Aug 26


Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcake Recipe and Hedgehog Toppers

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It’s probably not the best time to be experimenting with desserts. My brother’s wedding is less than two weeks away and I still want to be able to fit into my favorite dress. But, I have been good. It’s summer here, and going for walks and the occasional jog are a lot easier than during the icy winters. You might be surprised to know that I’m a bit of a health nut. Oh, yes, I see the irony. A health-conscious girl with a blog named Sweetopia. I’ve always had a serious sweet tooth though and two years ago when I began this blog, it began as a bit of a tutorial thing for my students and friends, and it definitely has grown into a major passion of mine.

That’s why trying to maintain some sort of fitness balance has been important. I definitely can not always resist when I probably should, but I’m not willing to give up the gift of sweets, especially this chocolatey concoction. It just means have one, and then give the rest to neighbours. Which, I promptly did.

Thank goodness they were home.

Making the sugary hedgehogs as the hazelnut cupcake toppers was my favorite part of this baking project. There isn’t really a danger of me eating too many of them, because, as they’re entirely made from royal icing, they taste like pure candy, and my sweet tooth hankers for chocolate-type goodness.

If you’d like to try making them, here’s how I did it:


How to Make Hedgehog Cupcake Toppers

To make these royal icing toppers, you’ll need:

I used my KopyKake projector to project the hedgehog so I could trace the image, but if you’ve got drawing talent you won’t need the projector. ;-)   If you’d like to see a KopyKake projector tutorial, click here. This shape is simple enough that you could also trace it.

The hedgehog design is from Critters In The Forest Clear Stamp Set (Lawn Fawn).

Step 1: Cut the transparency (or parchment paper) out just larger than the size of the image you’re piping.  Lightly coat transparency, with a small amount of shortening using some paper towel.  This helps make the royal icing shape easier to remove when it’s dry.

Step 2: Pipe royal icing outline. Let it dry for 24 hours.

Step 3. Flood or fill in your outline

Step 4. Gently shake the transparency left to right to help the icing smooth over. Let the brown icing dry for 24 hours, then fill in the beige section. You could fill in both colors right away, but if the icing goes over the outline, the colors will seep into each other.

Step 5. Once the beige has dried (minimum 24 hours), add the details, such as the eye and quills.

If you prefer video, HERE’S one in which I show how to make a royal icing transfer.

Quick pictorial summary:

It turns out the bigger hedgehogs were a bit tooooo big for this size cupcake.

It’s a giant hedgehog!

If you think that’s funny…

Anyways, if you’d like to try these chocolate hazelnut cupcakes, here is the recipe:


Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

{Click here to print}

Yield: 24 cupcakes


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup freshly ground hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder, best quality you can find (I used Ghiradelli)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup whole milk (35%)
  • Nutella, ¾ cup (optional)



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Sift together the sugar, flour, freshly ground hazelnuts, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, briefly whisk together the sour cream and vanilla extract; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the eggs, vegetable oil, and milk, until smooth.
  5. Add the sour cream mixture and stir until well incorporated.
  6. Add the flour mixture and stir on low speed until just incorporated. (The batter is fairly thin, don’t worry, you’ve done it correctly).
  7. Using an ice cream scoop, pour the batter into the cupcake liners (in muffin cupcake pan). Fill each liner no more than 2/3’s full.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Ovens vary). Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove from the pan, and allow to cool once again.
  9. Optional – Nutella center: Fill a pastry bag fitted with a #10 circle piping tip, with Nutella. Insert the tip into the center of the cupcake, and squeeze for a few seconds.
  10. Top cupcake with icing of your choice.


For the icing, I used a vanilla buttercream because it needed to be colored green, and it tasted good combined with the hazelnut chocolate, but if you’d like more chocolatey goodness, click here for a chocolate buttercream recipe. For the vanilla recipe I used, click on the hedgehog below:


Making the ‘grass-like’ icing requires that your icing be quite thick. To figure out how thick it needs to be, just dip a spoon into the icing and pull upwards; the icing should form a peak, and stay standing. Using a piping tip #233 is what I used to get the ‘grass shapes’.

