Cupcakes with Mascarpone & Spun Sugar Hazelnuts

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients: 
For the cupcake:
150 g butter, at room temperature
210 g (1 cup) Huletts Castor Sugar
4 extra-large eggs, beaten
200 ml full cream milk
3 ml (½ t) instant espresso coffee powder
210 g (1½ cups) self-raising flour, sifted
 
Icing:
200 g mascarpone cheese
15 ml (1 T) Huletts Icing Sugar
3 ml (½ t) instant espresso coffee powder
 
Caramel sugar:
100 g (½ cup) Huletts White Sugar
50 ml water
1 ml (pinch) cream of tartar
24 whole hazelnuts
Method: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 2 X 12 hole muffins tins with paper cases.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, add the eggs one at a time, while beating. Slowly, pour in the milk and coffee powder and beat until smooth.
  3. Gently fold in the flour.
  4. Divide the mixture between the paper cases, filling to three-quarters full.
  5. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

Icing:
  1. Place the mascarpone cheese, icing sugar and coffee powder in a bowl and beat until smooth.

 

Caramel sugar:
  1. Place sugar and water in a saucepan over very low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add cream of tartar. Increase the heat and boil rapidly without stirring.
  3. Place a sugar thermometer in the syrup and allow to boil until a reading of 175°C is reached.
  4. Remove from heat and plunge the base of the saucepan into cold water to stop the syrup boiling.
  5. Gently push a thin wooden kebab skewer into hazelnut. Be careful not to crack the nut. Dip the nut in the caramel sugar and carefully pull out the hazelnut making a long sugar thread. When thread is desired length cut off with a kitchen scissor and place on parchment paper to dry. Leave to cool. Repeat with the other hazelnuts. Store in an airtight container.