Friday, March 5, 2010

banana cupcakes - for the banana in my life

banana cupcakes w/ chocolate frosting - 26One of my darling cousins was coming to visit me on her Spring Break at college. I love her dearly, and being I haven't seen her in more than a year, I was extremely excited to see her again. I felt a little baking would be the perfect welcoming present for her (especially since she was unfamiliar to my new baking-self). Her nickname is banana, because it rhymes (sort of) with her name. Going along with that theme, I figured I'd bake some banana cupcakes for her. I knew I was taking a risk baking banana-anything (because I can never get anything tasty out of these damn fruits), but I figured why not- She'd still love me anyways.

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I have tons and tons of frozen bananas in my freezer (my roommates tend to forget about their bananas and let them spoil, so I wrap them up and freeze them).

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Before I started baking these, I made sure that I found a recipe for banana cupcakes, and not banana muffins. I wanted these to turn out like regular cupcakes, but with a subtle hint of banana.

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They came out looking pretty good I must say, although I didn't know what they tasted like. The recipe only make 11 cupcakes, and that was the exact amount of cupcakes I needed in order to spell out her name.

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While the cupcakes cooled, I prepared the chocolate frosting. The website I got the cupcakes from (Martha Stewart) used a Honey-Cinnamon Frosting, but I decided to scratch that idea and go with a more ordinary flavor.

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The buttercream frosting was gently slathered on, and then the lettering was piped on top with a darker chocolate frosting.

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Okay, so they definitely looked adorable, but would my lovely cousin think they tasted as good as they looked?

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Only once she got to witness the arrangement and the beauty of my cupcakes, was I able to have my first bite.

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We both uniformly agreed that these were indeed not good cupcakes. Essentially they were banana muffins that were impersonating cupcakes- which was not cool in my book.

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However, there was one good thing that came out of this cupcake catastrophe- The chocolate buttercream frosting. My boyfriend (who claims to be anti-chocolate) can even attest to this frosting- it was creamy and smooth, not heavy at all, and had a pleasant flavor of chocolate. Most of the cupcakes were licked clean by myself, and then promptly thrown in the garbage.

Taken from Martha Stewart.

1+1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1+1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas)
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.
3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Spread tops with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting. Just before serving, peel and slice banana into rounds, and place one on each cupcake, if desired.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Taken from Joy the Baker.

1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup Ovaltine (omitted, because I don't even know what Ovaltine is.)

1. Cream together butter, cocoa powder and salt. Butter mixture will be very thick. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add powdered sugar. Turn mixer on low and mix in powdered sugar while adding milk and vanilla extract. As the sugar incorporates, raise the speed of the mixer to beat the frosting. Beat until smooth. In a 2 cup measuring glass, stir together heavy cream and Ovaltine. Turn mixer speed to medium and pour cream mixture into frosting in a slow, steady stream, until you’ve reached your desired consistency. You may not need the full amount of Ovaltine and cream.

I think this makes frosting for about 4 dozen cupcakes, which is why I one-fourthed the enormous recipe.

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