I’m (almost) ashamed to say that I got this recipe from Joy the Baker, a site I love, love, love. I so admire her stunning recipes and pretty, flirty blog, I can’t believe I screwed up the first recipe I made from it. Well, actually not the recipe, which is easy-breezy and perfectly written, but the turning on the timer, which is apparently hard. I’m not sure how long I baked these little darlings, but I’d guess for a solid 30-40 minutes, with nary a liner to protect them. I kept admiring the nutty smell until finally it hit me – how long have I been admiring that nutty smell? Yikes!
To the recipe’s credit, the cupcakes were still delicious. Tender and moist, they just had more of a crust than a cupcake would normally (ever) have. Not unpleasant, in fact, rather donut-like, we scarfed these down, no problem.
Including the little man for whom I baked them – my nephew Cooper, who turns four this week. My son loves hazelnut anything (Nutella!), so I hoped that Coop would too. Since my family is all about chocolate, and not so much about citrus (except me!), I boldly decided to forgo the lemon zest and icing (which I would prefer as a beautiful complement to the nuttiness of the cake, so if you make these, do that) and go all hazelnut, all the way. I melted Nutella, and thinned it with a little milk, and drizzled it over the cakes.
Hazelnut explosion, wow. Cooper loved them! And I caught my husband dipping one in the leftover icing. So despite my mistake, still a big hit. I can’t wait to play around with this recipe – as Joy explains, you can choose any combination of nut oil and citrus you like. Walnut and orange? Almond and grapefruit? (Speaking of, I’m dying to try this pink grapefruit yogurt cake from Two Peas and Their Pod…but that’s another post…yay!)
Below is the recipe as Joy writes it. If you’re interested in the Nutella icing, I used 1/2 c. of Nutella and about 3-4 Tbsp. of milk, heated in the microwave until just melted, and stirred together until smooth and drizzle-able.
Joy the Baker’s Little Lemon Hazelnut Cakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. hazelnut oil
1/2 c. buttermilk (which I didn’t have; I used Joy’s buttermilk substitution suggestion by mixing together 3/4 c. yogurt with 1/4 c. milk, used half, lovely)
1/2 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together hazelnut oil, buttermilk, egg, vinegar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once. Whisk together until just combined and no lumps remain. Divide between 12 cupcake cups and bake for 18-22 minutes or until a test inserted in the center of one of the little cakes come out clean.
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan to cool completely and top with an easy lemon glaze.
Lemon glaze is simple – 1 heaping cup of powdered sugar mixed with the juice of half a lemon and a dash of water or milk to reach your desired consistency.