Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hazel's My Girl!

I love me some hazelnuts and Nutella, so it was a natural progression that someday they would wind up in a cup cake. Devil's Food cake, Nutella Mallow (first you take the mallow...) filling, then topped off with hazelnut infused butter cream swirled with chocolate, roll the whole shebang in fresh toasted -then crushed- hazelnuts, and "paint" the top with chocolate. Yup if you love those flavour combos then Hazel's your girl too!

Basic cake rules for S'mee:

Use whatever cake recipe you want. If you use store bought (don't come crying to me) no worries, just know they ain't what they used to be. Grab a good cook book and try out a recipe for homemade cake. It's easy as pie. Wait no, pie is hard, cake is EASY!

So you'll need one recipe for Devil's Food. You're gonna change the recipe a bit.

Dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in the other.

With the Devil's Food I want you to add a 1 cup of sour cream and 1 large box of chocolate pudding mix - the kind you need to cook, and 1/2 cup of Hershey's syrup.

Blend all of your add ins before you blend the dry with the wet.

Fill your cup cake liners or cups to 2/3 and check them at about 20 minutes or whatever time your recipes calls for, using the first time. (like if your recipe say 20-23 min. go with 20) The idea here is that you want to catch them when they are "just" done, not over baked. It may take longer than the 20 minutes, but bring them out when they spring back or pick test clean.

Let them rest for about ten minutes and then your are going to seal them with a simple syrup. For 1 recipe 1/8 to 1/8 water and white sugar should give you plenty of syrup. Put the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring it to a boil until the sugar dissolves, set it aside and grab a pastry brush. When the 10 minutes is up, brush the tops of the cakes with the simple syrup, turn them out onto a rack and let them cool.

The middle:

For the Nutella Mallow I used 50/50 nutella to marshmallow cream. I nuked it for about 20 seconds to soften them both up, then beat them with a spoon to blend. If it's too stiff, nuke it again, this ain't rocket science. : ) Put the gooey madness into a pastry bag fit with a 802 round tip. After the cup cakes have cooled you're just going to poke that tip into the center of the cup cake so that it's in the middle, go ahead an eyeball it, there are no cup cake police. Give a good squish on the bag and fill that puppy up until it begins to puff the top of the cup cake, remove the tip- a small puff of filling will come out of the whole you created. No biggie, you'll cover that with something else delicious later. Place the cakes in the fridge to cool and firm up the filling before you frost.

The butter cream: Again, use ANY butter cream recipe you want. I prefer my sister Robyn's over anyone else's I've tried - even Pioneer Woman's- and it spanks. Her recipe is:here. My exception to her recipe is as follows: I s-l-o-w-l-y add the water, and most of the time I don't use the full cup. Also I almost always use 50/50 butter and shortening. It may have something to do with where I live (Mojave Desert) and the amazingly dry climate coupled with the altitude(I'm right at 3.500 grrrr).

O.k. Butter cream- for the hazelnut infused butter cream (sit down please this is embarrassing to admit) I use powdered coffee creamer. Yup. Coffee creamer flavoured as "hazelnut". I am sure there is a way better product or flavouring to do this, but I haven't found it yet. The coffee creamer is dry, ground uber fine, and is made to blend with dairy so it works. The trouble is that I just keep dumping by the spoonful until I like the flavour. The flavour will mature so when you think you're almost there stop. You're there. Just blend in the dry powder and you're good to go. I also added Hershey syrup to the butter cream. I just squirted some in to the bowl swiped the butter cream a few strokes, kind of marbled it. You can decide how much chocolate is too much!

To decorate the cakes I just schmeared it thickly on top in a big blob. Take the back of your knife and make a nice flat edge on the sides, leave the top looking like a storm at sea. Roll the edge of the frosted cake in the fresh roasted hazelnuts, coating just the sides. Leave the top alone.
(to roast or toast? your call. Either one will do. Hazelnuts: You place about a cup in a pan and either bake them for a bout ten minutes at 350 or put them on top of the stove and keep 'em moving until you smell that lovely aroma! Pop them into a food processor and crush them up or put them in a Ziploc and smack them with the back of a hammer to crush.)

"Paint" an extra bit of syrup on the top by dripping a dot on top of the frosted cake. Use the tip of your knife to drag the syrup across the butter cream like a brush stroke or two. E-Z.

All cup cakes are best covered and put in the fridge until about a half hour before serving... but again it won't kill you to do otherwise. I like those disposable baking tins that have the clear plastic lids. They are tall enough not to smash the frosting and large enough to carry a dozen, plus the lid keeps them nice and moist. Trust me, these are moist.

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