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Back to School Banana Cupcakes

Without a doubt the best cupcake that I know how to make, and arguably the best cupcake I know to eat, is this banana cupcake with cream cheese frosting. Now I realize that this is some BIG TALK. In the last couple of years cupcakes seem to have gone from fad to institution, arguably replacing apple pie as America’s favorite dessert, but unfortunatey they’re not always that good. Dry cake, thin frosting…kids will eat them, but will you? This is where the humble, magical, banana comes in: lender of moistness and deliciousness and goodness. And if you ever wanted to know what to do with those dark brown and spotty ones languishing in your fruit bowl, this is it: I first made these on a snow day but they work just as well as a an after school treat to celebrate the beginning of a long year…and I know you hear this all the time but yes, they’re also super easy to make:

Go HERE to check out the entire process of how I whip them up, and beow is the recipe, which I can’t really take credit for because it was inspired by one in The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco:

Back to School Banana Cupcakes

To start you will need two very ripe bananas which need to be mashed up in a bowl with a fork. The banana is smashed—a good job for a destructive 2-year old boy—and added to a batter which includes:
-3/4 cup of sugar
-1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil ( I always have a bottle of this, it is great for when you need a light, almost flavorless oil)
whisk the above ingredients together and then add:
-1 and 1/2 smashed ripe banana
-1 large egg
-1 large egg yolk
-1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk (I didn’t have any so I substituted by mixing 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
-3/4 tsp vanilla extract
whisk all of these ingredients to combine, and then in another bowl sift together:
-1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
-3/4 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp kosher salt
With a whisk mix the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined.
You will need a regular sized, 12 muffin tin. Put a paper insert in each and fill with the batter to about 3/4 full–a great job for a six year old.
Who was then rewarded by getting to lick the mixer whisk.
Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 350, making sure to turn the tin half-way through baking. Put the finished cupcakes on a wire rack and make sure they’re completely cool before frosting.
I love a good cream cheese frosting and it’s easier than making buttercream: 12oz of softened cream cheese (I’m partial to Temp-tee, it’s whipped!), 6 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter, and vanilla mixed together until smooth, and then gradually add a cup of sifted confectioner’s sugar.
And then of course there are rainbow sprinkles–there has to be sprinkles.

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