My Blind Week cupcake poll was a tie (thanks again, Jaco & Lhizz!) so I chose the recipe I was most excited about: Hazelnut Cupcakes with Mocha Hazelnut Mousse Filling. I’d tried these once before at Revel, and loved them, but the recipe always sounded too complicated to make at home.
As it turned out, none of the three recipes that come together to make these cupcakes are complicated, but they are rather expensive. If you don’t already have the ingredients on hand, your first batch of these cupcakes could set you back somewhere between $50 and $100. I had to buy a few things to round out the ingredient lists, but now that my pantry’s stocked with Frangelico and hazelnut flour, I could make several more batches of these without spending too much.
Here’s how they come together:
1. Mocha Hazelnut Mousse
- 175g extra-firm silken tofu (e.g. Mori-Nu – I found a sausage-shaped tube of silken tofu at Bok Mart in Eden Terrace)
- 2 Tbsp plain soy milk
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup (or agave nectar)
- 4 tsp instant espresso powder (I used a bit less of real ground coffee beans – Supreme beans – but the result was a bit grittier than would have been ideal)
- 2 tsp hazelnut liqueur (I used Frangelico)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (Erin made this from some vanilla pods we found at La Cigale French Market)
- 175g semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used Whittaker’s Dark Cacao)
Crumble the tofu into a blender (or a small bowl if you have an immersion blender). Add everything else except for the chocolate, and blend until completely smooth.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, mixing with a rubber spatula as it melts. Once it’s melted, take it off the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chocolate to the tofu and blend until combined. Cover in glad wrap and put it in the fridge to chill for an hour. Take the mixture out of the fridge 10 minutes before you are ready to use it.
2. The cupcakes
- 2⁄3 cup rice milk or nut milk
- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1⁄3 cup hazelnut meal or hazelnut flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill hazelnut flour, which is newly stocked at the Gluten free Grocer. There was recently a lot of online controversy about the company’s founding, but former owner (Bob) deciding to make a personal donation of $25 million to a university that is known for animal testing. Mylene wrote a thoughtful piece about why this might not be a productive target for a vegan boycott.)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- 1⁄3 cup canola oil
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp hazelnut liqueur (e.g. Frangelico), or 1½ tsp hazelnut extract (you can find this at Harvest Wholefoods/ Huckleberry Farms)
Lay out 12 cupcake cases in a cupcake pan, and preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
In a small bowl, mix together the rice milk and ground flaxseed. Add the maple syrup, sugar, canola oil, vanilla, and hazelnut liqueur. Beat well.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, hazelnut flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Add the wet ingredient mixture to the dry, mixing until mostly smooth. Pour the mixture into cupcake liners, two-thirds filling them.
Bake for 22 to 24 minutes – check they’re done by inserting a toothpick into the middle of one and checking it comes out clean. Transfer onto racks to cool completely before filling.
3. Chocolate ganache and toasted hazelnuts
- ¼ cup soy milk
- 115g semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Heat the soy milk to a gentle boil in a small saucepan. Immediately remove from the element and add the chocolate and maple syrup. Mix with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth. Set aside at room temperature till ready to use.
Toast 1 cup of hazelnuts, and chop them roughly.
If you have a pastry bag, choose a wide tip for piping. If you don’t have a proper pastry bag, do what I did and snip the corner off a strong zip-loc bag. Fill the bag with the mousse filling.
Poke a hole in the top of each cupcake with your finger. Fill each cupcake with as much mousse as you can, and wipe off any excess with your finger or a knife.
Spread the chocolate ganache onto the cupcakes, and sprinkle with hazelnuts.
Put the cupcakes in the fridge to set the ganache. (This is where mine are right now – I haven’t eaten one yet, but the crumbs & scraps I sampled were all delicious).