Chocolate-Orange Carrot Cake

Chocolate Orange Carrot Cake


My family has been a willing tester for all my baking experiments.  As long as the result is edible they seldom complain even if I point out my mistakes; the texture is dry, the whole is thing is too sweet, it isn’t quite done, etc.  Previously, there’re only my husband and son who get the burden of eating most of the baked goods, but since my parents are around, they’ve been my victims as well.

As in the case of chocolate cake, the more often I make the happier my testers are.  They always welcome chocolate cake in any form, not unlike this chocolate-orange carrot cake.  I’ve made this cake before and blogged about it in my old food blog.  I’ve a plan to resurrect the stories and recipes from the blog but it’s been a slow going.  Anyway, this chocolate cake is better the second time around.  The first time I made it, I made the frosting slightly different; possibly because I was just learning to bake and frost cakes.  This time I must say that the frosting tastes so much better, light and fluffy.

Chocolate Orange Carrot Cake

The cake itself has won my heart the first time.  It is moist and chocolaty with the addition of chunks of mandarin orange in the layer.  There’s coconut in the cake with give some chewy texture which I don’t mind, but you can omit it if you want.  I’ve made several changes from the original recipe though not much.

This whole cake lasted a while but everyone didn’t get bored eating it!

Chocolate-Orange Carrot Cake

Serves 8 to 10


For cake:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

4 large eggs

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/4 cups sugar

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups finely shredded peeled carrots

1 cup (packed) sweetened flaked coconut

1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel

1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For frosting:

2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrated, thawed or Grand Marnier


Additional canned mandarin orange segments, drained, patted very dry


Make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch high sides with nonstick spray.  Using electric mixer, beat 1 1/2 cups oil and eggs in large bowl until well blended and thick, about 2 minutes.  Add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; beat at low speed to blend.  Increase speed; beat 1 minute longer (batter will be very thick).  Stir in carrots, coconut and orange peel, then orange pieces.  Divide batter between prepared pans.  Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes.  Turn out onto racks; cool completely.

Make the frosting:

Stir chocolate chips in heavy medium saucepan over very low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.  Spoon 1/3 cup chocolate into small bowl and reserve for decoration.  Beat butter and sugar in medium bowl until fluffy.  Beat in remaining melted chocolate and orange juice concentrate or Grand Marnier.  Place 1 cake layer on platter.  Spread with 2/3 cup frosting.  Top with second layer.  Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.  Arrange additional orange segments around top edge of cake.  Rewarm 1/3 cup reserved chocolate to pourable consistency if necessary.  Drizzle orange segments with chocolate.  (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.  Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.)


Source:  Bon Appetit, December 1998

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple upside-down cake

Growing up in Indonesia didn’t give me a chance to eat most old-fashioned American cakes, so whenever I have time I’m almost always drawn to make these type of cakes.  Today’s baking adventure is this pineapple upside-down cake.  I didn’t know before I moved here that one can make cake with fruits on the bottom, turn it upside down after it’s baked, and have a delicious warm cake for dessert.  I’m more accustomed to traditional Indonesian sweets or Dutch-style cakes.  Of course, once I’m settled here, I’ve made various type of American-style cakes in no time, including the upside-down cake.

Pineapple upside-down cake

What I look for is the moist cake part, slightly gooey fruit part, but not overly sweet taste.  Fruits that are used can vary depending on what is available or in season.  My family loves anything with pineapple so they’ll devour this cake easily.  I’ve made a fresh peach upside-down cake in some summers ago and it’s equally terrific.

Pineapple upside-down cake

I’ve made some modifications from the original recipe and I hope you’ll enjoy this as well.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Serves 8 to 10


For the cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk


For the topping

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

6 thin rounds cored pineapple, cut into halves


Make the cake:  Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined.  Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of milk.  Mix just until combined.

Make the topping:  Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add brown sugar at once and stir until sugar melts.  Remove from heat and pour into the prepared pan.  Arrange pineapple slices in concentric form, overlapping slightly if necessary to fit.

