Love and Olive Oil

Hazelnut Cappuccino Cupcakes

Hazelnut Cappuccino Cupcakes

This is how it usually goes down in our house:

I spend hours slaving over a hot kitchen aid, whipping up cupcakes with mounds of beautiful buttercream, sprinkles, fondant flowers, the works. Taylor gets his hands on one, and proceeds to push 2/3 of the frosting (oh the beautiful swirl of frosting!) onto the side of the plate before eating the cupcake. All this effort I put in to the frosting, I may as well leave half the batch unfrosted for him, or heck, just make muffins (boo).

We would have gotten along well as children. I would yearn for the coveted corner piece of the grocery store sheet cake every time one of my classmates had a birthday. The corner piece was obviously the best, because it had twice as much frosting as all the other pieces.

If I had known Taylor, it wouldn’t have been an issue. He’d give me his frosting, I’d give him my cake. It’d be a match made in sugary heaven.

And it wouldn’t stop at just cake. Take corn dogs, for example. I loved corn dogs when I was little, but only the corn part. I’d eat the whole outer coating off of the dog and ceremoniously pass it to my dad when I was done. Taylor, on the other hand (if given no other choice), would peel every last spec of batter off before eating it.

I mean, seriously. How perfect would we have been for each other? (and I’m sure my Dad would have appreciated not having to eat so many mutilated corn dogs).

But these cupcakes were different.

I watched in awe as Taylor practically licked the cupcake clean of frosting. No mound on the side. He ate every last bit (though, I do admit he pulled off the heart sprinkles prior to doing so).

That’s how I know I’ve done good. I’ve done real good.

The frosting is not, in fact, new. You’ve seen it before layered so beautifully inside this cake. Yes, I’m talking about the Tiramisu Buttercream. It’s a basic swiss meringue buttercream with a splash of coffee, and the final result is so unbelievably smooth and buttery and not overly sweet like the typical American-style buttercream. It is SO worth the extra effort.

The cake itself is almost identical to almond-based cupcakes I’ve made before, except I substituted finely ground toasted hazelnuts for the almond. And it surprised me how distinct the hazelnut flavor was, I didn’t expect it. A good pairing with the coffee buttercream.

The perfect treat for your one true love.

Hazelnut Cappuccino Cupcakes

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  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cappuccino Buttercream:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1/2 tablespoon instant coffee


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine soymilk and vinegar and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes. Mixture will curdle.
  3. Toast hazelnuts in a dry pan over low heat until one shade darker and fragrant (watch them carefully or they will burn). Remove skins if desired (or if you can). Transfer to a food processor and pulse until very finely ground.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together flour, ground hazelnuts, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Whisk sugar, oil, and extract into curdled soymilk mixture. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth. Fill cupcake liners with a scant 3 tablespoons of batter (cups should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 20-22 minutes or until lightly golden, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
  6. To make buttercream, combine the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 5 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk on high speed until mixture is completely cooled and stiff peaks form, about 6 minutes. Add butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, on low speed, mixing well after each addition. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
  7. Stir instant coffee into warm water until dissolved. Add, 1 teaspoon at a time, to buttercream, mixing well after each addition. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.
All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. These look so yummy!

  2. wow!! THIS IS SO GOOD! I wasn’t expecting too much (from failed recipes before) but this is WOW WOW WOOOW!! It’s going to be a staple frosting for me from now on. I’ll try with strawberries, lemon, and so much more possibilities!! Thank you so much for sharing and for the eye-catching pictures!!

  3. Wow! These are stunning and the flavors are right on point. Just gorgeous. I bookmarked this recipe, I’ve gotta try it. Looks wonderful, thanks so much for sharing! =]

  4. I made these for a school fund raiser and they literally went like hotcakes! They were the best tasting cupcakes there. Thank you sooo much for sharing your recipes with us. The frosting is to.die.for.



  5. Thank you so much for sharing the Cappuccino Buttercream recipe — it’s my favorite frosting recipe up-to-date! (I’ve tried many others but they’re usually too sweet or not sturdy enough.) I made these cupcakes last night and upon taking a bite I was really pleased how good they were. Thanks again for being kind enough to share your secret. I know I’ll be visiting your site again and again.

  6. The BEST buttercream EVER!!! I don’t even like icing… but this is heavenly! I will use this recipe for every cake/cupcake from now on. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Well, found my next sugary indulgence. I am going to have to make these soon! I’m a sucker for anything combining coffee and baked goods.

  8. These look fantastic! I already have a bake of ground nuts, can I use that instead of toasting my own? Sadly, I don’t own a food processor to ground nuts. How much should I use, measurement wise? Can’t wait to make these!!

  9. These are absolutely beautiful and a heavenly item I wish would magically appear in my kitchen for tomorrow morning. Cupcakes in the morning…yes, I said it :)

  10. Oh I want one just from looking at the picture and hearing the name of the cupcake! I have to try to make these sometime, though I have to admit I’m not as talented at frosting as you. Smear with a knife anyone? I’m on your side: I eat all the frosting first and beg for the corner of a birthday cake with more frosting!

  11. My hubby and I are in Taylor’s camp – give us cake sans frosting. They do look lovely though!

  12. These look wonderful! I was going to make these for my bookclub, and have Very Vanilla soy milk-any thoughts on if I should cut back on the sugar?

  13. These look beyond incredible and absolutely perfect for Valentine’s Day! I can just imagine how divine hazelnut and cappuccino will taste together, mmm!

  14. What a cute story! And I love the little hearts!

  15. my first time ehre, and boy am I glad I discovered your blog! cappucino cupcakes look fabulous! beautiful presentation with the frosting, btw!:)

    these look awesome! and they’d be perfect for my Valentine day giveaway! would you care to send them in for the event?

  16. These are beautiful! I like the flirty heart sprinkles. The hazelnut/coffee flavors are so YUM! Can I fill them with Nutella? ;)

  17. Adorable! And as a kid I didn’t like frosting either, now I do. Although, I’ll admit, if it’s a sheet cake, I ask for a center slice!

  18. I love the Swiss buttercream, like on the Strawberry Lemonade cupcakes. It’s SO light and fluffy …

    Instead of soy milk, can you use nonfat milk, or a combination of nonfat milk and half-and-half?

  19. Yes, you’ve done really well with this one (and with Taylor:) Thanks for another awesome post with a stellar photo as the icing on top!

  20. i am with u girl! the more frosting the better :)

  21. Lovely cupcakes! I love the liners too! Where did you get them?

  22. These cupcakes are lovely. I’ve never used soy milk in cake batter, but always have a carton in my refrigerator. I’m anxious to try these.

  23. These are gorgeous! I can’t even wrap my mind around not eating the frosting…and unfortunately both my husband and I are corner lovers :)

    I will have to try this buttercream!

  24. I totally agree that swiss meringue is worth the effort, such a nicer out come than buttercream.
    The cupcakes sound delicious, the hazelnut cake combined with the frosting almost sounds praline like.

  25. These cupcakes are beautiful & deliciouuuus

  26. Your story reminds me of asparagus, how you say? Your dad will eat the tips and Robin only likes the bottom part, or is it the other way around?
    After seeing these cupcakes, I just might have to revise the desserts I am making for the community Valentine’s dessert party. These looks like WINNERS.

  27. I love the story of Taylor that goes along with these! I never actually make your cupcakes myself (I would be so sad when they turned out all lumpy & less pretty), but I still love reading of them.

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