Mini Hazelnut Torte Cupcakes

Decision made! Coffee and Raspberry Mini Hazelnut Torte Cupcakes won.
 Have you ever looked at a hazelnut? I mean really looked. The paper like husk surrounding the nut makes the nut looks like it was carved from wood. It’s actually quite beautiful.  There are so many amazing treats that you can create with this beautiful little nut. I had bought a whole bunch of them to try and make hazelnut macarons, but it’s been so darn humid here that I keep putting it off. Instead, I decided to make mini hazelnut torte cupcakes, half with coffee frosting and half with raspberry frosting. The original torte was a bit dry unless it was made with walnuts (and that’s a torte for another day), so I tweaked the recipe for hazelnuts. These little creations are ridiculously delicious.
Hazelnut Torte Cupcakes
4 eggs
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups toasted hazelnuts
1 ½ tbsp. hazelnut oil
5 tbsp rice milk
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp orange zest
·      Preheat oven to 350° F.
·      Place mini cupcake liners in 2 mini cupcake pans (or do 2 separate batches).
·      Very lightly spray the pan with liners with cooking spray (I use an olive oil one). Be careful or the liners will go flying everywhere.
·      Place eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a food processor. Process until smooth (approximately 1-2 minutes).
·      Add hazelnut oil and rice milk. Mix for another minute.
·      In a small bowl, combine and mix flour, baking powder, and orange zest.
·      Add flour mixture into the processor with the hazelnuts.
·      Mix until combined.
·      Spoon 1½ tablespoons of batter in each liner.
·      Smooth out the tops of the batter.
·      Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
·      Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and then finish cooling on the wire rack.
·      Frost ½ the cupcakes with the coffee frosting and the other half with raspberry. (Or you can do all one flavor frosting.)
Vanilla Frosting
3 sticks of Fleischmann’s unsalted margarine sticks (or any other dairy free margarine)
6 cups 10X powder sugar (+ 2-3 cups extra for thickening), sifted
3 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
·      With a mixer, beat the margarine, vanilla, and salt until light and fluffy.
·      Add the 1 pound bag of powder sugar 1 cup at a time or you’ll have a huge mess.
·      Once everything is mixed, divide the frosting in half.
Coffee Frosting
1½ tbsp. coffee flavored liqueur*
3 tsp coffee extract
½ -1 cup powdered sugar
·      Mix the liqueur and coffee extract with the vanilla frosting.
·      Add the powder sugar ½ cup at a time until the frosting is thick and slightly stiff (so that it will hold it’s shape should you choose to pipe it on the cupcakes)
*The liqueur is optional. If you choose to omit the liqueur, add 1-2 tsp of coffee extract to taste.
**To frost all the cupcakes with coffee frosting, double these ingredients and add to the vanilla frosting.
Raspberry Frosting
½ pint fresh raspberries, rinsed and drained
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp lemon juice
2 tsp cornstarch
·      Place all the ingredients in a small pot. Over medium high heat, bring to a boil while stirring constantly.
·      Reduce to a simmer, stirring frequently until the raspberries have cooked down and lost their shape and the mixture is thickened.
·      In a fine sieve, strain the mixture to remove the seeds
·      Add the raspberry mixture to the vanilla frosting.
·      Add extra powdered sugar ½ cup at a time until the frosting is thick and slightly stiff (so it will hold it’s shape should you chose to pipe it onto the cupcakes).
* Double these ingredients if you prefer to make all raspberry cupcakes.