October 25, 2011

October 25

Happy Birthday to my youngest sister!  It's a big day, you turn 16.  It was only five years ago for me. That's it?! I hope 16 lives up to your expectations, if there is one things we've all learned these past few years, it's that anything can happen.  Sixteen was the year I met my husband, so always be prepared.  May your new age bring you wisdom and clarity.  I'm glad you chose these cupcakes to celebrate, I love an excuse to be so indulgent.  Nutella stuffed cupcakes and a salted caramel buttercream, perfect.

Nutella Cupcakes & Caramel Buttercream

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup nutella
350 g (1 3/4 cup) brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup milk
160 g (1 1/4 cup) flour
1 1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
2 Tbsp water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
400 g (2 cups) icing sugar

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.  In a bowl of a stand mixer beat together oil, 1/4 cup nutella, brown sugar, eggs and milk.  Separately sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda.  Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Spoon the batter into the into the cupcake liners so they are 2/3 full.  Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until the top of the cupcake springs back when lightly touched.  Do not over bake.

Cool the cupcakes completely. 

While the cupcakes cool start the caramel.  In a small pot combine the sugar and water.  Place over medium heat and cook until dark amber colour appears.  Imideatly add the cream and vanilla stirring until the mixture is smooth.  Let the caramel cool for at least 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable.

In a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment beat the butter and salt together for a few minutes until it is lightened and fluffy.  Scrape down the butter and pour in the caramel.  Combine the two for a few minutes and then add the icing sugar.  Beat on high for two minutes, until the icing is light and airy and completely combined.  If the caramel was too hot when added the mixture will be runny.  Stick it in the fridge if this happens for 15-20 minutes.  Scrape into a piping bag.

To assemble the cupcakes remove the center of each of the cool cupcakes.  Dallop or pipe in nutella to fill the center.  Frost with the caramel buttercream.  Sprinkle the toasted chopped hazelnuts over the top along with a bit of sea salt.  Enjoy!  Makes 18-or so.

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