This month's Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge, in true holiday spirit, challenged us to create a cupcake "for someone special." Well, my brother just came home from college for the holidays, and I knew just what to make for him. His favorite thing in the world is meringue, and he also loves chocolate and nutella, so when I came across this cake I knew he would love it. It also fits his personality - he may have a rather scruffy exterior, but inside he's a softie and very sweet.
Now the challenge was to make it into cupcake form! After some trial and error (I could only bake 12 at a time, and the second batch turned out much better after I learned from the first one) I made some darn good cupcakes, if I do say so myself. (Sorry for the not-so-great pictures. It was rather late by the time I finished them so the lighting was bad and I didn't have time to make a good setup before everyone demanded cupcakes!)
I should also mention that my aunt flew in from Switzerland yesterday, and she loves hazelnuts, so these are really for two special people. Or three, because I showed my dad the cake and he was thrilled that I would be making such a rich chocolatey dessert. I added whipped cream because my brother loves whipped cream almost as much as meringue, and what's a cupcake without some sort of frosting? I must say, the vanilla whipped cream complements these rich cupcakes extremely well.
The final product was a rich, moist, flourless chocolate cupcake topped with a light, crispy meringue full of hazelnut and chocolate pieces, topped with a dollop of lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream.
My brother was pretty happy.