This post has been sponsored by Ferrero Rocher. All opinions are my own. There are some real perks to picking up and moving to a new city where you know basically no one. Not only have I been granted a valid excuse to walk away from the people and things that were not enriching my life with no explanation needed (a real bonus for a people pleaser like me), but I also have the opportunity to leave behind habits or behaviors that were doing me no favors, and essentially reinvent myself.
Since moving to Oakland, I’ve been doing a lot of self evaluation and soul searching. The last time I ‘started over’ was almost 14 years ago when I took off across the country to San Diego. My priorities were a lot different then they are now. Back then all I really cared about was being on my own, away from my parents rules and judgements. I wanted to live life my way, which had nothing to do with networking, making my bed, or any kind of traditional adult responsibilities. Being light hearted and enjoying each moment was the name of the game, and boy did we ever have some fun.
Over time I found myself working multiple jobs, and taking on additional responsibilities to ensure a more comfortable lifestyle and secure financial future. The dishes were done more regularly, and although I still don’t make my bed everyday, I do now consider myself a fairly tidy person. With my increase in responsible behaviors came a decrease in my light hearted persona.
I’m not saying that being a responsible adult sucks, and there is no way to be truly happy while being a productive member of society, but I do think that there’s a balance that needs to be achieved between holding on to the simple, carefree wonder of youth, while still participating in the often boring grind of adulthood. I didn’t know until I stepped away from my life how bogged down I had become in the game of adulting. One of the main objectives I’m going to focus on throughout my new adventure here in the Bay Area, is to do my best to keep things simple and light. I’m hoping to avoid getting sucked in to situations or relationships that go against these principles, and focus more on enjoying each moment as much as I can.
As a symbol of my new attitude, I made these super simple, mixer-not-required, Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes. Currently I’m living in a dark, one bedroom, temporary apartment while we wait to close on our new house. I don’t have access to a mixer, or any of my usual cooking utensils or pretty props. When this assignment first came up I figured there was no way, I could create something great in such a dismal environment. My anxiety levels rose as I attempted to solicit kitchen use from some acquaintances I knew in the area. I worried about missing my deadline and letting people down. Ultra serious adult Betsy was in full effect as I nearly had a meltdown.
One day I was listening to Spotify and this song came on,
“I’m always focusing in on the wrong things (Help)
And then the wrong things become everything (help)
I don’t know what I’m gonna do, I don’t know what I’m gonna do about anything (Help)”
Isn’t it funny how a simple song lyric has the power to snap you back to reality? This was not the person I wanted to be. This is the person I was trying NOT to be anymore. Instead of focusing on my less-than-ideal situation, I realized that IT’S JUST A CUPCAKE! It’s supposed to be fun and festive.
I could do this.
I was creative.
I had the basic necessities.
I could absolutely create an awesome cupcake with what I already had.
So I did, and you know what? It was really fun. Once I stopped worrying about logistics, I not only baked a moist, chocolatey cupcake, but a joyful and sophisticated one too, with the addition of a Ferrero Rocher truffle on top for a little extra fun. Ferrero Rocher is a delicious and festive way to add a little extra cheer to any dessert.
Creativity was the reason I got into cooking in the first place. It wasn’t for money, or deadlines, or page views. It was just because I liked it and it was fun. I guess the moral of the story is that even though I set out to reinvent myself with this new adventure, what I really ended up doing was reverting back to the person I used to be. The person I am at my core. Someone who loves to create, laugh, enjoy life, and eat cupcakes.
Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 1/4 cup dark cocoa (regular cocoa will work as well)
- 1 cup and 2 TBSP all purpose flour
- 1 and 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, both at room temperature
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup butter, melted but starting to cool
For the filling
- 1/4 cup hazelnut spread
- 2-4 tablespoons half and half
For the frosting
- 1 cup hazelnut spread
- 8 oz cream cheese
Ferrero Rocher Truffles for Garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line muffin pan with 12 cupcake wrappers.
In a large bowl, combine cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well and set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine egg, egg yolk and sugars. Mix well by hand to combine. Stir in milk and sour cream, stirring well to combine. Add in coffee and butter, mixing well to combine. Mix with dry ingredients until well combined.
Fill liners with cupcake batter, approximately 3/4 of the way full.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly pressed and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes prior to frosting.
To prepare the filling, whisk together hazelnut spread and half & half, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth consistency is achieved. You don’t want the filling to be too runny, or too thick.
To prepare the frosting, beat together cream cheese and hazelnut spread until smooth and creamy.
Using a sharp knife, cut a small cone out of the top of each cupcake. Using a spoon, fill each hole with filling mixture. Cut the cut the base off each cone and replace just the top over the filled hole.
Spread each cupcake generously with frosting. Top with Ferrero Rocher, and enjoy!