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!!

Boozey Cupcakes Part 2: Jello Shot Style

On Saturday, my fiancé had his birthday party, which was dessert themed. Being that it was a party and some type of confectionery treat needed to be made, I went the route of a booze-infused cupcake. After my New Year’s Eve hit with my Guinness & Bailey’s buttercream cupcakes, I figured I could give a new recipe a shot (no pun intended!).

It’s amazing how many different recipes incorporate alcohol. There’s even an entire bakery, Butch Bakery, that makes “manly” alcohol infused cupcakes! I found my recipe at [What a cute blog name!]

Because we were hosting the party at our place and spent all of Saturday morning & afternoon cleaning and running errands, this recipe was perfect because it called for cake mix. I know that’s cheating, but we were seriously crunched on time! So after making the cupcakes from the box, I moved on to the Jello, by making it half with water, and half with coconut rum. Once the cupcakes cooled, I simply spooned the mixture over them. Be smart about this though because it makes a mess! I thought ahead and put down some paper towels on a serving tray first, and I’m really glad I did. I left the rest of the Jello to congeal in the fridge if anyone wanted it later.

The hardest part of the recipe, you may ask? Finding the cups to put them in! They’re the paper medicine-like cups; a smaller version of what you’d get from the Penguin Ice man. After searching the grocery store, a drug store, AND the liquor store, I gave up and just made them in full-sized cupcake liners. So they weren’t exactly shots, but more like tumblers perhaps? At least it meant more jello-shotty goodness in each cupcake!

I actually decided to buy whipped cream instead of making it myself due to time. So I left the whipped cream can out next to the cupcakes, so everyone could use it as they pleased. I mean, who doesn’t like to add their own whipped cream?!

Here’s the recipe [from iheartcuppycakes], and happy (and safe) boozey nomzing!

Jello Shot Cupcakes

For jello shot cupcakes
1 pkg. white cake mix
1 cup boiling water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) Jello Gelatin, any red flavor (I used cherry)
1 cup Malibu coconut rum

For whipped cream
3 cups whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp granulated sugar

1. Make cupcakes according to package directions
2. Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full and bake for about 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and poke holes in the cupcakes with a fork or toothpick.
3. In a separate bowl, stir boiling water into jello powder until completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add rum. Spoon over cupcakes. (Don’t be shy with the jello. Be generous! 2-3-4 spoonfuls!)
4. For the whipped cream, place the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk together on low until stiff peaks are formed. Change to medium speed and whisk until thick.
4. Let cool before frosting with whipped cream.

Guinness cupcakes with Bailey’s buttercream icing

To start, Happy New Year! I really can’t believe it’s 2010 already.

I was able to ring in the new year with lots of food, good friends, and explosives; I don’t think I could have asked for a better night!

For the party, I decided to make Guinness cupcakes with Bailey’s icing. These are close to the “Irish Carbomb” cupcake, but without the chocolate ganache filling. I wasn’t comfortable enough with filling the cupcakes since I’m still pretty new to baking, so I skipped that part. I’m sure they would have been even more delicious with the chocolate and Jameson filling, but I think they turned out pretty darn good without it!

As I mentioned in my last post, I got the 500 Cupcakes cookbook for Christmas. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any New Years Eve/Day specific cupcakes, so I prowled the internet for a boozy recipe. Let me tell you, I found A LOT of recipes, that were all basically the same. I had originally seen the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. However, this time I went with We Are Not Martha‘s recipe since as a novice baker it had some more detail to the instructions (though the recipes are the same).

The cupcake recipe was pretty easy and straight forward (see below), and it didn’t take any longer than a regular mix would. The cake itself was a deep chocolate brown and smelled amazing when they came out of the oven. They had a really great texture, too.

The icing, however, was a little more tedious. For this, I went with Smitten Kitchen’s recipe (see below), since We Are Not Martha had a regular cream cheese frosting. The icing was definitely boozier than the cupcakes, since no heating was involved, leaving all of the alcohol.

Now let me tell you, making buttercream takes a lot of work! I had no idea whatsoever as to the ingredients, the process, or anything. The icing definitely took me the longest. One benefit was definitely the great arm and hand workout I got! I started off creaming the butter with an electric mixer, but then once I added the confections sugar, I decided just a spoon would work better.

Overall it was a long process, since I only have one 12 cupcake pan, I had to do each batch separately. Making the buttercream also took awhile. I spent about 2 hours or so in the kitchen, but I think it was worth it in the end!

I was definitely nervous about the outcome, more so of the icing than the cupcakes themselves, though. I knew the chocolate and Guinness flavors would go well together, but I was apprehensive about the Bailey’s, and especially combining the two. Thankfully, they turned out deliciously! All 24 cupcakes were gone by about 1am, and I got tons of compliments. People were shocked at the ingredients, but really interested at the same time.

On my hunt I found some other really interesting boozy cupcake recipes, such as Jello shot cupcakes, gin & tonic cupcakes, red wine cupcakes, and others. I’m definitely going to try and make another alcohol infused cupcake for the next party I attend. Maybe in the future I’ll try to tackle these again, but with the filling.

I definitely suggest trying to make these if you have the time; they’re great for a party!

Here are the cupcake and icing recipes… enjoy!

Guinness Cupcakes (makes about 24):

What you’ll need:

  • 1.5 C Guinness
  • 1 stick butter, plus 1 T (unsalted)
  • 3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 C dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 C sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 1/2 t baking soda


Chop butter into little pieces, and melt in saucepan over medium heat with Guinness
Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in cocoa and sugar
In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, egg and vanilla
Combine the beer and cream mixture
In another bowl, sift together flour and baking soda
Fold the dry ingredients into the Guinness and cream mixture
Bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Let cool

Bailey’s Buttercream Icing:

What you’ll need:

  • 3 to 4 cups confections sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)


Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes till light & fluffy.
Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.*
When frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle Bailey’s (or milk) and whip until combined.
If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.
Ice and decorate!

*The slower the better! When you add the sugar slowly, quick buttercream frosting will be less grainy, and tend to require less sugar to thicken it up!

A special thanks to my oh so wonderful boyfriend for using his nice new DSLR camera to take the beautiful pictures of the cupcakes!

So here’s to 2010 and some seriously delicious nomzing!