I made these the other day to have in the park on the walk home from school to celebrate the change in the weather we seem to have had in the last week or so. Spring may actually have sprung. Of course, though, because we had planned a picnic the English weather let us know that we were fools and the sun didn’t peek out of the clouds once. It was a fairly cold picnic! Oh well, the cupcakes were good.
I made these in muffin tins so that they are a fair-sized cupcake. You don’t see fairy cakes about much these days. A fairy cake sized cake is sometimes exactly right to fill a hole. So feel free to make these smaller. If you are making them muffin sized they will make 12, so smaller might make 16- 20 I would say.
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar
100g whole hazelnuts
100g plain (all-purpose) flour
25g good quality cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
For the frosting
100g butter, softened
200g icing sugar
3 tsp cool strong coffee, made from 3 tsp of instant coffee dissolved in 4 tsps of just boiled water
2 tbsp double cream
Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and place into a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6 for about 4 minutes until they are lightly toasted. Be careful, they soon burn. Pour them onto a clean tea towel and rub gently. Most of the skins will come off, but leave some on as they add a good flavour. Turn the oven down to 180°c, gas mark 4.
Put the hazelnuts into a food processor and whizz until they are large crumbs. This adds a nice crunchiness to the cupcake.
Place the butter and sugar into a bowl and whisk until fluffy and pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well with each addition. Gently stir in the hazelnuts.
Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder over and fold in gently.
Place dessertspoonfuls of the mixture into the muffin cases in a muffin tin. They should be about three-quarters full. If you are using fairy cases then use a teaspoon to fill them three-quarters full.
Place in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or the Baking Oven of the Aga for about 20 – 25 minutes for the muffin sized cakes or 10-15 minutes for the fairy cake size. They should look firm and feel springy to a gentle touch.
Leave them to cool in the tin for a minute or two and then lift out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, beat the butter in a bowl until soft, add the icing sugar and stir in gently at first. If you beat it straight in you will end up with a fine layer of icing sugar dust all over the kitchen. When it is starting to clump together start to whisk it until it is fluffy. Add the coffee and beat again. Add the cream and beat until all is combined. Pipe over the cupcakes more artistically then I can manage.