Cupcakes and Muffins · Fiesta Friday · Gluten-Free

Vanilla Cupcakes with Hazelnut Buttercream and Hazelnut Praline Shards (GF)


For this Fiesta Friday I have gathered three different recipes together to create these delicious little cupcakes! At first I was thinking of sticking with something simple – a vanilla cupcake with some Swiss meringue buttercream. I have never made Swiss meringue buttercream before but it’s said it’s not too hard to make so I thought I should give it a go. Unfortunately I didn’t have much luck with the recipe I picked and since I didn’t want to waste more eggwhites I thought it would be best to switch tack and give the Swiss meringue buttercream a go another time. I pondered what to make and what to pair with the vanilla cupcakes, as I was certain I still wanted to do those. I looked in the cupboards and realised I still had some chocolate hazelnut spread which would need using soon! I knew then I had to make some hazelnut buttercream to put on top of the cupcakes. Simple!


However, I still wanted to make something a little more complex. I’m getting a lot bolder with the things I bake and I want to challenge myself and learn new things. So I thought I could give making some hazelnut praline a go. I had some hazelnuts, which also needed using, and I had all the other ingredients on hand. I have never made praline from scratch. I have made caramel from scratch but praline is a little bit fussier I think. I watched over it like a hawk and hurried to mix in the hazelnuts and tip them out onto the baking sheet and spread it all out even while it started to set. But I did it! So I was able to stop and relax a bit and even have a bit of fun making hard strings of caramel – the kind which I often see people use for decorating. It was great! I then waited for it to set and used a little toffee hammer to get in and break them up into shards.


Overall I am super pleased with the results of this bakeathon. I ended up with very moist and fluffy cupcakes that look a treat! Happy eating!

Katie’s Kitchen’s

Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes: 12-14 cupcakes, Prep: 15 mins, Cook: 15-20 mins


  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 160C (fan-forced) and line up to two cupcake pans with patty pans.
  2. Beat butter until pale, then add sugar and beat until fluffy and well combined.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, milk, eggs and vanilla. Mix until smooth and pale, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Spoon mixture into patty pans and bake for 15-20 mins or into skewers inserted into their centres come out clean. You cupcakes might have sunken middles, don’t worry.
  5. Remove trays from oven and cool 5 minutes before removing from tray to cool on a rack.
  6. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Taste and Tell’s

Hazelnut Buttercream

Makes: enough for 8-10 cupcakes, Prep: 15-20 mins


  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 1¼ cups icing sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ⅛ tsp salt


  1. Beat the butter until pale and fluffy, then add in the hazelnut spread and beat until smooth and combined. Add in the vanilla and salt.
  2. Add in the icing sugar and beat for at least five or so minutes until the icing sugar has pretty much dissolved and the buttercream is smooth.
  3. Refrigerate if needed.

My Kitchen Stories’

Hazelnut Praline

Makes: Mine broke into at least fifteen nice shards, Prep: 1-2 mins, Cook: 8-10 mins, plus resting time


  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 50g roasted hazelnuts
  • A drop of lemon juice (to help prevent crystals from forming)


  1. Make sure everything is set up before you get started. Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside, and have your heat proof tool for spreading the praline at the ready.
  2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, cover the sugar with the water and give it a swirl to make sure all the granules are coated. Add in that drop of lemon juice.
  3. Over medium heat let the sugar dissolve into the water, giving it gentle swirls to make sure there are no spots where it sits and burns. You’ll notice it bubbling and getting pretty frothy, but don’t panic.
  4. As soon as the mix gets less frothy and starts looking a dark-ish golden brown colour pop in the hazelnuts. You’ll have to work very quickly now. Give the hazelnuts a quick mix around and immediately go and tip the mixture out onto your baking tray.
  5. Avoid touching the praline as it’s scalding hot, but make sure you push it all out and spread it out decently on the baking sheet.
  6. Let it sit and set. Once it’s set, take your preferred tool and break it up into little shards.

Final Assembly


  1. Once the cupcakes are cool, you can ice them. Pop the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with your preferred tip and decorate their tops. Take individual shards of the praline and gently press them into one side of the cupcake for decoration.
  2. Serve, or chill until ready to serve.

34 thoughts on “Vanilla Cupcakes with Hazelnut Buttercream and Hazelnut Praline Shards (GF)

      1. I will.. Hey didn’t you have another blog.. I’m sure I’m following that one.. It has gluten free recipes too.. I think its called absolutely nel…


  1. I love the idea of hazelnut praline, I’m going to give it a go! I recently learnt how to make almond praline and I was amazed at how simple it is – yet how complex it looks when served (felt like a real pro 🙂 ) I also sprinkled some sea salt on top of it, which gives it this lovely sweet/salt flavour! Love your blog and look forward to discovering your sight more 🙂


    1. 😀 I’m glad to hear it! And I feel the same, it looks so complex when served but is much easier to make than I realised. It makes everything look so fancy! I love the sea salt idea, that would have been so elegant and delish! Please let me know if you do give any of these recipes a go, and likewise I look forward to exploring your site too!


  2. What a great job you did. I must try your gluten free cupcakes. I am glad you attemped the praline and did such a good job with it. Yay!


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