A huge thanks to Niner of We Choose Organic for helping me with this post by resizing and editing the photos for me.  You can find this talented girl and her treats on her facebook page here. Not only is she conscious about baking and cooking organically, she bakes spectacular sweets and is a skilled web designer.

Have fun baking and decorating and enjoy!



p.s. If you’d like to never miss a post, and/or receive more tips on decorating, click on this button below to sign up for free:

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  1. August 26, 2011 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    SO cute, Marian! I love your hedgehogs! Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. JessB
    August 26, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Well, the hedgehogs are pretty cute, but I just love those mushrooms!

    I think I need to get one of those #233 tips to make the grass to ice the cupcakes to put the mushrooms on. In fact, I’m going to!

  3. karenb
    August 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    VERY cute!!!!

    Marian, when you make the Royal icing transfers, what does the back of the image look like when you remove the transfer/parchment paper? Is it possible to pipe details on both sides of image?

  4. Katlyn
    August 26, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Please tell me you employ people and have an assembly line for these projects of yours! I tried my hand at some basic, marbled sugar cookies the other day, and it took FOREVER! granted, I’m new at decorating, but still…your detail is amazing. ANYWAY, for this recipe, how “ground” do the nuts need to be? Does it require a grinder? I have only a chopper…and a hammer.

  5. marian
    August 26, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    @ karenb: You could do two, you’d just have to do one image in reverse so they would line up. Here’s what the back on one looks like:

    @ Katlyn: Very ground. I used a grinder. You can buy them already done though. =)

    Thanks for the comments ladies.

  6. August 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    How cute is that!! Even though I am thinking about learning how to pipe royal icing everytime you post something new, this time I am gonna try. The hedgies are adorable!

  7. August 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Awwww look at that! What a beautiful start into the day, especially because it’s Friday.

    Marian I looove love love these!!
    Your detailed work amazes me post after post.
    I think i need to bake cookies sometime soon and play around with royal icing :-)

    Much love!!

  8. August 26, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    “Thank goodness they were home.”

    Ha ha ha. I’m still laughing. It’s funny because it’s true! SUPER cute little hedgehogs. I adore them!

  9. August 26, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m planning on doing this for toppers for my son’s birthday next week. Is there anything aside from shortening you can use to make the royal icing come away easier without messing up the icing? We don’t have access to shortening where I live.

    Thanks, and I love your website! :)

  10. August 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Those hedgehogs are just adorable! I really enjoy visiting your blog, although I don’t comment very often (I’m a lurker), but it really does brighten my day to see your beautiful creations, and admire your talent!

  11. August 26, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    What a clever and cute idea is this! Thanks for showing us how to achieve that…

  12. Mona
    August 26, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Sooooo cute!!!! I always love the time you take for detailed instructions and the pics to go along with them : )

  13. August 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    wow…. how did you fit all that in?????
    sooo cute…. you are amazing!!!!!!!!!!
    I love your talent and idees.

  14. August 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Very cute, I love those mushroom!

  15. August 26, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Adorable! I have a hedgehog on my front porch for wiping your shoes before entering the house. *His* quills are made of those stiff bristles and his face and feet of cast iron. I’ve never once looked at it and thought to make these sweet and fun cupcake toppers:)

  16. August 27, 2011 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    So ridiculously cute! I love hedgehogs. Now I know what I want my birthday dessert to look like!

  17. August 27, 2011 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Holy mother of all things cute, these are WONDERFUL! as in you couldnt even tell these were made by a human being kinda beautiful. You achieve a kind of perfection very few others can do, stunning!

  18. Teresa Searcy
    August 27, 2011 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    So cute!!!!

  19. marian
    August 27, 2011 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    @ Corrie: You know, I’m really not sure if another type of ‘grease’ works. Do you have access to another type of lard?
    Some people don’t use any, but I find that the already fragile transfers break even easier that way.

