Chocolate, caramel, and hazelnut fans will like these chocolate hazelnut praline cupcakes. I am all three of those things, so it goes without saying that I enjoy every mouthful of them! From the airy chocolate cupcakes filled with a silky hazelnut caramel sauce to the super-rich chocolate frosting, these cupcakes are deliciously sweet and decadent.
The greatest thing is that they come with a bonus treat: hazelnut praline candy on top, which is incredibly simple to prepare! Deliciousness from the bottom to the top!
Yield: 14 Cupcakes
- 1½ cups (190 g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (31 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup (120 ml) canola oil
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (240 ml) brewed coffee or hot water
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
Hazelnut Caramel Sauce
- ¼ cup (32 g) whole roasted hazelnuts
- ⅓ cup (66 g) granulated sugar
- 1½ tablespoon (21 g) unsalted butter
- 2½ tablespoon (37 ml) heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon salt (optional for salted caramel)
- 1 cup (170 g) chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
- 1½ cups (187 g) powdered sugar
- ¼ cup (31 g) cocoa powder
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Hazelnut Praline Candy
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (150 g) packed brown sugar
- ½ cup (120 ml) evaporated milk
- 2 tablespoon (28 g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (128 g) whole roasted hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and prepare 14 cupcake tins with cupcake liners to create the chocolate cupcakes. Using parchment paper, line a baking sheet.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder (if using), baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, granulated sugar, coffee, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Pour the dry ingredients over the liquid ingredients and whisk briefly until combined. Take care not to overmix. Stop whisking as soon as you see no more streaks of dry mixture.
Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake the cupcakes for approximately 18 minutes. Begin checking the cupcakes at the 15-minute mark and continue baking and monitoring as needed. To check if the cupcakes are done, lightly press your finger on the top of the cupcakes; if they spring back, they are finished baking. Allow the cupcakes to cool fully before filling and icing them.
To prepare the Hazelnut Caramel Sauce, finely grind the hazelnuts in a food processor. You may also cut them with a knife, but be sure to chop them extremely small. Set aside the nuts.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the granulated sugar, stirring regularly to ensure uniform melting. It should be a light brown color once all of the sugar has melted and there are no more fragments of sugar grains in the pan. Remove it from the heat and stir in the butter and heavy cream. Take extreme caution when doing this since the mixture will bubble and splatter. Start by quickly stirring the caramel; set it over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, to re-melt the sugar that crystallized when you added the cream and butter.
When the caramel is smooth, take it from the heat and whisk in the ground hazelnuts. If using, stir in the salt. Allow the caramel to come to room temperature before using it to fill the cupcakes. If you put it in the fridge, the caramel will become too hard to spoon into the cupcakes.
To prepare the Chocolate Frosting, heat the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 15-second increments, stirring in between, until thoroughly melted and smooth. Allow it to come to room temperature.
Sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a large mixing dish. In a separate dish, cream the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or until fluffy and white. Switch off the mixer and add the sifted mixture. To blend, mix at a low speed. Increase the pace to medium and continue to beat for 1 minute. Pour in the melted and cooled chocolate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure complete incorporation. Blend in the vanilla extract.
If the frosting is too runny, add additional sifted powdered sugar until the required consistency is reached. If the frosting is too stiff, add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time, stirring in between, until the desired consistency is achieved. Cover the icing until you’re ready to ice the cupcakes.
In a small saucepan, mix the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and evaporated milk to make the Hazelnut Praline Candy. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring regularly, until it reaches the thread stage or a candy thermometer reads 225 °F (107 °C). Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter and hazelnuts, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, or a candy thermometer registers 235°F (112°C).
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk rapidly with a spatula until the mixture begins to thicken as it cools slightly, about 1 minute. Drop mounds of 1 tablespoon (15 g) hazelnuts onto the prepared baking sheet quickly. The hazelnuts should be well coated in the rich sauce. Work rapidly since the mixture will begin to solidify very soon. Allow it to dry completely for a few hours.
To assemble the cupcakes, use a spoon to create a hole in the center of each cupcake. Fill the middles of the cupcakes with the hazelnut caramel sauce. Pipe the chocolate frosting on top of the cupcakes using a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choosing. Each cupcake should be topped with a hazelnut praline candy.
The cupcakes can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 4 days. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving to let the caramel filling soften a little.
For more recipes checkout Fantastic Filled Cupcakes by Camila Hurst