Carefully spoon batter over pineapples in pan.  Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 35 minutes.  Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.  Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then carefully invert onto a plate.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


Source:  adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cakes

Apple Crepes with Cinnamon Custard and Salted Caramel Sauce

Apple crepes with cinnamon custard sauce and salted caramel sauceI love making crepes for my family, whether it be for dinner or dessert.  When I started making it, I was a bit worried that the crepes would tear or stick.  But with time and practice, I got the hang of it and it got easier.  What I adore from crepes was when it was just done with crispy edges and fluffy center; I’m sure they’re as good plain as well as filled.  A while ago I borrowed Martha Holmberg’s Crepes:  50 Savory and Sweet Recipes from the library because I wanted to try a new recipe.  All her recipes in the book looked delicious but I had to choose one so I chose this apple crepes with cinnamon custard.  The sauce to go along was salted caramel sauce.  I know, it’s a lot to prep to enjoy these delicious crepes–from making the crepes, the sauce, and the apples–but it was worth the time.  Now, my only disappointment was that the cinnamon custard didn’t look like the photo in the book at all.  The custard’s color in the book was definitely yellowish which was understandable if it was a regular custard sauce.  When I made the sauce, I made sure I followed the recipe to a T; but achieving yellow color from brown sugar & cinnamon was impossible.  So I might be wrong but nonetheless, the sauce was quite delicious.

Salted caramel sauce

Squeezable salted caramel sauce:  rich, buttery, caramely, oh, just heavenly.  I licked too many spoons from making this sauce.  It’s good with vanilla ice cream as well.

Versatile crepes


Apple Crepes with Cinnamon Custard and Salted Caramel Sauce

Makes 6 filled crepes; serves 6


For salted caramel sauce

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoon light corn syrup

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream or creme fraiche

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


For cinnamon custard sauce

1 cup half-and-half or 1/2 cup whole milk plus 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Tiny pinch of kosher salt


For sauteed apples

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 firm, tart apples (about 1 3/4 lbs), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice–I sliced them instead

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Tiny pinch of kosher salt


6 Crepes–use this crepe recipe


Make the salted caramel sauce:

Put the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and about 2 tablespoons water in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring just until the sugar is moistened and beginning to dissolve.  Let the mixture boil without stirring but do an occasional swirl of the pan, until it is a deep amber and very fragrant, 9 to 12 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully pour in a small amount of the cream; it will bubble up furiously.  Whisk in the remaining cream a little at a time so it doesn’t bubble over, and then whisk in the butter, vanilla, and salt until the caramel sauce is very smooth.  Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl and let it cool at room temperature; it will thicken as it cools.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Make the cinnamon custard sauce:

Heat the half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it’s just beginning to steam but don’t let it boil.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until well blended, but not foamy.

When the half-and-half is hot, slowly pour about half of it into the bowl with the yolk mixture, whisking constantly and quickly.  Return the pan with the remaining half-and-half to the heat and whisk the yolk-cream mixture back into the pan.  Gently cook the sauce, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan, until the custard thickens and registers 175 to 180 F on a candy thermometer.  Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve if needed; transfer the custard to a serving bowl and chill in the refrigerator until cold, about 2 hours.

Make the apples:

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the butter is foamy; add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re almost tender, 7 to 8 minutes.  Sprinkle the apples with the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt and cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender when pricked with a fork, 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove the pan from heat and keep the apples warm in a preheated oven.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300F.  Put the crepes on a large plate and cover the plate with foil.  Heat the crepes in the oven until they’re hot, about 10 minutes.

Lay the crepes presentation-side down on a clean work surface.  Spoon a portion of apples into the center of each one.  To fold the crepes, lift an edge of each crepe and fold it over the apples, pleating about six times as you work your way around the crepe to create a pleated border.  Spoon a thick ribbon of the cinnamon custard sauce around each one.  Drizzle a thin zigzag of the salted caramel sauce over everything, and serve right away.


