Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes landscape photo

Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes (Vegan Gluten-Free)

These rich, fudgy Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes have a chocolate ganache middle all topped with a fluffy vanilla buttercream before being dipped in melted chocolate aka a High Hat Cupcake. Top these vegan, gluten-free cupcakes with more hazelnuts for a chocolatey bake.

You can watch the recipe video here.

I love cupcakes and I love chocolate, so I am rather surprised it has taken me this long to share another chocolate cupcake recipe (after my Triple Chocolate Cupcakes which are popular in my house). They are rich and fudgy but the lovely vanilla buttercream cuts through the heavy chocolatey with something lighter but still deliciously sweet.

Half eaten Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes
Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes

How delicious are these cupcakes?

They are pretty special, these cupcakes are:

  • Rich and fudgy
  • Chocolatey and hazelnutty (like Nutella)
  • Moist and spongey
  • Light and airy
  • With a hidden melting chocolate centre
  • Topped with the fluffiest vanilla buttercream
  • Dipped in more chocolate like a “high-hat” cupcake
  • Easy to make with simple ingredients
  • Naturally vegan and easily gluten-free

They are so delicious and if you are ready to make these straight away, skip ahead to the recipe card below or first, let’s discuss the recipe in more detail.

Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes
Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes

What ingredients do I need?

What I love about these Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes is that the ingredients are all simple and ones you probably already have at home.

  • Plant-based milk: any carton of milk will work here like almond, soya or oat.
  • Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar: when stirred into the milk, it curdles forming a homemade vegan buttermilk.
  • Coffee powder: the coffee adds so much richness and depth of flavour, but you can skip this if you don’t have any or opt for decaf, too.
  • Caster sugar: for the best texture I use caster sugar here, but golden caster or coconut sugar will also work.
  • Sunflower oil: or you can use melted and cooled coconut oil. If using the latter, it’s important it cools down as otherwise it will meet the cold milk and seize up, ruining the batter. I prefer sunflower or a light olive oil for the spongey lightness.
  • Self-raising flour: ordinary or gluten-free will work here (make sure it contains xanthan gum). Using SR flour means we don’t need to add as many raising agents. But you can turn your plain flour into self-raising flour (read this post).
  • Cocoa powder: or cacao powder for the richness. Make sure it’s 100% cocoa/cacao rather than with added sugars.
  • Bicarbonate of soda and salt: for more rise and flavour.

For the filling of the cupcakes, I kept it really simple:

  • Dairy-free chocolate spread: this is smooth, rich and takes no time at all to fill the cupcakes. If your chocolate spread is quite thick, warm it up slightly to make it runnier and easier to fill the cupcakes. I like the ones from Mr Organic, Biona Organic or Be Fabalous, in the UK.
Unwrapped Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes
Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes

For the frosting, you cannot beat a great buttercream and the chocolate dip takes these to the next level:

  • Vegan butter: make sure this is softened first. I leave mine out for 1-2 hours at room temperature. This makes for the fluffiest buttercream. Block butter is better than the spreadable kind.
  • Vanilla essence: because chocolate and vanilla work so well together.
  • Icing sugar: essential for the best buttercream.
  • Aquafaba or plant based milk: using aquafaba (the water from a tin of chickpeas) adds another dimension to the buttercream as it creates a cheats’ Swiss Meringue Style Buttercream but plant-based milk work just as well.
  • Dark chocolate: for the “high-hat” chocolate dipping. I used a dark hazelnut chocolate which adds a lovely flavour but any chocolate will work. I like to keep it dark and not as sweet as the reset of the cupcake is quite sweet. You can use dairy-free milk chocolate, too.
  • Coconut oil: melt this with the dark chocolate to make the chocolate shinier and silkier. It is not essential but does help with the dipping process.
  • Hazelnuts: for sprinkling on top. You can leave this off or top with anything else like small, chopped pistachios, almonds, seeds or rose petals.

How do I make these Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes?

