and whisk together over simmering water until egg-white mixture is hot to touch or a candy thermometer reads 60°C.
3. Pour hot whites into a room-temperature bowl and whip on medium-high speed until doubled in volume.
4. Continue to whip the mixture on low-medium. Add half the butter into the bowl and continue to whisk until all melted. Add the rest of the butter one piece at a time until all butter has been incorporated. Dont worry if the mixture looks sloppy, it will fluff up as the mixture cools and forms an emulsion.
5. Continue beating until the mixture begins to look light and fluffy. Replace whip with a paddle and add melted chocolate, and enough Nutella to make you happy and continue to beat. The chocolate adds colour while the Nutella will add flavour. Before frosting cupcakes, place in the fridge to slightly firm, this helps with pipping onto cupcakes. If the mixture becomes too cool, re-whip and use immediately. Any left over frosting can be stored in the freezer.