I admit that I do not post enough sweet recipes to this blog despite having an intensely sweet tooth (I would always pick pudding over starter). I love making desserts – desserts is my favourite part of the meal because they give you the scope to be the most creative. You can mix sweet and savoury, you can shape almost anything (see the cake section), there are never constraints what you have to put on the plate and most of all it can have chocolate in it. Desserts are works of art and taste bloody good – I’m afraid this is why I believe food is a much higher form of art than a one off effort on a painting in the Tate modern. Plus I am pretty sure someone will soon come out with proven scientific research that baking is the most effective form of stress release and antidepressant. So here is a decadent cake for a chocolate lover, not only is it beautiful but it combines probably every good thing god created (minus peanut butter and champagne) plus it has gold leaf on it, who wouldn’t eat anything with gold leaf on it?
Vanilla Cupcakes, Filled with hazelnut cream, a layer of chocolate, boiled milk nutella frosting with hazelnut pieces, drizzled with white and milk chocolate, sprinkled with wafer and topped with gold leaf.
For the Cupcakes
225 grams granulated sugar
1 vanilla pod
175 grams cake flour, not self-rising (Available in the UK only from American food shops)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
57 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
75 grams full-fat sour cream
60ml vegetable oil
1Tbsp vanilla extract
160 ml whole milk
1.Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C.
2.In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla pod.
3.Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure
to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.
4.In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together
cake flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt.
5.Add the vanilla sugar and mix until well combined.
6.Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because
there is so little butter, you’ll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
7.In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and
vanilla extract until smooth.
8.Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed
until just combined.
9.Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter
will be liquid.
10. Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
11. Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They
are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it. The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown. If they are not done, test again in two minutes. If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
12. When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the
tins and leave them on a cooling rack to cool.
For the Filling
240ml Whole Milk
2.5 Egg Yolks
2 teaspoons Hazelnut Liqueur
1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch.
2. Place over a low heat whisking gently just until the mixture bubbles, about 15 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Stir in hazelnut liqueur.
3. Press plastic wrap directly on the top of the cream and place in fridge to cool completely, approximately 2 hours.
4. When cupcakes are cool, cut a small hole in the centre of the cake and fill with the filling.
For the Chocolate Layer
100g melted milk chocolate
1. When the cupcakes are filled, pour over a thin layer of melted chocolate and leave to set, meanwhile make the icing.
For the Frosting
240ml Whole Milk
3 tbsp Plain
A pinch of Salt
225g unsalted Butter
225g Granulated Sugar
2tbsp hazelnuts, finely chopped
1. Whisk flour into milk and place over medium heat in a small sauce pan. Cook mixture until thickened, whisking constantly.
2. Remove from heat and whisk in the Salt.
3. Pour into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap on the surface. (This will stop the cooking and the plastic will prevent crusting) Set aside to cool slightly.
4. In a stand mixer, begin creaming the butter and sugar until fluffy.
5. When milk mixture is slightly cooled; add 1 TB at a time to the creamed butter mixture while the mixer is running on medium speed. Slowly but surely the gluten will pull in the butter into a pseudo emulsion. Add the nutella and mix again.
6. You should have an extremely fluffy, light and buttery frosting when completed
7. Toast the hazelnuts dry. When cooled, stir through the frosting
8. Place in a piping bag and pipe onto the set chocolate
Melted milk chocolate
Melted white chocolate
1. Top the cupcake with the wafer pieces
2. Drizzle the melted milk chocolate and white chocolate over the cupcake in lines
3. Finally dab a piece of gold leaf on top