The method is quite simple for these and the batter is made in one bowl and you can watch the recipe video here:

  • Whisk together the milk and lemon juice: and allow to curdle and form a buttermilk. This takes about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the coffee, sugar and oil: and whisk until smooth.
  • Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda: add the salt and whisk to a deliciously rich batter with no specks of flour.
  • Do not overmix: only stir until the flour has just gone.
  • Divide between the cupcake cases: filling about 2/3 full.
  • Bake for 17 to 20 minutes: until an inserted skewer comes out clean and they are nicely risen and springy to touch.
  • Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack: do this carefully and swiftly are they come out the oven to prevent them sitting in a hot tray for too long which will cause condensation and potentially soggy cases and overbaked cakes.
  • Allow to cool fully: before coring out the middle. I use an inverted piping nozzle but an apple corer, or spoon will work.
  • Fill the centre with chocolate spread: to the top and cover with the bit to cake you removed.
  • Make the buttercream: whip the butter then gradually beat in the vanilla, sugar and aquafaba or milk and beat for 2-3 minutes more until super fluffy.
  • Pipe on the buttercream: using a round-shaped or other nozzle.
  • Melt the chocolate and coconut oil: and pour into a glass or bowl, slightly larger than the cupcake.
  • Dip the cupcake frosting into the chocolate: and work quickly, allowing the excess to drip off and allow to set.
  • Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts: or other small toppings and enjoy.
Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcake on a plate with a fork
Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes

Are these cupcakes gluten-free and nut-free?

To make these Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes gluten-free, use your preferred gluten-free flour blend with xanthan gum. For a nut-free option, just check that your chocolate spread, chocolate and milk are nut-free. Skip the chopped hazelnuts on top and use cacao nibs, rose petals or desiccated coconut.

Can I use something else to fill the cupcakes?

Yes, if you don’t have any dairy-free chocolate spread, you can make your own Mocha Almond Butter, or use another nut or seed butter of your choice. You could make these chocolate berry cupcakes using a berry jam in the middle or do not fill them with anything and just frost them. They are still deliciously rich!

How long will these cupcakes last?

Eat these Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes straight away while the chocolate top is still warm, or allow to cool and keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can freeze un-filled and un-frosted cupcakes for up to 1 month in the freezer (wrap up well). Defrost the cupcakes at room temperature and then fill and frost as above.

Looking down on Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes
Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes

I love these cupcakes, what else can I make?

I hope you are going to love these Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes as much as we do and for more baking ideas, how about my:

Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes (Vegan Gluten-Free)

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

These rich, fudgy Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes have a chocolate ganache middle all topped with a fluffy vanilla buttercream before being dipped in melted chocolate aka a High Hat Cupcake. Top these vegan, gluten-free cupcakes with more hazelnuts for a chocolatey bake.

Ingredients

    For the Cupcakes:
  • 240ml plant-based milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp coffee powder
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 80ml (70g) sunflower oil, or melted and cooled coconut oil
  • 170g self-raising flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • For the filling:
  • 80g dairy-free chocolate hazelnut spread
  • For the frosting:
  • 100g vegan butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp aquafaba or plant-based milk
  • 180g dark chocolate, broken up
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Crushed hazelnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180*C and line a muffin tray with 10 cases.
  2. Stir together the milk and lemon juice in a mixing bowl and leave for 5 minutes to curdle and form a “buttermilk”.
  3. Pour in the coffee, sugar and oil and whisk.
  4. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda and add the salt. Whisk to a smooth batter with no specks of flour.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop or large tablespoon to divide the batter between the cases, filling them about 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until springy to touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the tins and cool fully on a wire rack.
  7. Core the centre from the cooled cupcakes and keep these bits. Warm the chocolate spread for the filling.
  8. For the frosting, add the butter to a mixing bowl and beat with a handheld electric whisk or freestanding mixer until fluffy. Gradually add in the vanilla, icing sugar and aquafaba or plant-based milk and beat for 2-3 minutes until really fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag with a round nozzle attached.
  9. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together. Pour into a glass that’s wide enough to dip in the cupcakes.
  10. Fill the cores of the cupcakes with the warm chocolate spread and add on the top piece of cake. Pipe on the vanilla buttercream and dip the cupcakes into the glass of chocolate carefully and quickly, allowing the excess to dip off while turning the cupcakes (don’t leave them upside down too long or the frosting will drop off).
  11. Stand the cupcakes up and sprinkle with crushed hazelnuts. Eat straight away or allow the chocolate to set. Store the cupcakes in the fridge in a sealed container for 2-3 days. Unfrosted and unfilled cakes will keep for up to 1 month in the freezer.
Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes landscape photo
Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes

I look forward to hearing what you think of these Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes so please let me know in the comments below. If you do make these cupcakes, I would love to see so please tag me in them, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With high-hat choco love x

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