hazelnut fairy cakes
Prep: 35-40min (frosting) | Baking: 20min
* For the frosting, I went with Swiss meringue buttercream, since, while still very sweet, it isn't overbearingly sweet. However, any frosting of choice will work here - you just need to add hazelnut butter** for the flavouring.
I only outline the steps below on how to make Swiss meringue buttercream. For a thorough breakdown, including troubleshooting, photos, and a detailed step-by-step video, there are many sources online. I recommend checking out Sally's Baking Addiction.
** For the hazelnut butter used to flavour the buttercream frosting, store-bought will be fine. I make my own as it's very easy to make. If you'd like to give that a try, scroll to the bottom to find the instructions.
* An alternate quick option for the frosting is to use store-bought hazelnut spread.
For the fairy cakes:
50g butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla sugar
2 egg yolks (or 1 egg)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
For the frosting*:
2 tsp hazelnut butter**
2 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
115g butter, chopped into 1 tbsp chunks and returned to the fridge
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp grated milk chocolate, for sprinkling, or other chocolate sprinkles of choice
* Alternate quick option to making frosting is to use store-bought hazelnut spread instead.
Wipe your hand whisk, electric whisk, and electric hand mixer (or standing mixer) utensils with lemon juice to ensure there is no grease. A single drop of grease or yolk will ensure the frosting never stiffens.
Bring a pot with a little water to a simmer, and place the egg whites and caster sugar in a glass or metal bowl over it, like you do when melting chocolate. Use the hand whisk to mix constantly until the sugar dissolves, and the mix is less goopy and more like sirup, ca. 4 min.
Remove the bowl from the heat, and use the electric whisk to whip the syrup into a meringue. It takes between 15-20min. I took a break 10min in, putting the bowl in the fridge for 5 min. When I resumed, I placed an ice-pack under the bowl to cool it down even faster. My meringue had stiff peaks in the bowl, but on the mixer the peaks still curled down.
Halfway through whisking (while meringue is resting in fridge if doing that step), take the butter out of the fridge. Set aside as you return to whisking the meringue.
Once stiff (in the bowl), switch to the electric hand mixer (if using a standing mixer, change from whisk to paddle attachment). Add the butter, one piece at a time. This is what stiffened my meringue into a thick buttercream.
Lastly add the salt and hazelnut butter.
Set buttercream frosting in the fridge until the fairy cakes have cooled from the oven.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Cream butter and sugar using a mixer. Add vanilla sugar, yolks, half the flour, the milk, the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.
Spoon 1 1/2 tsp batter into each fairy cake case.
Bake 20 min, then remove fairy cakes from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool.
Scoop frosting into piping tool of choice, add onto fairy cakes, and then sprinkle with grated milk chocolate on top.
** Hazelnut butter:
1 cup raw hazelnuts
1/4 tsp salt
To remove the dark brown skins of the hazelnuts, preheat oven to 190°C. Add a sheet of baking paper onto a tray and spread the hazelnuts on top. Bake 10-12min.
Remove from oven, and place the roasted nuts into a dish cloth. Gather all the ends of the cloth in one hand so the nuts are secured in a bunch with no escaping, and then use your other hands to shake the bulge, which encourages the roasted skins to flake off the hazelnuts. Shake thoroughly, then open the dishcloth. Most of the skins will have fallen away, but some will require you to scrape off the skins by hand.
To make the butter, either:
collect nuts into a food processor, blitz until they are a crushed into a powder, and then continue to process them so that their natural oils are released and a butter is created. Add the salt, and pulse a few more times. Ready!
collect nuts into a masticating juicer, making sure to use the correct filters/ funnels (I use an Omega Juicer, so the inner funnel-like piece needs to be the one without the strainer, i.e. the black one that doesn't have a metallic section). The hazelnuts need to go through the juicer 2-3 times at which point it starts to look a little comical as the powder becomes a paste (like your juicer is taking a poo!). Mix in the salt. Ready!
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