These came about by beautiful accident. I have been waiting and waiting for an excuse to make brown sugar buttercream. And not because I sneak the occasional spoonful of brown sugar for a pick me up (yeah, the big spoon)… But being that it’s not the crunchy leaf, cool breeze time of year when sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and pretty much anything served with a dash of spice finds its way onto our tables (and into our
hearts bellies), I kept deciding and re-deciding what it was that would be more sweat-out-of-your-clothes season appropriate. So that left me with apple or banana. And I ran across so many maple icing recipes out there on the world wide web that I couldn’t make apple cupcakes with anything else. So banana it was! And then I set out to figure out some way to make sure they weren’t banana muffins or banana bread. This is more of a vanilla bean cupcake which happens to have lumps of banana in it for one reason or another, topped with my crossbred version of brown sugar icing which happens to have cream cheese in it for one reason or another, topped with toasted coconut curls for one reason or another (>cough< it’s pretty and white and makes my house smell good). And after all this, the recipe was a hit. My toughest critics ooh-ed and ahh-ed and “wow! Can I get the recipe”-ed me. But for me the best part is it qualifies as breakfast. Bananas. It’s fruit ; )
banana bean cupakes
modified from Hello Cupcake
|1 2/3||cups all purpose flour|
|1||tsp baking powder|
|½||tsp baking soda|
|3||medium bananas (yellow with a touch of green, unless you want a more banana bread flavor, then go brownish)|
|1||stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter, softened|
|1||vanilla bean, cut with the seeds removed (or 1 tsp vanilla extract if you don’t have one)|
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line muffin cups with liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, peel and finely chop the bananas (mash if the mood strikes you) and combine with the buttermilk, mixing well.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed. Add the vanilla bean seeds, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Reduce to low and add flour and banana mixtures, alternating between the two and starting and ending with the dry mixture.
- Put the batter unto a large ziploc bag and snip the corner large enough to allow the bananas to pass easily. Fill the liners 2/3rds full—batter makes plenty of cupcakes (around 60 minis from experience).
- Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes for regular cupcakes, or 10-12 minutes for minis. Remove and place on cooling racks to allow them to cool completely before icing.
- Top with toasted coconut if desired. Spread a layer of coconut on a baking sheet and pop into the oven before turning it off after the cupcakes. Give it about 5 minutes and it will be lightly toasted—and your home will smell delicious!
brown sugar cream cheese icing
my own concontion, a compilation of many
|1||8 oz package of cream cheese, softened|
|4||tbsp unsalted butter, softened|
|1¼||cups brown sugar|
|2||cups powdered sugar|
|½||tsp vanilla extract|
- Beat the cream cheese and butter on medium high until well mixed. Add the vanilla, beating until well mixed.
- Slowly incorporate the brown sugar into the mixture, beating on low. Then add the powdered sugar and cornstarch and continue on low until fully incorporated.
- Beat on high until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. This consistency made the perfect piped swirl–very firm for a cream cheese icing. The cornstarch is there to absorb the extra moisture in the brown sugar (thanks smittenkitchen!), so that helps stabilize things a bit too. I added powdered sugar until I liked the consistency but didn’t loose the brown sugar taste, which ended up being 2 cups.
- Put icing into a ziploc bag and fit with a tip or just snip a corner. If you are going to cover it with a pile of toasted coconut, who cares what it looks like underneath (though I did pipe it and again, it was nice and smooth and kept its shape–hooray!).