Almond-hazelnut cupcakes with ganache frosting

I don't make cupcakes very often but once in a while, I do get the urge.  I had all the ingredients I needed on hand so I decided to make these almond-hazelnut cupcakes with my favorite frosting - chocolate ganache - on top.  I kind of think that if I were a cupcake, I'd be something like this...a little nutty and full of semisweet chocolate flavor. 
I'm usually all about the cake and not a big fan of buttercream frosting,  icing, glazes and the like. But chocolate ganache is the exception.  That velvety smooth chocolate is hard for me to resist. Just stirring the cream and chocolate together, seeing that puddle of chocolate come together, and getting a whiff of that scent is like therapy for me.  And it tastes so good!
So in some ways, these cupcakes were an excuse for me to make and have some ganache frosting. And I'm happy to report that it all worked according to plan.  My husband and I really enjoyed these. The cupcakes are made with a combination of ground almonds and hazelnuts (two of my favorites), giving them interesting texture and flavor. The cupcakes themselves are relatively light, thanks in part to folding some beaten egg whites into the batter to lift them up.  I do realize I'm talking about cake and sugar so "light" is a relative term here but as far as cupcakes go, they are moist and spongy, not overly rich so they paired well as a balance to the decadent ganache on top.  
This is my kind of frosting!
The ganache frosting does hog a lot of the attention and take over a bit when you eat these cupcakes.  I'm totally okay with that.  For a more delicate touch, you could go with a fluffier butter-based dark chocolate frosting (part of the original recipe, actually) but I'm all for ganache, all the time.

* I'd like to send a "thank-you" over to Shannon at A Periodic Table.  As I was enjoying these very cupcakes with my husband a little over a week ago, she literally posted a recipe for almond cupcakes with ganache and said she had me in mind!  Thank you, Shannon!  Shannon's site is one of a treasured group of food blogs I've had the pleasure of discovering in the last year or so.  Thanks to her and many of you, I'm constantly being inspired and educated.  I eat better because of you and I'm not just sitting here talking to myself (like I figured I always would be) on this blog because of it, too.  Thank you all for stopping by occasionally and for your kind words and virtual pats on the back. I really appreciate it!  : )


The cupcakes:
These cupcakes are moist and spongy, made with a combination of all-purpose and cake flour, as well as an equal ratio of ground toasted almonds and hazelnuts.  If you prefer a milder flavor, you could always use a bit more almonds to hazelnuts.  I really like the classic pairing of hazelnut and chocolate such as we have here.

I made half a recipe, for 8 cupcakes.  That required a reasonable half stick of butter, some milk, granulated and dark brown sugar, and then 2 whipped egg whites to lighten them up.  

The ganache frosting:
When I make ganache, I generally go with equal parts chocolate to heavy cream.  I love a formula I can actually remember!  I used semi-sweet chocolate in this case and started with about 5 ounces of chocolate with an equal amount of cream. I had a bit of ganache leftover (which I didn't waste by rolling them into a couple of truffles) so I think 4 ounces of chocolate and cream should suffice for 8 cupcakes; it just depends on how heavy-headed you want to be.  

I used a touch of espresso powder to boost the chocolate flavor and added a little corn syrup for a little shine.  If you don't care about getting the gloss on the frosting, you can omit the corn syrup. Many ganache recipes call for corn syrup and/or a bit of butter and I often omit both.
I could look at these cupcakes all day!
Anybody craving a cupcake?


Recipes:

Almond-Hazelnut Cupcakes with Ganache Frosting
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

- For 8 cupcakes (half the original recipe) - 

Cupcakes:
1/4 cup whole unblanched almonds, toasted
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cake flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons whole milk
2 large egg whites, at room temperature

Ganache:
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1 tablespoon light corn syrup (optional - for shine)

Make cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a standard muffin tin with 8 paper liners.  In a food processor or small chopper, grind almonds and hazelnuts together until fine (but don't overprocess or you'll end up with nut butter).  

Sift flours, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl.  Whisk in the ground nuts.

