I haven’t felt as inspired in the kitchen lately. I could blame it on many different factors.... going out of town... lack of energy while still recovering from sickness... starting an exciting new adventure... the busy-ness of life in general... My poor camera hadn’t been touched in a couple weeks, nor have I been keeping up with my writing (or, for that matter, the dishes that continually pile up in the kitchen)....
But, I did make a particularly fabulous batch of banana cupcakes last weekend that were too good not to share! They were for the birthday party of a friend who loves banana bread, so the leap to banana cupcakes seemed like a no-brainer.
The cupcakes were topped with cream cheese icing & garnished with a banana chip. Funny story with the banana chip garnish idea.... I made the cupcakes & frosting sort of last minute, and in my haste to get them wrapped to take to the birthday party, plastic wrap fell into the soft icing tops of a couple cupcakes :( But then I remembered a stash of Trader Joe’s banana chips in my pantry. I brought those along to the party & added them as garnish on the top. Suddenly, no one was noticing the slightly marred icing :)
But let’s be honest, most people at the birthday party were more interested in tasting the cupcakes than looking at them. The flavor was spectacular! Cream cheese and banana are a perfect pairing. A couple people even said it was perhaps their favorite cupcake ever--those words do tend to make a pastry person feel pretty good :)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to replenish my now depleted supply of frozen ripe bananas.
adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
115g (1/2 c or 1 c) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
100 g (1/2 c) Brown Sugar
150 g (3/4 c) Granulated Sugar
3 large Eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 c mashed very ripe bananas (for me, that was 5 medium bananas, or just shy of 400 g)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
250 g (2 c) AP Flour (or substitute Jeanne’s GF AP mix, if wanting to make them GF)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1/2 c Buttermilk (or 1/2 c milk mixed with 1/2 Tbl lemon juice)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two cupcake pans with 18 liners & set aside. (see note below)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars. Mix on medium speed until well combined, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Mash the banana in a small bowl (I use my fingers, or a fork). Add the bananas to the mixing bowl, along with the vanilla extract, and mix on low speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl & mix on low speed until just barely combined. Add the milk and mix again on low speed until just barely combined--it’s ok if the batter is lumpy.
- Portion the cupcakes into the prepared liners.
- Bake for 17 to 19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into one of the middle cupcakes comes out clean. The second pan may take a few extra minutes (mine took about 22).
- Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before icing.
- While the original recipe yields 18 cupcakes, I found mine to be a little shorter than I would have liked. Next time, I will plan to make only 16.
- It would be super easy to make these cupcakes gluten free, by substituting your favorite cup-for-cup/ounce-for-ounce GF AP flour blend... My go-to blend is Jeanne’s GF AP Flour Mix.
- I have only tested the recipe by weights, but have included volumetric amounts for those who do not bake by weight.
- If you don’t have overripe bananas available (I usually keep a stash of bananas in my freezer), use this tip from Thefauxmartha to roast bananas first.
Cream Cheese Icing
adapted from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook
8 oz (1 c) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
16 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste (or substitute extract)
24 oz (6 c) Confectioners Sugar, sifted if lumpy
Banana Chips, optional, for decoration
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, or until well combined & lighter in volume.
- Sift the confectioners sugar, if it is lumpy. Once the butter/cream cheese/vanilla mixture is done, add the sugar & mix on low speed until combined. Then, increase the speed to medium and mix for an additional 5 to 7 minutes.
- Place the finished icing into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (I used an Ateco 808).
- Pipe icing onto the top of each cooled cupcake and garnish with a banana chip, stuck into the top of the icing.
- Store leftover icing in the refrigerator. Decorated cupcakes may be stored at room temp or in the refrigerator for a couple days, though the banana chips might become soggy. Allow cupcakes to come to room temperature before serving.
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