Source:  adapted from Crepes: 50 Savory and Sweet Recipes by Martha Holmberg

Chocolate Crinkles and Merry Christmas!

Chocolate Crinkles

Christmas is here!  Though my chosen color is blue, I’m not having a blue Christmas at all.  In fact, I’ll be somewhere near the ocean, having a great time with family and friends.

Here’s to my readers, chocolate crinkles, to end a sweet Christmas…

Chocolate Crinkles

Makes 60 to 72 cookies


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar


Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside.

In the top of a double boiler over hot but not boiling water, melt the shortening and chocolate.  Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and, with an electric mixer, beat in the granulated sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well.  Stir in the vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Chill the dough for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or butter them.

Form the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter and roll each ball in confectioners’ sugar.  Place the balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets, flattening the ball slightly.  Bake in the middle of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cookies are firm around the edges but still soft in the center.  For crisper cookies, bake a little longer.


Source:  The Christmas Cookie Book by Judy Knipe and Barbara Marks

Glutinous Rice Dumplings in Sweet Ginger Syrup

Glutinous rice dumplings in sweet ginger syrup

A warm, comforting dessert in sweet ginger syrup that’s definitely influenced by the Chinese, it’s usually made during the Winter Solstice–it falls today–which is still celebrated by the Chinese-Indonesian families nowadays.  But in my household, we often make them throughout the year because we love this chewy and delicious dessert so much.  Often times, my mom will make some larger dumplings stuffed with sweetened crushed peanuts.  Those are the best!

Glutinous Rice Dumplings in Sweet Ginger Syrup

Serves 4


For ginger syrup:

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup water

3-4 slices of ginger

1 screwpine/pandanus leaf, tied into knot, optional


For glutinous rice dumplings:

½ lbs. sweet rice/glutinous rice flour, such as Mochiko brand

½ cup water, more if needed, at room temperature

Food coloring, optional

Water for boiling the dumplings


Make ginger syrup:

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Let it boil for 5 minutes and stir often to make sure the sugar has completely dissolved.  Turn off heat and set aside.  This can be done a day ahead and store in refrigerator until ready to be used.

Make glutinous rice dumplings:

Place the flour in a medium bowl.  Add water ¼ cup at a time; mix it with hands until it reaches a consistency of play dough (a dough that will not stick to hands).  Add more water if the dough feels dry; you will use all ½ cup of water but may need more if needed.  Add a drop of food coloring to the dough if you prefer and continue kneading until the color has been incorporated thoroughly.

Ricotta Fruitcake

Ricotta fruitcake


Christmas is in a few days and as a tradition I’ve always baked a variety of sweets during this festive month.  I’ve baked my cookies which are consumed daily by my family members, and I’ve also baked fruitcakes.  There’s people who don’t like fruitcakes but there’s a few who likes them and that includes me and my family.  For me, fruitcake is like a cake with lots of fruits and nuts in them with a healthy dose of liquor.  Now, how good a fruitcake is, I conclude, depends on the recipe and who’s making it :)

Ricotta fruitcake

This particular recipe has a ricotta cheese pound cake as the base.  The cake itself is already flavorful and moist, so adding fruits and nuts is actually enhancing those qualities.  I agree that a lot of fruitcake is hard and could be dry at times; I don’t quite like that in my fruitcake either.  And believe me, once this cake is made, it will never be kept for a long time and passed down to other people!  Quite the contrary, the cake has disappeared slice by slice before Christmas has even come.

Ricotta Fruitcake

Makes 4 loaves (about 8 servings per loaf)


1 cup chopped candied pineapple

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1/3 cup dark rum

1 recipe Ricotta Cheese Pound Cake

2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut or sweetened flaked coconut

2 tablespoons unbleached flour


At least an hour before baking, preferably longer, combine the candied pineapple, raisins, pecans, and rum in a mixing bowl.  Stir, then cover, periodically stirring to saturate the mixture thoroughly.  In the meantime butter 4 3 3/4-x 7 3/4-inch loaf pans and line them with buttered wax paper, buttered side out, letting the paper come over the edge by about an inch so you can pull the cakes out easily later.  Set aside.  When you start to prepare the cake, preheat the oven to 350F.