Cream butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-high speed until combined.  Beat in vanilla.  On low speed, add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients and beating well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites together to soft peaks (I do this by hand with a large whisk).  Fold egg whites into the batter in two additions.

Divide batter among the 8 cupcake liners.  They should be filled about three-quarters of the way. Bake, rotating the pan about midway, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.  Transfer the tin to a wire rack to and let cupcakes cool before gently removing them (they are just a bit fragile).  Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Make ganache frosting:
Place chocolate and espresso powder (if using) in a heatproof bowl.  Heat cream and corn syrup in a small skillet under medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it just begins to simmer.  Pour hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for about a minute or so until chocolate begins to melt.  Whisk, starting in the center, and working outwards until smooth.  Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until ganache thickens but is still fluid enough to spread over cupcakes. (The amount of time this takes depends on the temperature in the room.  It took about almost an hour in my case but you can speed the process up by placing ganache in the refrigerator and whisking occasionally. You need to keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn't thicken/harden too much to spread.  In that case, you will need to re-warm the mixture.)

Spread ganache over cooled cupcakes.  The finished cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.







48 comments:

  1. I'm definitely going to give your version a try.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You certainly can't go wrong with chocolate ganache frosting! I'm not a big cupcake person usually but this I'll eat happily anytime! Have a great week Monica! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right?! Love ganache in all forms, particularly on top of cake. It's a weakness of mine, Anne.

      Delete
  3. Yum!! Love the nut flours in this recipe. Keeps the cupcakes so light :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My hubby and I really enjoyed the nuttiness of the cake, Kiran. Thanks

      Delete
  4. Wow! Chocolate and nuts..do we need anything else! These cupcakes are just so beautiful..I know I couldn't have stopped at one. And chocolate ganache..my absolute favourite! I added it to my dessert this morning too. I love that we think along the same lines:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! I also love that we think the same! : ) Chocolate ganache makes me forget everything but the lingering nuttiness of the cakes themselves made these memorable. I hope you give it a try!

      Delete
  5. These cupcakes look awesome Monica! They definitely are so "you" with the almond, hazelnut and pretty chocolate ganache :) I love how glossy the frosting looks too! Love chocolate and nuts together, I can imagine how glorious one of these tastes and could easily eat a few for breakfast :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha - thanks so much, Kelly. I am definitely a little nutty and I most certainly adore chocolate! I often skip the corn syrup but I wanted to make these a little "pretty" so I used it to give the frosting the shine. It was hard just eating one at a time...my husband did not manage to do that. : )

      Delete
  6. Oh my goodness, Monica, these look delicious! The ganache puts it over the top!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, girl - the frosting takes over and I was happy to let it! hehe...

      Delete
  7. I am more a muffin person than cupcake...but if it's frosted with ganache, then, it's another story. These cupcakes look fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ganache seems to win many hearts. I do adore it.

      Delete
  8. Wow, I love all the nuts in the cupcake base! And they look so pretty even before they were frosted! You definitely have me craving a cupcake now ... in particular one with a ganache frosting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you think so, Ashley. I didn't want the cake to get totally lost with the frosting and luckily, their flavor and bit of grittiness in texture still stands even though the ganache is a "pow". I hope there's a good cupcake in your future - preferably enjoyed in front of a fireplace with a cup of coffee or tea - soon!

      Delete
  9. I'm not a big fan of buttercream either (although there are some kinds I adore, actually I made a frosted cake this weekend haha), but I cannot resist chocolate ganache. And hazelnuts. Gosh, these sound amazing and I love that you added egg whites to make this lighter! Yay, they look lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you, Consuelo! Every time I go and say I don't like something, I can immediately think of at least 2 exceptions. haha...but ganache is an all-time favorite any day! I wish I could take credit for the egg whites but it was part of the recipe. To be honest, I was actually concerned about not liking that. I love my egg yolks and if not for the rich ganache, I wonder if I might have preferred a richer cake itself. Worked really well together in the end. : )

      Delete
  10. So sweet of Shannon to mention you :) The ganache on these looks amazing. I rarely make cupcakes either, but these sound really good... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! I am so predictable. People associate me with loving chocolate, nuts, and macarons - all true. : )

      Delete
  11. These look so delicious!! I'm a huge almond cupcake fan, and that chocolate ganache looks absolutely heavenly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your comment. : ) I'm always drawn to almonds and nuts/crunch in food!

