White Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

White Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

Yield: About 3 dozen cupcakes

 

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

10 Tablespoons butter, room temperature

2 1/4 cups sugar

6 large eggs, room temperature

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

4 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream shortening, butter, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add eggs one at a time, making sure each one gets incorporated before adding the next. Add vanilla extract and paste. Sift dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Alternate flour mixture and buttermilk, starting and ending with flour mixture. Scoop batter using a standard ice cream scoop into lined cupcake tins. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature before brushing with syrup, frosting, and garnishing with melted white chocolate and toasted, chopped hazelnuts, if desired.

 

Hazelnut Simple Syrup

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1 Tablespoon hazelnut liqueur

Combine sugar and water in a heat proof bowl or a small saucepan. Heat mixture until sugar granules have dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature before adding the hazelnut liqueur. Brush onto cooled cupcakes with a pastry brush before frosting.

 

Hazelnut Italian Buttercream

4 oz egg whites, room temperature

1/2 lb sugar

3/4 lb butter, cubed and room temperature

1/3-1/2 cup praline paste, to taste

Pour egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer and attach it to the mixer. Combine sugar and enough water to create the consistency of wet sand in a small saucepan. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan and cook on high heat to 230F. Once the sugar has reached this temperature, start whipping the egg whites. Once egg whites have reached stiff peak and sugar has reached 240F, slowly pour the sugar down the side of the mixer bowl while the mixer is on medium high speed. Allow the whites to whip on high speed until the mixer bowl feels close to room temperature when touched. Slowly add the butter one tablespoon at a time, making sure each one gets incorporated before adding the next. Allow buttercream to whip until it has broken (mixture will look curdled), and continue to whip until buttercream has become smooth. Add praline paste. Lower mixer speed to low for two minutes to break up any large bubbles. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and garnish, if desired.

 

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