    Thanks for the comments lovely ladies!

  20. August 27, 2011 at 2:53 am | Permalink


  21. August 27, 2011 at 3:14 am | Permalink

    Sooo adorable. Loving all the cuteness.

  22. August 27, 2011 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    Sooo pretty, cute, good…. yummm


  23. Rachel
    August 27, 2011 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    I saw these on CC so had to come and read the whole post…I’m rather taken with them, gorgeous! And I’m wondering how you get your cupcakes so straight up and down, mine flare out at the top. Do you use special liners, or tins? Which kind?

  24. August 27, 2011 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    I love them! They are so cute!! I especially love the little mushrooms! Great job!

  25. Manin Sanchez
    August 27, 2011 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian !!

    These cupcakes are amazing!
    I just have one question, where can I find the freshly ground hazelnuts?? Is there any brand I can look for?

    I love hazelnuts and nutella so Im sure I will love this recipe!!

    Thanks! :)

  26. marian
    August 27, 2011 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    @ Rachel: I used a regular muffin tin (paderno), and only filled them 3/4 of the way up. Maybe that’s why? Or these brown liners?

    @ Manin Sanchez: You should be able to find them in the baking section of a larger grocery store. Almond is a little more common, but you can find ground hazelnut too.

  27. nikki
    August 27, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    how could you eat such a cute cake! These RIT,s are a great use of left over icing and a way to practice piping…must try some day soon!

  28. August 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    thts waaay too cute to eat :P

  29. yainea
    August 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Whoaaa! Those cupcakes are so cute! I love making cupcakes and I love Lawn Fawn stamps so could your inspiration be better? nope :) Thanks for sharing, awesome creations!

  30. August 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    So so so cutie mcCute. Just posted a link on edible crafts! :)

  31. August 30, 2011 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    I’m taking a Wilton decorating class, and I hope soon I’ll have beautiful cupcakes like you!

    Also, I’m passing the Versatile Blogger Award on to you. View the details at

  32. Marian
    August 30, 2011 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    @ Alicia (A Pinch of Sweet): Aw! Thanks so much!!

  33. August 30, 2011 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    These are just stunning! Is there a site in particular where you get your templates? Thanks for all the great tips and resources. I really enjoy your site and posts and aspire to be as good – in the near future!!

  34. Charlie Snowtooth
    August 30, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Love these cute little guys! Thanks Marian

  35. August 30, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    OK, I am a Lawn Fawn fan with many sets! AWESOME tutorial! I have done a similar thing using candy melts. SO darn cute! Found you via facebook!

  36. August 30, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Incredibly cute!

  37. Nora
    August 31, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Is it OK to use the royal icing toppers directly on top of buttercream when they are laying down? The toppers you used in this tutorial is standing up straight and therefore not exposed to the same amount of moisture as laying toppers would, and that is the reason I am asking. Is it a problem with the moisture? Will the royal icing toppers get ruined? Should I perhaps lay a thin layer of sugar paste underneath them?

  38. September 1, 2011 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    @ Nora: Yes, the buttercream will affect them over time. Check this post out where I discuss if you like;

  39. September 4, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    @ Jacquee: Oops, sorry Jacquee, didn’t see your comment until now. I get my inspiration from the world.. as in, I see the world in cookies! Lol. Stickers, stamping, paper, fabric, pictures… anything!

  40. September 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Funny how hazelnut is the perfect flavor for a hedgehog decorated cupcake. :) Love these! Those hedgehogs are just too adorable…beautifully done, as always! :)

  41. Love Is In The Details
    September 5, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    These are cuteness on turbo boost! Seriously I can’t get enough of these little guys :) I just love all of the decorating possibilities there are with RI / chocolate transfers, very cool. Now I need to dream up a reason to make these ;) Andrea

  42. Karen
    September 9, 2011 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian. Your “Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcake Recipe and Hedgehog Toppers” are the most adorable I have ever seen.