      Delete
  12. I'm with you on all that gloppy frosting, no thank you! Give me ganache anytime, I love that stuff. I also love the nut flours in these cupcakes. I'm not a cupcake fan but the nuts and the ganache make this a winner for me. Yum!



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love seeing beautiful cupcakes but for eating, I'd definitely prefer full-on chocolate. I'm glad this appeals to you! : )

      Delete
  13. Almonds and chocolate are one of my favorite combinations. I don't make cupcake much anymore either, but if I do, I want to make some like these! Thank you for sharing them with us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cupcakes tend to be pretty labor intensive and I'm not good at (or much enjoy) decorating. A simple swipe of ganache, I can more than handle though. : )

      Delete
  14. i absolutely looooove chocolate ganache as well, and with an almond/hazelnut flavour combination as well... yes, please!
    the hobbit kitchen x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad we're on the same page, Holly!

      Delete
  15. Hehe now I'm definitely craving a cupcake with glorious chocolate ganache icing now! :D

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am never one to turn down ganache!! These are such cuties!! Also I love that they have almonds AND hazelnuts mixed in...two of my favorite nuts to bake with!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm totally with you on the almond and hazelnut combo. Best of both worlds...

      Delete
  17. What a beautiful, tasty treats! I love hazelnuts and ganache... I want to try this combo asap..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chocolate and hazelnuts are such a classic. Thanks!

      Delete
  18. Your cupcakes look so beautiful and delicious. I couldn't agree more with the almond and hazelnut combination...my two favorite nuts in one dessert! Plus the chocolate ganache on top...perfection (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you like them, Monica! Ganache is definitely my frosting of choice although I tend to forget everything else that goes with it when I eat that.

      Delete
  19. Your healthier ganache recipe sounds really good! And the cupcakes look so pretty (yeah I can "eat" these all day long too!)!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The trouble is ganache is so easy to make and since I love it so much, it's very tempting to eat too much! : )

      Delete
  20. aw, your'e so sweet! i swear we must be connected somehow: you were sending your nutty cupcake thoughts in my direction. :) These are so beautiful; i like that we now have two versions of ganache; yours and mine, which look like they work differently, in a textural way. i definitely want to try yours out to see the differences and the similarities.
    and there's totally such thing as lightness in cupcakes (or cakes in general)! believe me, i have had some weighty cakes...some fun, some not so fun. overall, i prefer lighter for everyday baked goods, for sure. I'm happy we've now officially traded recipes like two ladies in the 50's. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe we're both just a little bit nutty? haha
      I find I *generally* use a 1:1 ratio when it comes to ganache and then a little corn syrup and/or butter on occasion depending on how much I want to follow a recipe distinctly. But for the most part, I make it for basic frosting so I don't (luckily) have to get too scientific about it.
      I like the idea of trading recipes like ladies in the 50s. If only we could bring back recipe cards - though I never could figure out how to fit all the words to a recipe on one index card, no matter how large it is.

      Delete
  21. Chocolate ganache rocks, and I use them frequently with cakes, cupcakes, tarts. And the cake sounds delicious, with both almond and hazelnut. Sounds like a great combination to me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tiffany, I think we are very much on the same page. : ) Love that! You just can't beat the ease and deliciousness of ganache so I always think of that first, too!

      Delete
  22. This definitely is your kind of cupcake, from all of the cake recipes I see you share. :) Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely - why make anything you wouldn't want to eat (better yet, devour) yourself, right! Thanks

      Delete
  23. Just look at the fabulous last photo...no comment other than 'yum'!

    ReplyDelete
  24. OMGGG this looks DIVINE:) your blog is now my addiction haha.

    Check out my blog post...one of my fav. recipies:)

    Have a lovely day dear

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis - The Swedish home decor blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you like what you saw here. : )

      Delete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...