I started measuring everything out in my Kitchen Aid mixer bowl like the recipe called for, the only addition I made was that I added 3/4 tsp espresso powder. I find that espresso powder really makes chocolate "pop". However, the first thing I noticed was that I was only adding 2 1/2 TBS of cocoa powder. I was a little bit worried at that point that maybe it just wouldn't be chocolate enough. And I debated if I should use the dutch processed cocoa, but stuck with natural cocoa powder instead.
After mixing I wound up with a very thick batter, and when I tasted it, all I could really taste was the espresso. I thought maybe the chocolate would really come out once baked them. So I lined my tins with a dozen liners because the recipe says it makes a dozen. I then became very confused when I could barely scrape together enough for 10 cupcakes. Oh well, maybe I just overfilled the tins.
They sure did smell good baking, and after 5 minutes longer than the recipe baking time, they were ready to come out of the oven.
That's when the fun really began! After letting them cool, I carved out small indents with my nifty small cookie scoop and then added a dollop of Nutella. Of course we don't want to waste any cup-cakey goodness, I covered up my secret stash of Nutella with the removed portions. Basically, I plugged it back up.
I wasn't worried about the cut out since it was just going to be covered with Nutella icing. So on to the icing! I must say I absolutely love Nutella. Preparing these brought back some great memories of eating Nutella and toast for breakfast and Nutella sorbet when I was in Italy. However, Nutella must come in small doses because it's just so incredibly sweet. I was a bit nervous to see I was making an icing with 2 cups of sugar and adding the Nutella to that. I beat and beat and beat that icing like it said, it never did get real light and fluffy though. In fact, it stayed a bit grainy. I added the Nutella, and tasted. Pretty much what I expected, super sweet icing overload. But the cupcake itself isn't that sweet, so maybe it would be an excellent compliment to the cake.
I'm still working on my swirling techniques, but I iced them all and garnished them with chopped hazelnuts. Then it was time for the taste test...my favorite part.
There we were, our moment of truth. Cupcake divided between us, anxiously waiting to see the reaction of the other as we first bit into the chocolate hazelnut goodness. Sadly, it was what I feared. We couldn't taste chocolate, the crumb was falling apart, and the icing was overly sweet. The icing reminded me of grocery store bakery icing. The best part of the cake was that little hidden portion of Nutella. However, I didn't make the Nutella, so I don't want that to be the highlight of a homemade treat.
Needless to say this recipe does not earn the coveted plastic page protector. This cupcake was not worth it for us. In fact, since this is my second recipe that disappointed me from this book, I think it's time to put the book to rest. I'm hoping that the issue with this book is that when it was converted from metrics to the USA version, that the conversions were just not done properly. I certainly hope a bakery isn't selling these!
For those of you who still want to try it for yourself here's the recipe:
For the cake:
3/4 c plus 1 TBS all-purpose flour
2 1/2 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
a scant 3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 TBS butter, room temperature
1 egg (the fine print in the front of the book says medium, but I used large)
1/2 c Nutella
36 whole shelled hazelnuts for garnish
2 c confectioners' sugar sifted
5 TBS unsalted butter, room temperature
2 TBS whole milk
1/3 cup Nutella
For the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- Put flour, cocoa, sugar, powder, salt and butter in freestanding mixer bowl with paddle attachment. Beat on slow until you get a sandy consistency.
- Slowly our the milk into the flour mixture. Beat well until all ingredients are mixed well. Add the egg and beat well, scraping down as needed.
- Spoon the batter into paper liners until two-thirds full and bake for 20 minutes or until cake bounces back. Let the cupcakes cool in pan slightly before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Beat the sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with paddle attachment on medium-slow until it is well mixed.
- Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and add in milk. When it's incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
- Sir in the hazelnut and chocolate spread by hand until evenly mixed in with the frosting. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the frosting on top and garnish.