Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Ferrero Rocher (Chocolate and Hazelnut) Cupcakes

So after I met the challenge for After Eight cupcakes so successfully I was asked for Ferrero Rocher cupcakes by the fiancé's friends in Dundee.  Now I know such a thing has been done before, several times in fact (so many different pictures came up when I Googled it) but for the most part they've baked a Ferrero Rocher into the centre of the cake, or placed one on top.  I didn't investigate beyond photos, because I like developing my own ideas without being too influenced by someone else's (because where's the fun in that?).  Incorporating a Ferrero Rocher is fine and I'm sure it is delicious but I wanted to make things difficult for myself and try and recreate the thing in cake form, complete with all its layers!  That shouldn't be too difficult, right?

Hence my first task was looking into exactly what made up a Ferrero Rocher.  I knew it was chocolate and hazelnuts and I had eaten a couple in my life (I'm not really a nutty chocolate person) but I wanted to get this right.  Wikipedia describes them thusly:

"..a whole roasted hazelnut encased in a thin wafer shell filled with hazelnut cream...and covered in milk chocolate and chopped hazelnut."

Now, I knew said 'hazelnut cream' was a chocolate cream so obviously my version would be something similar and when you think hazelnut and chocolate I think most people are going to think of Nutella.  So that was that bit solved.  For the most part, the rest was obvious: a chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream and chopped nuts, plus a whole nut dipped in chocolate to go in the centre.  I knew I wanted to find a cake recipe that used a lot of milk, as well as cocoa powder, since it is meant to be milk chocolate and I always get nice moist cakes when I do that.  I had many books of chocolate cake recipes to hand though so finding one of those was pretty easy (I found it in the second book I looked at).  Really, the only problem I had with that bit was actually finding hazelnuts, since my supermarket didn't sell them.  I eventually managed to grab some in Holland&Barrett.

The bit I had to think a lot about was the wafer shell.  How on earth was I going to achieve that?  My solution was to make tuille wafers, which are really thin biscuits which can be moulded into shape right after they come out the oven.  I decided to shape them into rings to sit inside the centre of the cakes and would then fill them with Nutella and the chocolate covered hazelnut.  A good plan in theory, except for one obvious flaw that I was aware of but figured was worth ignoring for the sake of experimentation: biscuits take on the taste and texture of the things around them.  That's why you don't store two different types of biscuit together in the same tin.  So of course, whilst the wafer started out nice and crispy, it went soft once it had been sitting inside the cake for a while.  This was not detrimental to the cake but it was a little disappointing.  Hence I'm tempted to say that part of the method is optional, though the fiancé says I should include it anyway because not doing it might take something away from the overall cake.  I'm wondering if next time I should bake the biscuit inside the cake?  Maybe that would make a difference?  Though filling it afterwards might be difficult since it wouldn't be easy to work out exactly where to cut the hole.

I will admit, I was a bit disappointed when I had finished them.  I was worried about the soft biscuit and I wasn't sure if I should have covered the tops of the cake with melted chocolate or not.  I chose not to because I thought I would lose a lot of the nuts in the dipping process.  I was also hugely annoyed at myself for not checking my supply of muffin cases to see if I had enough gold foil ones.  I was just convinced I was fine, only to discover on the day that I only had three.  The rest had to go into brown ones which didn't look anywhere near as good.  So when the fiancé ate the one I cut up for photos I was worried about what he might say.

Turned out it I was worrying over nothing (as I have a tendency to do it seems) as it was good things apparently.  He really liked it.  Lovely light, moist cake with the crunchy hazelnut.  The crunch from the nuts made up for the loss of the biscuit, which almost disappeared into the cake taste-wise.  Almost.  He also alieviated my concerns about not dipping in chocolate by saying he thinks that would have overwhelmed it and the nuts would have been lost flavour-wise.  They were very well received by his friends too and ended up competing with previous favourites such as the chocolate orange buttercream, After Eights and hot chocolate cupcakes.  Another success in that apparently they were just like a Ferrero Rocher.  Huzzah!