    I have a son who is obsessed with porcupines. I would love to have found this recipe a few weeks ago and tried these out for on his school classmates. Tomorrow is too soon.

    Do you by chance make these, sell and ship? Please email me and let me know. I can make the cupcakes, but I have no experience in the hedgehog area.

    Thanks for sharing such a fabulous recipe.

  43. September 14, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    @ Karen:
    SO sorry this took me so long to answer! My brother got married this past weekend and I’m just now catching up with emails, post answers etc.

    I very rarely do orders as I just don’t have the time, but if you click on the chocolate chip cookie (Cookie Decorator Directory), you’ll find people who work with royal icing, that you *may* be able to order from. I suggest looking for someone in your area, if possible, because the royal icing porcupines are fragile, and would be difficult to ship.

    Maybe even sharing the porcupine post with your local bakery?

    Hope that helps!

  44. fran N VA
    October 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Can you provide a link to the vanilla icing used with this recipe? Clicking on the hedgehog didn’t work for me.
    Also did you put Nutella in the batter as well as piped it in the cupcakes? Was that too much of a Nutella overload? Thanks

  45. marian
    October 25, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    @ fran N VA: Thanks for the heads-up on the link… I’ll go fix it, and in the meantime, here is the link:

    I’m Nutella crazy, so loved it, but whether or not it’s too much for you is personal opinion. You could try one with, one without, and decide.
    Have fun baking!

  46. Melissa
    August 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi. I tried your recipe twice. First time I thought maybe my baking soda was bad and I didn’t let the eggs and such thaw enough. Then today I made it again and it did the same thing. My middles sunk :( They taste REALLY good other that that. Are they suppose to do that? Any help will be appreciated.

  47. marian
    August 21, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Hi @ Melissa:
    They’re not the poofiest cupcakes for sure, so I don’t think you did anything wrong. They worked well for covering with icing though. Sorry, hope you still like them. xo

  48. Atalee
    November 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Why is sour cream used in chocolate recipes?

Show Pingbacks & Trackbacks

  1. By Mmmmm Hazelnut | Tickled Pink Cakery Blog on October 31, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    [...] 1. It gave me a chance to get back in the kitchen since my foot surgery and 2. I could try the Chocolate Hazelnut cupcake recipe I found at [...]

  2. [...] I looked for a template for my chosen shape – the hedgehogs – online and found this one here (it’s actually a pattern for an ultra-cute cupcake topper!). I cut out the upper and lower [...]

  3. [...] kind of hedgehog cartoon, then you just found the perfect cupcake for their birthday party. Source Sweetopia Share : Pin ItTweet Posted by Miss Cupcake in All Chocolate Cupcakes, Animal Cupcakes, Cupcake [...]

  4. [...] All cuteness in a cup where sugary hedgehogs top these chocolate cupcakes. The toppers taste of pure candy where they are made from royal icing. It goes well with the chocolate cupcake with a pinch of hazelnut. These cute hedgehogs cups has a sugary and chocolatey type of goodness that kids will love. If your kids love Sonic the hedgehog or any kind of hedgehog cartoon, then you just found the perfect cupcake for their birthday party. Source Sweetopia [...]

  5. [...] by admin All cuteness in a cup where sugary hedgehogs top these chocolate cupcakes. The toppers taste of pure candy where they are made from royal icing. It goes well with the chocolate cupcake with a pinch of hazelnut. These cute hedgehogs cups has a sugary and chocolatey type of goodness that kids will love. If your kids love Sonic the hedgehog or any kind of hedgehog cartoon, then you just found the perfect cupcake for their birthday party. Source Sweetopia [...]

  6. By Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcake on May 26, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    [...] source: [...]

  7. [...] I looked for a template for my chosen shape – the hedgehogs – online and found this one here (it’s actually a pattern for an ultra-cute cupcake topper!). I cut out the upper and lower [...]

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