Chocolate Espresso Hazelnut Cupcakes

I decided to get adventerous with the making of these cupcakes. I took a base recipe from Recipe Girl and kind of ran with it. I think the hardest part was coming up with a name for my creation that wasn’t miles long!

I’d been holding off making baked goods for a few reasons. One, being in super-saver mode I didn’t want to buy ingredients I didn’t have and all of the cupcakes on my to-do list had extra ingedients. I also hate baking when I don’t have somewhere to bring the goodies because some always go to waste.

So, since we saved a ton of money in groceries last week and were heading to a BBQ on Monday, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to make some cupcakes! While I made the cupcakes, my fiancé got started on his second batch of beer from the kit I had gotten him for Christmas. We had quite a nice little domestic Sunday afternoon.

The chocolate cupcake recipe I found actually mixed all of the ingredients together in a blender. As someone that still doesn’t have a stand mixer (hello wedding registry!), the idea of not having to do it by hand was amazing. I literally poured all of the ingredients into the mixer, turned it on, and waited. I did assist with the mixing a bit, but that’s really just because I’m impatient.

I decided to snazz up the regular chocolate recipe by adding espresso and hazelnuts. I was a little unsure at first if I should have just used hazelnut coffee, but I’m glad I went with the espresso and mashed hazelnuts. I didn’t brew the espresso, I just threw it in as a dry ingredient.

For the frosting, I decided to tackle a buttercream again. This time the hand mixer was a little nicer, and only spewed a bit of butter. All was well until I got to the actual icing of the cupcakes. I must have misplaced a piece of the pastry bag I just bought, so it’s basically unusable. We picked a tip and used a rubberband to hold it in place, but the tip was definitely too small to ice the whole cake. So I wound up just using a spoon and doing my ugly version. I really need to take a class or some lessons to get better at that!

I found the frosting recipe from a blog called Ming Makes Cupcakes, that has a ton of numbered cupcake recipes, and I seriously want to make them all. But I figured I’d do just one at a time.

They are definitely decadent cupcakes. I made them normal size and the batter only produced 10 cupcakes, so I made two batches and the icing was able to cover all 20 cupcakes. I definitely think they’re a one and done type cake, which I’m more than okay with!

Everyone at the BBQ that tried them was really impressed. It’s always nice to hear “oh man, these are awesome! Who made them?!?” when you’re at a gathering. My fiancé made a point to say he really enjoys when I deviate from the recipes and make them my own. I’m definitely becoming more comfortable with the idea of my own(ish) recipes, and I love it!

The base cupcake recipe is great if you’re pressed for time. You can pretty much add anything to snazz them up from regular chocolate. As for the icing, we all know buttercream can be made into pretty much any flavor, so get creative!

Go-To Chocolate Cupcakes
– makes 10 cupcakes –

1 cup flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup hot water
½ cup canola oil
1 large egg
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup of espresso*
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts*

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 12 regular-sized muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
2. Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a blender. Cover with the lid and blend on medium-speed until blended. Pour in the water, oil, egg and vanilla. Cover with the lid and blend on medium-high speed until smooth and well-blended, stopping to scrape down the sides once or twice.
3. Pour into prepared pan/cups, dividing evenly. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of one cupcake comes out clean, 15-17 minutes.
4. Transfer to rack to cool for about 10 minutes, and then carefully remove cupcakes from the pan and set them on the rack to cool completely before frosting

* are my additions to the base recipe!

Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

1 stick butter
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp coffee (I used espresso)

Blend all ingredients together
Frost cupcakes!

So happy nomzing!!

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