Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hazelnut Espresso Babycakes

Before we get on to anything else, Please congratulate Nags of "For the Cook in me" for her brilliant winning photo in Jess Dang's Food Porn Contest! Nag's photo of Curd Rice with Pomegranates served with chow chow sambhar is truly a sight for sore eyes as is her Beautiful Blog. So, for Gorgeous Southern Indian Food Recipes, don't forget Nags!

I've been craving a Coffee cake of some sort for the longest time and last week, out of pure desperation, I bought a Coffee Sponge roll from a local bakery in Northbridge. Unfortunately it just tasted really artificial and left me feeling very very dissatisfied. You see, I've been really busy getting things done and tying up loose ends before we go on Vacation in three days. Can I slip in a 'Yay'? YAYYYYYYYYYYY!! So with my craving not satiated, I've been feeling a wee bit irritated to say the least.

You can imagine my excitement though, when I saw a recipe for 'Coffee Teacake' in the April issue of Delicious - I rushed home, put away the food shopping, sat myself comfortably on my lounge, put my legs up and started flipping the pages to where the recipe was. As I read through the ingredients list, I felt my excitement deflating. It was a boring recipe. You can actually tell it's a boring recipe when they say " Chocolate, coffee or vanilla ice cream to serve" at the end of the Ingredient's list. The word 'Teacake' is a bit of a giveaway too.

But I had to have a Smashing Coffee Cake that day. So I brought out my pen and note book and started to make some changes and additions to the recipe. Very soon it looked like a totally different recipe, but I was happy with the ingredients - Espresso coffee, Hazelnuts, Frangelico (Hazelnut Liqueur) and Nutella - they all totally complimented each other. And the cupcakes turned out extremely well, fragrant and full of flavor with a tender crumb. I couldn't be happier with the result.

For first time readers of my blog, don't be alarmed that I used Salted Butter in my Cake, I use it in ALL my cakes. I find it renders a richer, more flavorsome cake. I use Sponge Cake Flour regularly too when a recipe calls for Self Raising Flour, and even sometimes when ordinary cake flour is used. I like my cakes soft and fluffy. For this icing recipe, use any Coffee Liqueur if Frangelico is unavailable.

Hazelnut Espresso Babycakes
Makes approximately 12 Cupcakes or one 22 cm round cake that will serve 8

170 g Salted Butter, softened
150 g Caster Sugar
3 eggs
120 g Sponge Cake Self Raising Flour
50 g Ground Hazelnuts
1 shot/ 10 tsp strong espresso coffee
Coffee Beans for decorating

Frangelico Icing

90 g Unsalted Butter, softened
90 g Cream Cheese, softened
75 g Icing Sugar
1 1/2 tbsp nutella
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp Frangelico

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius or 160 degrees celsius if you have a fan forced oven. Line a muffin pan with cupcake paper or if you are making a whole cake, grease and line the base and sides of a 22 cm round springform cake pan with baking paper.

Now, here comes the crucial bit of this recipe - you have to dry roast the Ground Hazelnuts in a shallow pan over low heat. This will ensure an amazing tasting cake. Keep moving the ground hazelnuts around in the pan with a spatula until fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the hazelnuts into a small bowl to cool. Sift the sponge flour then add the ground hazelnuts to it, mixing to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and pale.

Add the eggs, one at a time, adding 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture after each addition, and beating well. Fold in the remaining flour, then the coffee. Spoon the mixture 1/2 full into the cupcake cases or into the prepared pan. The baking time for the cupcakes is approximately 15 minutes. Bake a whole cake for about 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. For cupcakes , remove from the muffin pan after 10 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

For the icing, put all the ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Spread or pipe the icing as you desire. Enjoy!

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