Prepare the cake as usual.  Mix the coconut with the dried fruit and rum, then mix in the 2 tablespoons flour.  Fold the fruit mixture into the batter, then divide the batter evenly among the pans.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool the cakes in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then lift them out by the wax paper.  Cool for another 30 minutes, then carefully peel off wax paper.  As soon as the cakes no longer feel warm, wrap them in plastic wrap and overwrap in foil.  Store in a cool location in an airtight container.


Ricotta Cheese Pound Cakeadapted for the fruitcake

Makes 1 large cake


1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups packed light brown sugar

6 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

2 cups unbleached flour

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 3/4 cups milk or light cream

1 cup ricotta cheese


In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer, gradually beating in the brown sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.  Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest.

Sift the flours, baking powder, salt, and ginger into another bowl, adding any pieces of bran that remain in the sifter; set aside.  Puree the milk or cream and the ricotta cheese in a blender.

Stir the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk/ricotta; do this in several stages, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Proceed with the making of the fruitcakes as described above.


Source:  Country Baking by Ken Haedrich

Jam Cake with Caramel Chocolate Ganache

Jam Cake with Caramel Chocolate Ganache

Many of you must have known by now that I love eating and making desserts.  I especially love making cakes, especially the layered ones.  Though I’m not an expert in cake decorations, I’ve always tried my best to cover my cakes with yummy frosting.  Honestly, the simple the decoration, the better my cake will turn out :)

Jam Cake with Caramel Chocolate Ganache

Because of that, I don’t mind baking cakes for birthday for my family members.  This month’s birthday was my dad’s and of course I made a cake for him.  His birthday was a couple of weeks ago and we went out to eat dinner at a local pizza joint to celebrate it.  I chose this cake because it looked pretty in the book and the flavor combination seemed intriguing.  After I made the cake and tasted it, I was so in love with the book!  The cake was moist with just enough spices and interestingly, the jam worked well in the cake.  I’ve never made a cake with jam in the batter so yeah, I was glad I tried it.  The ganache was decadent, smooth with a hint of caramel.  This recipe is definitely a keeper, I know it will come handy when I make another sweet thing.  The recipe calls for specific jam, but unfortunately I didn’t have any of those and what I had in mind was actually my homemade strawberry jam.  The result?  We all love it!  The color of the cake was actually a bit more rosy in actuality but somehow the pictures didn’t do any justice.  No matter, the flavor’s delicious and I’m very satisfied with the recipe.

Jam Cake with Caramel Chocolate Ganache

Jam Cake with Caramel Chocolate Ganache

Makes 12 to 16 servings


2 3/4 cups (13 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 cups (17 1/4 ounces) jam, preferably blackberry, raspberry, or apricot

3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 1/2 cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup (4 ounces) sliced almonds, toasted

Caramel Chocolate Ganache, recipe below


Grease and lined three 8-inch round cake pans (I used three 8-inch square cake pans).

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 325 degree F.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt, then whisk the mixture to ensure that the ingredients are well distributed.

In a small bowl, stir together the jam and the buttermilk.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.  As you make the batter, stop the mixer frequently and scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, adding the next one as soon as the previous one has disappeared into the batter.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk mixture in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour.  After each addition, mix until just barely blended and stop and scrape the bowl.  Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and complete the blending by hand with a rubber spatula to ensure you do not overbeat the batter.

Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans (there will be approximately 1 pound 4 ounces per pan) and smooth the tops.  Bake in the middle of the oven until the centers are just barely firm when lightly touched, 32 to 34 minutes.  Cool the cakes on a wire rack for 30 minutes before removing them from their pans.  Once removed, continue to cool the cakes on the rack, top side up, until they reach room temperature.  Leave the parchment paper on until you assemble the cake.

