You know you've had enough of working when you find yourself day-dreaming about food. It happens to me way too often, which makes me wonder whether I'm rubbish at what I do or just love food a bit too much. Probably a bit of both. Anyway, today I got thinking about baking and chocolate and since my favourite chocolate (by far!) is praline, the Hazelnut and Nutella cupcake was born!
These are the most amazingly nutty cupcakes I've ever eaten. And they're gluten-free. And like all cupcakes, really really easy to make. The recipe I was aiming for was the simple cupcake recipe with half the amount of flour substituted with ground hazelnuts. Maths got a bit complicated when I realised that the gluten-free cake flour I was using contained sugar.
Hazelnut and Nutella Cupcakes
Ingredients (for approximately 16 cupcakes)
3 large eggs
3oz flour (if your flour mix contains sugar like my gluten-free one, reduce the amount of extra sugar appropriately- I only added 3oz of sugar rather than 6)
3oz ground hazelnuts
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
nutella for filling
I like doing my cakes without using a food processor or a hand mixer since I find they become fluffy enough if you just hand-whisk them. And there is less to wash up. So, I softened my butter, added the sugar and mixed it into a uniform paste with a wooden spoon. Next, I added basically all the remaining ingredients (dry ones first, although it probably made no difference) and whisked until smooth.
The idea with the Nutella was to have a little drop of it sitting in the middle of the cupcake, so I put half of the mix for each cupcake in the cases, topped it with a little spoonful of Nutella and then added some more cake mix on top of it. It didn't work as well as I would have wanted, so maybe I needed to dilute the Nutella with something (milk? cream?) to make it less dense and force it to stay liquid even after baking. Any ideas welcome! Having said that, the flavour was amazing and I really had to stop myself from eating them all before managing to get a photo!
I'm sure you can do similar things using different types of nuts, but I like the matching hazelnut-nutella combo and I find that, although almond is nice, it is not strong enough. Here, the hazelnut taste was coming clearly from the whole cupcake, rather than just the nutella centre (ok, bottom).
I couldn't find any ground hazelnut so I got some whole roasted ones and put them through the food processor. Apparently, if you do that with a bit of sugar it stops them from getting too greasy and forming lumps. I only found out about that when it was too late. It was still fine and I think it turned out nuttier that it would have done if I had used ready-ground ones, because of all the juices they released.
I'm definitely becoming more of a baking fan, and I'd like to think that I am getting better at it too. I try and bake gluten-free whenever I can, because of my friend Aimee, and in most cases you honestly can't tell the difference. I "cheat" by using a flour mix, which includes all the essentials for gluten-free baking, like xanthan gum and I also find that using a bit of ground nuts helps with texture.
I also had my first successful loaf of bread baked today and I might post a few pictures if I can get over the fact that the lighting is horrible. That's what happens when your kitchen is a basement and you mostly cook in the evenings! I'm not a very patient person either, which means I will not spend ages trying to get the perfect picture, especially when the food smells so good! And I clearly lack the equipment which means I have to deal with a lot of rejection from sites like Tastespotting or Foodgawker (but not Tastestopping)! Wait, what do you mean they don't reject anyone?