For our April issue's Easter menus, we developed two delicious spring desserts: a Berry Cheesecake and a Lemon Layer Cake. I love both, but after Lent, I need chocolate, so I decided to whip up a batch of Flourless Hazelnut-Chocolate Mini Cupcakes. Follow my tips and you'll find making these treats foolproof.
1. Line a mini muffin pan with cute paper liners: This cake originated as a 9-inch round cake, and it's fantastic that way, but the batter can also be baked into 30 mini cupcakes. Look for springtime cupcake liners from Wilton or Reynolds.
2. Toast and grind fresh hazelnuts: If you think you don't like hazelnuts, it's probably because you've had rancid ones. They go bad fast, so check the date before buying and taste them before using them. The nuts are taking the place of flour, so you want to grind them until they look like crumbs. Because they have natural oils, they'll turn to paste if you overgrind them.
3. Fold gently: The whipped eggs will give your cakes volume and help them rise. When folding in the melted chocolate mixture and ground hazelnuts, do so gently. Use a big rubber spatula and rotate the bowl as you fold.
4. Keep them moist: These little cakes should bake for 10 to 15 minutes. When you stick a toothpick in one, it should come out with crumbs-but not wet batter-clinging to it.
5. Go over the top: Whipped cream tastes great on these, but more chocolate is even better. Make a simple frosting and pipe or spread it on.
These cakes stay moist in an airtight container in the fridge overnight, so you can make them a day ahead.
-By Genevieve Ko
What's your favorite spring dessert recipe?
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