Hazelnut Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream are a delicious treat. Nutty cupcakes topped with a rich meringue buttercream, these are sure to be a hit at your next potluck or as an afternoon pick-me-up with some tea or coffee!
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.
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.
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.
And it worked! First, I popped a bit of frosting in the microwave to warm it up, and then whipped it back in. This resulted in silky smooth quasi-soup.
Then I stuck it in the freezer for about twenty minutes, whipped it again, and it was perfect!
I’ll be honest, I really just wanted an excuse to buy a tin of Pirouline wafers.
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 was still too cold 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. I usually use white vinegar, but you can use lemon juice as well.
If your kitchen is cold (and mine usually is), maybe let your butter sit out after cutting it for twenty to thirty 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 fifteen to twenty minutes, allowing it to firm up. Whip again, and you should be good to go!
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:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, hazelnut meal, baking powder, and salt.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cook time does not include time to make frosting, which may take anywhere from 30-45 minutes.