After a very busy week, a day in the kitchen was needed to relax and create something sweet. As the taste buds were craving chocolate and I had very ripe bananas, I decided to make chocolate banana cupcakes, a taste reminiscent of a February visit to Georgetown Cupcakes in Washington, DC. It would also allow the opportunity to try a bit of vanilla bean paste for the very first time. First time you say? I know! Can you believe it? All the baking I've done and never once have I used it.
This recipe is very easy to make and you will want to pat yourself on the back for a job well done. The batter is very runny but do not let that fool you. The cakes bake up large and extremely moist with the perfect mix of deep rich chocolate with a slight hint of banana. Incredible!
The Recipe: Chocolate-Banana Cupcakes:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder ( I used Hersheys)
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg (at room temp), beaten
1/2 c mashed banana (medium banana)
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray (preferably the paper liners). In medium mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In separate bowl combine egg, banana, water, oil and vanilla bean paste. pour wet ingredients into dry and mix well. Batter will be very runny. With spoon or medium ice cream scoop, pour batter into prepared tin 3/4 full. Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Rotate pan and bake remaining 10 minutes or until tooth pick tests clean. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup confectioner sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl (about 2 min-checking frequently) until melted. Let cool to room temp. Mix butter until creamy. Add sugar slowly and beat until smooth. Add vanilla and chocolate. Beat on medium high speed about 2-3 minutes until light and creamy. Place in pastry bag (or zip-loc bag with corner cut off) with star tip. Pipe onto cooled cakes.
Vanilla Bean Butter-cream Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
2 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1/2 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
Mix together all ingredients (if using a standing mixture- use whisk attachment) on medium-high speed until light and creamy. Recipe will make a large batch of icing. If icing is too “thin”, place in refrigerator for 10 minutes. As this is butter-based, the cold will “firm up” the butter! Left over frosting can be stored in an air-tight container in fridge for up to a week.
All the pictures that are included in this post are from my new site www.eatpicks.com . In a few weeks, all photos (and then some!) will be available to you through my gallery. More information will be announced here soon, or feel free to contact me by clicking the email button icon at the top of sidebar!