Saturday, September 8, 2012
Devil's Food Cupcakes with Hazelnut Crunch
Are you ready for this? I mean.....are you really ready for this?!
This is a Bon Appetit recipe for a 3 layer cake. I didn't have a need for cake. So I decided to make cupcakes. Easier to share at work that way.....so I wouldn't have to eat them all myself. Cuz as good as these are...I would eat them all. They are the fluffiest, lightest cupcakes I have ever eaten in my life. Hands down!
Be prepared though...there are a few steps. And a lot...I mean a LOT of beating. But it's all worth it. Trust me. Hopefully you have a KitchenAid stand mixer (unlike yours truly)...it will go by quicker than if you're using a handheld.
Another thing...there are 3 parts to this cupcake. You have the cake part, the frosting...and then you have the crunchy topping. You can make the cake part (cupcakes) a day in advance. Everything else should be made the day you're going to assemble them. They store nicely in the fridge, covered. Just let them sit at room temperature for an hour before eating...gives the icing time to soften a bit. The only part of the cupcake that suffers over time ...is the crunchy topping. It loses its crunch. Not that it goes bad, it's just not as good.
Oh...and did I mention that the frosting alone has ONE POUND of chocolate in it? Oh ya, baby....give me that chocolate!! One thing I did (by accident but it turned out great) was that I used semisweet chocolate, only, in the frosting. The recipe called for 8 oz of high quality milk chocolate (plus 8 oz of whatever kind of semisweet chocolate) and some how I missed the word "milk". I ended up adding some powdered sugar to sweeten it up a bit. You can use milk chocolate as the original recipe calls for or do it the way I did. Which ever you prefer...it's going to be great!
Ok, ready or not ...here goes
Devil's Food Cupcake with Hazelnut Crunch
Makes 36 cupcakes
Part 1 - Cake:
2 1/3 cups cake flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp instant espresso powder
1 cup hot coffee
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (not to exceed 70%), melted and cooled
Preheat the oven to 350'. Line 36 muffin cups (or work in batches).
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and baking powder into a medium bowl. Set aside.
Combine the coffee and espresso powder into another medium bowl then whisk in the buttermilk. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and butter, until light and fluffy (this should take about 5 minutes). Add in the eggs one at a time, beating each egg until incorporated into the mix before adding the next one. Scrape down the sides as needed. Then beat in the egg yolk and vanilla. Turn the mixer onto high and continue beating until the mixture has doubled in volume and is very light and fluffy. This should take about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, making sure the eggs and the butter mixture are well incorporated. Now beat for another minute.
(Told ya there was a lot of beating. And we just got started!)
Turn the speed down to low and beat in the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the coffee mixture....beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Then drizzle in the melted chocolate. Mix until just blended.
Fill the muffin tins about 3/4 full (I used a standard sized ice cream scoop to measure and pour..works great!).
Bake for about 18 - 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Part II - Hazelnut Crunch
1/4 cup hazelnuts
2 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (not to exceed 70%) chopped
2 TB unsalted butter
1/2 cup Nutella
3 cups toasted rice cereal
Preheat the oven to 350'.
Spread the hazelnuts onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Toast the nuts for about 6 - 7 minutes or until fragrant. Keep an eye on them. You don't want them to burn. They go from toasted to burned rather quickly. Allow to cool. Chop coarsely. Set aside.
In a double boiler, combine the chocolate and butter. Heat until melted, stirring often. Remove from heat. Add in the chopped hazelnuts and Nutella. Stir until well mixed. Fold in the rice cereal.
Spread mixture onto the parchment lined cookie sheet. Freeze for about 30 minutes.
Break up the hazelnut mixture with your hands, into small pieces. Place in a bowl, cover and stick it in the fridge until we're ready to use it.
Part III - Frosting
8 oz of high quality chocolate, chopped (original recipe calls for milk chocolate. I used semisweet and added about *1/2 cup powdered sugar in the end to balance out the sweetness)
8 oz of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (not to exceed 61%), chopped
1 1/2 TB light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
*1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted (use powdered sugar ONLY if you don't use milk chocolate as stated above)
In a medium bowl, combine both chocolates and the corn syrup.
In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream just to a boil. Pour over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Using a mixer, beat for about 6 or 7 minutes until the chocolate mixture has cooled.
While the mixer is still running, beat in a few pieces of butter at a time. Beat until incorporated before adding the next few pieces of butter. If using just semisweet chocolate, beat in the powdered sugar. Continue beating until the chocolate is thick and has lightened in color. If you're using a stand mixer, this should take about 5 minutes. If you have a handheld mixer....it could take up to 15 minutes. During this time, if the frosting seems to be really thin, stop. Place in the fridge to chill and firm up a bit, then continue beating.
Once the frosting is done, generously ice your cupcakes and sprinkle the hazelnut crunch over the top.
I made these a week ago. I really wish I had one right now.
Side note: I bought some of those foil lined cupcake liners that don't get messed up during baking. They work great, as you can see. No oil smudges seeping through the liner. Funny thing though...the instructions for the liners said that you don't have to have a muffin tin to use them. Just place the liners on a cookie sheet, fill with batter and bake.
Sure it works...if you want to make football cupcakes (football season IS upon us you know).