For the cupcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter , softened to room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg , room temperature
1 to 2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
10 Ferrero Rocher
For the frosting:
1 cup (8 oz. or 225g) mascarpone cheese , at room temperature
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
4-6 Ferrero Rocher (optional), cut into small pieces or halved
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 10 muffin cups with cupcake liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the red food coloring and vanilla. In small bowl, combine buttermilk and vinegar.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix after each addition. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Lightly press a Ferrero Rocher candy into the center of each cupcake (it’s ok if you don’t cover it completely with batter). Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone cheese, whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with your desired pastry tip. Pipe frosting into a swirl on each cupcake and garnish with small pieces of Ferrero Rocher.