There was a birthday to celebrate this week and I had intended on baking a meringue cake that is family tradition, but time was not on my side. I was forced to do a bit of improvisation. With cocoa powder and hazelnuts on hand I knew that I could whip up a batch of something delicious in less than half an hour, and even if it was a complete disaster we would still be eating gooey chocolate hazelnut batter. There are worse things in life.
Since it was a birthday celebration, it only made sense to try to fill the mini chocolate cakes with something. I had vegan chocolate hazelnut spread and rhubarb jam on hand (life lesson #492: always have chocolate hazelnut spread on hand). As such, these filled mini chocolate hazelnut cakes (no, I will never ever call them cupcakes) were born. You really could fill them with anything your little heart desires.
I started with a basic chocolate cake recipe that I have come to love (it’s in the new Culinary Cyclist cookbook in fact) and used olive oil just to make things interesting; when you’re using enough chocolate powder the olive oil taste doesn’t come across.
This recipe makes about 12, and throw the end product in a reusable container and you have a dessert that travels well. Which makes for the perfect addition to a celebratory picnic, train rides or even bike ride fuel.
Mini Filled Chocolate Hazelnut Cakes
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup hazelnuts
8 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Chocolate hazelnut spread
Jam – I used a rhubarb jam for this one. Raspberry would also work well.
Finely grind the nuts in a food processor, place into a mixing bowl and add in salt and cocoa powder.
In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla extract. Add in olive oil. Pour into the bowl with nuts and cocoa powder. Mix well.
Prep a muffin tray with paper liners (I have reusable silicone muffins cups which are very worth an investment). Using half of the batter, drop by the tablespoon into each one.
On top of the batter layer, place a little less than a tablespoon of chocolate hazelnut spread or jam.
Cover each individual muffin cup with the rest of the batter.
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Underbake if you like a gooier consistency.