Recipe - makes about 14

Cakes - adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery: Cake Days
  • 80g/3oz butter
  • 280g/10oz caster sugar
  • 200g/7oz plain flour
  • 40g/1.5oz cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 240ml/8fl.oz milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5 and line muffin tins with 14 muffin cases (ideally gold foil to get that Ferrero Rocher feel).
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder until you get a mixture that resembles sand in texture.  To get the last of the lumps of butter out you may wish to rub it in with your fingers.
  3. Put the eggs and milk in a jug and whisk together.
  4. Pour three quarters of the egg milk into the dry ingredients and mix in until incorporated.
  5. Scrape down the edges of the bowl and add the rest of the liquid, beating until smooth and even.
  6. Divide the mixture amongst the muffin cases, filling about two thirds full and then bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until risen, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let them cool in the tins for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Tuille Wafer Rings - adapted from The Great British Bake Off: How To Bake
You will end up with more batter than you need but I figured it's better to be safe than sorry because the wafers can snap if you're not quick enough to shape them.
This is also optional.  You don't have to make the wafer shells for the centres if you don't want. 
  • 1 large egg white
  • 60g/2oz caster sugar
  • 35g/1.25oz butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 35g/1.25oz plain flour
  1. Grease 2-3 baking trays with butter.
  2. Melt the butter and then allow to cool.
  3. Whisk the egg white to stiff peaks.
  4. Gently whisk in the sugar a little at a time until incorporated.
  5. Add the melted butter and vanilla and whisk in.
  6. Sift in the flour and carefully fold in with a metal spoon.
  7. Spoon a teaspoon of mixture onto the tray and spread into a thin rectangle about 10cm long.  You'll probably get four to a tray as they do spread quite a lot.
  8. Bake for about 5 minutes, until they are pale gold and the edge have started to brown.
  9. Remove from the oven, let stand for about 15 seconds and then use a palette knife to separate them from the tray.  Do this one at a time and as soon as you pick one up, bend it into a ring shape that is of a smaller diameter than your cakes.  If you ended up with quite wide biscuits (making for tall rings, which I did) you can quickly cut them in half first and then bend them.  If the biscuits on the tray firm up too much for bending, pop them back in the oven for about a minute to soften up again. 

 Chocolate Buttercream:
  • 140g/5oz butter
  • 280g/10oz icing sugar
  • 100g/3.5oz milk chocolate
  1. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl placed over a pan of lightly simmering water (but not touching the water).
  2. Beat the butter in a bowl until creamy.
  3. Sift in the icing sugar and mix in until your buttercream is pale and fluffy.
  4. Pour in the melted chocolate and beat until evenly incorporated.
  5. Put into a piping bag fitted with a large, round nozzle.
  • 75g/3oz hazelnuts, plus 14 extra ones for the centres
  • 25g/1oz milk chocolate
  • 100g/3.5oz Nutella
  1. Melt the chocolate as for the buttercream.
  2. Dip the 14 hazelnuts for the centre in the chocolate to coat them completely and then leave to set.
  3. Put the Nutella in a small saucepan and heat it gently, stirring as you do until it has a slightly runnier consistency, just to make it easier to get into the cakes.  Transfer to a small bowl.
  4. Sit one of the wafer rings on top of each cake and use as a guide by cutting around the outside of it to make the hole in the centre of the cake.  Depth of the hole will depend on the height of the ring.  Make sure to keep the bit you cut out.  If not using the wafer ring, just cut a core out the cake and go to step 6.
  5. Place the wafer ring inside the hole.
  6. Put 1 teaspoon of Nutella into each hole, followed by a chocolate covered nut.  Add more Nutella if you have enough.
  7. Cut the very top off each core you cut out and place it back on top of each cake.  Press down gently.
  8. Pipe a flat spiral of buttercream on top of each cake, starting from the outside and working your way to the centre.
  9. Crush the remaining 75g/3oz hazelnuts into small pieces and then dip each cake in them, making sure to cover all the buttercream.

1 comment:

  1. Your great commentary on how you figured out the whole process really makes me want to taste them.