This time, hazelnut cupcakes with vegan hazelnut mocha mousse filling piped in.
These…were a lot of work, but the results were pretty darn good. These, like many delightful baked goods, involve an alcoholic beverage. I would very much like to try to make chocolate stout cupcakes. I’ll post when that does happen. I’m in a town with a beer culture that means I can go to the grocery store and buy craft beer–which is a great situation to be in when you’re a beer fan.
Anyhow, on to these little charmers. These are from the Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World, which you should strongly consider buying.
This is a time consuming project, make no mistake. Is it worth it?
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cupe hazelnut meal or hazelnut flour (I ended up grinding hazelnuts, but I’m told that almond meal/flour will work well too)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 rice or nut milk (I used soy and they turned out well anyways)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds (they do eggy things, I think, and help make the texture nice)
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup maple syrup (this doesn’t have to be Grade A; for cupcake purposes, B is just fine and definitely more affordable)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (packing the brown sugar is ++important
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon hazelnut liquor
The book also called for a ganache, but I didn’t much feel like making it…so I didn’t.
Before you actually start on the cupcakes, you should make the mousse filling so it has time to set up before you pipe it into the cupcakes. I used, as before, the super-fancy ziplock piping method to achieve the mousse-filling aspect of these cupcakes.
6 ounces extra-firm silken tofu (silken tofu is softer, in general, and better for the mousse-making purposes we’re using it for)
2 tablespoons plain soy milk
1 tablespoon agave nectar or pure maple syrup
4 teaspoons instant espressor powder (I used finely ground coffee beans, but I really think that ground/smashed instant coffee would work far better than the beans…the beans make the texture kinda weird)
2 teaspoons hazelnut liquor
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped, or 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Crumble the tofu into a blender, add the soy milk, maple syrup/agave nectar, espresso/coffee powder, hazelnut liquor and vanilla, and puree until smooth.
The book has a cheeky paragraph about a double boiler, and then gives instructions on an improvisational double boiler, but really, you can melt chocolate in the microwave, as long as you adequately babysit it. Dump your chocolate chips/chopped chocolate into a microwave safe bowl, and put in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring after each heating, until the chocolate is melted. Stirring is a very good way of preventing terrible chocolate/microwave incidents.
Add the chocolate to the tofu mixture and blend until combined (meaning you have to stop every few seconds to scrape down unmixed stuff on the sides. Then transfer the mousse to an airtight container/covered bowl to set up in the refrigerator.
Back to the cupcakes:
Line the cupcake tin and preheat the oven to 350.
In a mediumish bowl (instructions say small, but I took this rather too literally, so I’m going to say medium), whisk together the rice/soy milk and ground flaxseed. In a larger bowl, sift together the flour, hazelnut/almond meal, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Add the maple syrup, sugar, canola oil, vanilla and hazelnut liquor to the soy milk/flaxseed mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until mostly smooth (the meal means it’ll have a slightly rougher texture than most cupcakes, and it isn’t something to worry about).
Pour into the liners (2/3-3/4 full, mind, otherwise this won’t work well), and bake 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick/pointy object inserted into the middle comes out clean. Don’t try the poking thing until at least 18 minutes have passed unless you know your oven routinely defies laws of thermodynamics and cooks far too fast*, because your cupcakes will fall/be otherwise unhappy and less delicious.
Let them cook…and then poke ’em in the middle, to about an inch’s worth of depth. Then, take your mousse in your trusty ziplock bag with the corner cut out, and squeeze into the newly formed hole. The mousse makes waaaaaaay too much mousse, so I ended up forgoing the ganache in favor of using the mousse as a very strange frosting. I then put them in the fridge to set up, and soon I convinced some very skeptical relatives to try my freaky tofu mousse cupcakes (they were converted).
*Oven thermometers that you put in the oven are often more accurate than the oven’s internal thermometer