this post has only been about, eh, two months in the making… but when you read about this cupcake you will realize it was definitely worth the wait. you might be thinking, nice try kel, keep dreaming. but really, sooo good. takes about 6 years to actually make (kelley time = appx. 3 hours, although that could also be in part due to the copious amounts of wine that was aflowin’).
as i am posting this, i find it is very depressing that i don’t remember too much about this day. no, not because of the wine.. but because it was two months ago and therefore a lot of the hilarity attached is lost in the confines of my memory. i do remember that the reason my roommate j and i decided to make cupcakes was for the sole purpose of showing off this sweet cupcake stand. she got it for me from crate and barrel for my bday, and im not going to lie, i feel kinda pretty just owning it. a little peculiar that a cupcake stand is what gives me an ego boost, but hey, to each his (or her) own.
so let’s talk about this glorious decadance of a cupcake: hazelnut cake, chocolate ganache topping, toasted hazelnut garnish… and here is the kicker, a mocha hazelnut mousse filling. can we please have a collective sigh? dear vctotw, you have now ruined me for all other cupcakes. this one is so tasty/made me feel so gourmet that i’m not sure i can go back.
one problem, i found it nearly impossible to locate hazelnut extract. j and i must have spent the entire morning running around town trying to find this suprisingly rare elixir. after scrounging every whole foods within 10 miles (of which there are an unprecedented amount) and random market we could think of, we came across a little co-op. i nearly took out a biker as i hastened to park my car. im sorry biker, but noone gets between me and my hazelnut extract. so after this near catastrophe, we ran in… our last hope. low and behold… “laaaaa”… the extract! cut to 10 seconds later… the aisle is full of curious onlookers as j and i find we are incapable of stopping our shreiking and hysterical jumping. it was a beautiful moment.
on to the baking…
vegan hazelnut cupcakes from vegan cupcakes take over the world
step 1: the mocha hazelnut mousse
what you’ll need: 6 ounces extra-firm silken tofu (this confused me. a lot. bc j and i thought silken meant not firm?? this was a conundrum, so we just went with the least squishy of the silken…), 2 tbsp plain soy milk, 1 tbsp pure maple syrup, 4 tsp instant espresso powder, 2 tsp hazelnut liqueur (i used extract instead… shhh.), 1 tsp vanilla extract, 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (or 2/3 cup chips)
1. crumble tofu into a blender. add soy milk, maple syrup, espresso powder, hazelnut liqueur, and vanilla. puree until completely smooth. set aside.
2. melt chocolate in a double boiler or some sort of make shift contraption. once melted, let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. add chocolate to your tofu mixture and blend until combined.
4. transfer mousse to an airtight container or bowl covered in plastic wrap. let it chill for an hour to firm. remove from the fridge 10 minutes before you are ready to use.
step 2: the hazelnut cake
what you’ll need: 1 cup & 2 tbsp all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup hazelnut meal/flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt, 2/3 cup rice milk or nut milk (we choose hazelnut. might as well take it all the way.), 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds, 1/3 cup canola oil, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 1/2 tsp hazelnut extract or 1 tbsp hazelnut liqueur.
1. line cupcake pan and preheat oven to 350 f. in a small bowl, whisk together flaxseed and rice milk. in a large bowl, sift together the flour, hazelnut meal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
2. add the maple syrup, sugar, canola oil, vanilla, and hazelnut liqueur to the rice milk mixture and beat well. add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until mostly smooth.
3. pour into liners, filling them 2/3 of the way.
(this method was not incredibly affective.. but it sure would have been cool if it was!)
4. bake for 22 to 24 min. give it the old toothpick test. cool completely on racks before filling.
step3: the chocolate ganache
what you’ll need: 1/4 cup soy milk, 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1. bring soy milk to a gentle boil in a small sauce pan. immediately remove from heat and add chocolate and maple syrup. mix chocolate until completely melted and smooth.
2. set aside at room temp until ready to use.
step 4: the assembly
1. use a finger to poke a hole into the top of each cupcake.
2. fill each cupcake with as much mousse as you can. scrape off excess cream from tops of the cupcakes.
3. spread the ganache onto the cupcakes. two layers can help make it look smoother.
4. sprinkle with chopped toasted hazelnuts. place the cupcakes in the fridge to let the ganache to set.
the verdict: soo worth all of the many steps. if you like hazelnuts, please try this one asap. even if you dont, try it. really.