Chocolate hazelnut cupcake with coffee buttercream

I think I could benefit from a cupcake decorating course 🙂

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
3 eggs
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.


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20 thoughts on “Chocolate hazelnut cupcake with coffee buttercream”

  1. Hasn’t the weather been lovely! (Apart from today mind which has thrown my running training in the air!)
    These look like the best cupcakes to eat on a picnic, no matter what the weather is up to ;0)

    1. Thanks Chele, we had lovely weather yesterday here, but it’s a bit blowy today. I see snow is forecast up in your neck of the woods though. That running might have to be up and down the stairs a few times.

  2. They look great – love the contrasting browns! I make almost all my cupcakes these days muffin size or American size rather than fairy cakes but actually I almost always feel that eating a whole one and all that frosting is a little bit too much. I should make more batches in fairy sized. Would also help with the calorie problem!

    1. Thanks Louise, I mostly make them fairy sized but I felt the need to compete with the shop bought ones for some reason. The problem is you feel more justified in having two if they are smaller….

    1. Ah thanks Michele, they don’t look quite as fantastic as some of those that you can get in the shops. There is a cupcake cafe in our high street and they really put my decorating efforts to shame. Oh well, they did taste good.

  3. they look great. I’m definitely going to try – though probably I’ll still be using up nuts (other than hazel) I’ve had around for ages. they look just right for when my aged relations show up – or when my aged self has the urge!

  4. Ooh, ooh, these look scrumptious and sound wonderful with those hazelnuts in. I think you’re cake decorating skills are great. CT gave me a piping bag for Christmas, but I’ve been putting off trying to do any decorating with it as I know how ham fisted I am – well impatient really. Anyway, I made some macaroons last weekend, used the piping bag and broke it, so maybe I am ham fisted after all 😉

  5. Today I finally managed to make the cupcakes. I used alm0nds which I have had since …. (I can’t remember) but they worked a treat. Light with a crunchy texture and a nice taste. The almonds didn’t respond very well in the oven, so I put them under a high grill to toast and that worked better.

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