To assemble the cake, place on of the layers, top side up, on a flat plate or a cake board.  Using a thin metal spatula, spread a thin layer of caramel ganache ( a bit more than 1/2 cup) on top of the cake and out to the edges of the cake.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of almonds evenly over the ganache.  Align the next cake layer, top side up, on top of the first one, and repeat with another thin layer of ganache and almonds.  Place the final layer of cake on top of the cake.  Frost the top heavily and the sides lightly with the remainder of the ganache.  Lightly press the remaining toasted almonds on the side of the cake.

This cake is best stored and served at room temperature.  In an airtight container, it keeps for up to 5 days.


Caramel Chocolate Ganache

Makes just over 2 cups (enough to frost an 8- or 9-inch cake)


8 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped, or chips

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes


Put the chocolate into a small heat-resistant bowl and set aside.

Put the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat, and stir just until the sugar has dissolved.  Put down your spoon and let the syrup come to a boil without stirring, occasionally washing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water.  Cook the syrup until it turns a dark amber color.  Swirl the pan to distribute the color and heat.

Once the syrup reaches the desired color, take the pan off the heat and pour in 1/3 cup of the cream.  Do this carefully, as the caramel is very hot and will bubble up when you add the cream.  Once the bubbling subsides, stir in the rest of the cream 1/3 cup at a time, then stir in the butter a piece at a time.  Place the pan back over medium heat and stir to combine all the ingredients.  Once the ingredients are all incorporated into the caramel, pour it over the chocolate.  Swirl the bowl so that the chocolate is completely coated with the warm caramel, then cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  With a whisk, stir the mixture slowly, starting with small circles in the middle and working your way outward, whisking a bit more briskly as you go, until you have a smooth, glossy frosting.  Leave the ganache on your kitchen counter, stirring now and then to help it cool, until it reaches spreading consistency, about 3 hours.  If it stiffens up too much, simply put it someplace warmer than your counter.

Covered with plastic wrap at room temperature, this ganache keeps for up to 3 days.


Source:  Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes


I don’t think I’ve made cupcakes often enough and I’ve never caught the cupcake fever a few years ago.  But I think cupcake is still favored by people; why they’re like little cakes complete with frosting.  I do like cupcakes and this time I’m making this chocolate cupcakes stuffed with Ferrero Rocher in the middle.  The inspiration behind the cupcakes was a post by Bakers Royale’s Nutella Cupcakes.  I’m taking it a lot simpler than that because at the time I was researching for a good, solid chocolate cupcake recipe so I didn’t need to do a complicated frosting to go with it.  This cupcake is decent and delicious although I didn’t add the 2 tablespoons instant coffee to the batter.  I thought it would make the cupcake tasted a little way too much coffee-y to me.

Little did I know that after I made these I had to make many more cupcakes for my son’s school’s function–though they’re with different frosting and no Ferrero Rocher (that chocolate candy is so addictive).  I made some for myself–ehem, my family, and stashed them in the freezer.  I doled out four at a time and was glad that I made extra because I got to have a nice, personal-sized dessert every night :)

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and warm

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup hot coffee

12 Ferrero Rocher


Whipped Cream Frosting:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Unsweetened cocoa powder


To make cupcakes:

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.  Heat the oven to 350 degree F.  Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk thoroughly with  to combine.

In a mixing bowl, add the butter, eggs, and vanilla; beat with paddle attachment on medium speed for one minute. Add flour to egg mixture and beat for 20 seconds.  Scrape the sides of the bowl and add instant coffee.  Beat again for 20-30 seconds until the batter is smooth.  The batter will be thin enough to pour.

Divide it evenly among the lined cups.  Place a whole Ferrero Rocher in the center of each well.  Bake 18-22 minutes just until a toothpick inserted into a few of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Set the pan on a rack to cool.  Frost the cupcakes when they are completely cool.

To make the frosting:

Place heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in a chilled bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peak forms.  Transfer the frosting to a large resealable plastic bag.  Snip the end of a corner of the plastic bag and pipe an even amount of frosting onto the cupcakes.  Sprinkle cupcakes with unsweetened cocoa powder before serving.

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