Hazelnut Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

I got a notion that I wanted some Hazelnut Cupcakes, and they’d need some form of Chocolate Buttercream. I wanted to make these a week or so ago, but I got side-tracked/busy with other things, so they went on the back-burner for a few days. And once I got around to making them, I almost ruined them.

Hazelnut Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

For all the many many times I’ve made a Swiss Meringue Buttercream, it’s rare that it’s failed me. This time, it happened, though. I suspect my butter was too cold, because I ended up with a ridiculously curdled mess. Luckily, though, the internets have a wide array of fixes for SMB, depending on whether yours is soupy or curdled.

Hazelnut Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Mine actually ended up both ways. You can somewhat tell in the photos that I scraped off the frosting, because I’d initially decided to just use it anyway, even though it wasn’t silky-smooth like SMB usually is. But then I got to thinking that I really wanted to post about these cupcakes, and they were nowhere near presentable. So I scraped off the frosting, looked up how to fix it, and tried again.

Hazelnut Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

And it worked! Though first, I nuked a bit of frosting, and whipped it back in, which resulted in silky smooth quasi-soup. So I stuck it in the freezer for about 20 minutes, whipped it again, and then it was perfect!

Hazelnut Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Yields 12-20

23 minCook Time

23 minTotal Time

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    For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 1/4 C Flour
  • 1/3 C ground hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 C milk
  • 1/4 C hazelnut syrup
  • For the Frosting:
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 C + 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. coffee extract
  • 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 6-8 Pirouline , each cut into 3 pieces, for decoration


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, hazelnut meal, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla, and whisk on medium-low until smooth. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Add in the hazelnut syrup.
  4. Using a large (3-Tbsp.) scoop , place the batter in the prepared pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, and a tester inserted in the center of a few cupcakes comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on wire racks.
  5. Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in the clean bowl of a stand mixer (*to clean, wipe out with lemon juice or white vinegar). Place over a pot of simmering water, and whisk until the mixture is warm and the sugar is dissolved, 3-5 minutes. To test, rub a small bit of mixture between your finger and thumb. If it's smooth, it is ready to be whipped. If it feels grainy at all, whisk for another minute and test again.
  6. Place the bowl on the mixer, and begin whipping using the whisk attachment. Gradually increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until the mixture is thick and glossy, and completely cooled. This may take 10 minutes or more.
  7. On medium-low speed, begin adding the butter, a piece at a time, waiting until it is almost completely incorporated before adding more. After all the butter has been added, add the coffee extract and the chocolate.
  8. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat for 2 minutes more, or until the frosting is completely smooth. Decorate cupcakes as desired, topping each with a piece of Pirouline.
Recipe Type: Dessert


Cook time does not include time to make frosting, which may take anywhere from 30-45 minutes.


I’ll be honest, I really just wanted an excuse to buy a tin of Pirouline wafers.

Hazelnut Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

A couple things regarding the Chocolate Buttercream–It’s not unusual for the mixture to look curdled once you’ve added all your butter. Keep beating, and in most cases, it WILL come together. If not, it’s likely your butter might’ve been too cold still when added. Cutting the butter into pieces is the first thing I always do when making a SMB. Then I wipe down my mixing bowl, whisk attachment, and the whisk I use when cooking the egg whites. If your kitchen is cold (and mine usually is), maybe let your butter sit out after cutting it for 20-30 minutes before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.

And if your butter is too warm and you get a soupy mess? Place the frosting in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, to allow it to firm up. Whip again, and you should then be good to go!

7 thoughts on “Hazelnut Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

  1. I bet these are delicious! And I totally wouldn't have been able to notice about the frosting if you hadn't told us ;) I never do Swiss buttercream because of the exact reasons you stated, so kudos!
    • I usually have better luck with it, but it's good to be able to learn from your mistakes. ;)They are indeed delicious...I like the subtle hint of chocolate, since you can really taste the hazelnut flavor.
  2. Pingback: Hazelnut Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream - Yum Goggle

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