That’s right, I use pumpkin (pie) spice year–round. It’s one of the best spice blends ever created in my opinion and I think it would be a shame to restrict it to fall season, I love it any time of the year. It’s definitely a winner in these hazelnut mini cakes.
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A few months ago I posted my recipe for pumpkin spice white chocolate mousse and I knew that it would be a smasher as a frosting on a cake but it took me a while to find the perfect cake for it. This here is it. It’s a hazelnut butter cake (hazelnut and pumpkin spice are a beautiful combination) and I adapted the cake batter recipe from Bon Appetit.
I started with a full-size cake but that didn’t work for the frosting. The mousse is not as firm as, say, a buttercream and just wasn’t able to stand up to all that cake. But mini cakes were a completely different story. I baked them in 4-ounce ramekins, topped them with a few dollops of the mousse and that worked out beautifully. The mousse is similar to whipped cream in texture, complements the cake wonderfully and the proportions are absolutely perfect.
Pumpkin Spice White Chocolate Mousse Hazelnut Mini Cakes Recipe
For the frosting:
- 4 ounces white chocolate (I recommend Baker’s Premium White Chocolate Baking Chocolate Bar)*
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice
For the cakes:
- 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts (more for garnish)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
For the frosting:
- Cut the chocolate into small chunks, then put it in a saucepan along with the cream and the pumpkin spice.
- Turn on the heat and slowly dissolve the chocolate. Don’t let the cream get too hot, it shouldn’t simmer, it should just be hot enough to melt the chocolate.
- Transfer the mix into a bowl and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
- Beat the mix with an electric mixer until firm.
For the cakes:
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease eight 4-ounce ramekins and dust with flour.
- Process hazelnuts and granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground.
- Whisk the ground nuts with the flour, spice, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- Beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.
- Beat in the dry ingredients.
- Fill batter into the ramekins and bake until a toothpick comes out clean (20 to 25 minutes).
- Let cool, then turn out.
- Pipe the frosting onto the cakes and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.
The cake batter recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit.
*Don’t use chocolate morsels; morsels have stabilizers in them that actually prevent them from melting.
Food Photography and Styling: I vaguely remembered having these hazelnut-shaped and -colored dried flowers around in a rarely–opened drawer (I got them from Michael’s or Hobby Lobby years ago) and thought they would go well with the actual hazelnuts here. The “tablecloth” is a large linen napkin and the backdrop is the backside of a white marble tile and I think it fit perfectly here. I paid close attention to the rule of thirds and placed the cake topping and the flowers in the little vase on intersection points. The fork was very attention-grabbing when it was closer to the cake so I ended up partially hiding it behind it.
Nikon D600, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec., ISO 100. One Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 Monolight, 35″ x 58″ Softbox.