Cupcakes, inspired by Cupcakes!

by kellybakes in


If you don't get the reference, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.

Anyway, so two weekends ago, my summer dream came true when I chased down the elusive Philly Cupcake Truck. I had two cupcakes from Buttercream: one chocolate cupcake with peanut butter buttercream and one banana cupcake with nutella buttercream. When I tried them both, I smiled so much I had to close my eyes as to not distract my senses from the amazing taste I was experiencing. I needed more than a moment. I needed a few minutes.

Even though I told just about everyone I knew (and even people I didn't) about my epic quest, I still couldn't get those cupcakes out of my head. I frequently found myself in a silky buttercream frosting daze and the hum of my kitchenaid haunted my dreams. I was hopeless.... or so I thought.

When I got back from Ireland this summer, I brought back the usual souvenirs--Bailey's, Butler's and brown bread. I also came home with something unexpected: an attitude to conquer all my fears, especially those in baking. My new mantra had me thinking, "If you can dream it, you should bake it" and believe me, I have!

So I set out to replicate the delicate yet pungeantly banana flavored cupcakes I had been mentally savoring for days. I was skeptical that the recipe I was going to try would just turn into dry, dense banana muffins, not resembling my fluffy cupcake dream in the least. But, in lieu of my new take on baking, I fearlessly baked on...


Look at those hunks of banana and those beautiful vanilla bean specks!
While we're on the subject of bananas, I have to say that mashing bananas is not only therapeutic, but it's incredibly transformative. Take ugly, spotted ripe bananas, peel away the skin and watch as these pale, matte, bananas turn golden and shiny and release their sugary sweet flavor with every smash of a fork. I'm always amazed.

Soon after came the moment of truth. My cupcakes were out of the oven, lovely little yellow cakes flecked with a dusting of golden brown.

I would be lying to you if I told you I didn't try one at this point. I had to. The anticipation, the trepidation, the doubt was all too much to suppress during the ten minutes it would take to make the buttercream frosting. Ten minutes would be an eternity! And why bother with buttercream if the cupcakes are sub-par?
I was speechless when I tried the cupcake by itself. I was standing in my kitchen grinning like an idiot at 11:30 on a Thursday night. All those doubts I had? Gone. Even the dream of banana nutella bliss was thrown out of my head with this naked cupcake alone. I couldn't wait to make the frosting.

(It's called buttercream for a reason...)


Silky smooth and super simple to make. Swiss meringue buttercream with 5T Nutella added.
(who am I kidding? More like 7 tbsp, but who's counting?)



et voila! easily the tastiest cupcake I have ever made.

Cupcakes (from Bon Appétit  | April 2010 as seen on epicurious.com):
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe large bananas, peeled
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

For cupcakes:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 12 standard (1/3-cup) muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Mash bananas with fork in another medium bowl until smooth. Mix sour cream and vanilla into bananas.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk and beat until well blended. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with banana-sour cream mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until blended after each addition. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups (generous 1/4 cup for each).

Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center of each comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack and let cool completely.

 

Nutella Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
(adapted from nutellaforum.com - who knew such a heavenly site existed?)

Ingredients:
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
250g butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons Nutella

Directions:
1. Combine the egg whites and sugar into a heatproof bowl and whisk over a saucepan of simmering water until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is as hot as you can get it without the egg whites cooking.
2. With the whisk attachment on your mixer whisk the egg white and sugar mixture on high speed until a stiff meringue is formed and the mix has cooled down to room temperature.
3. Put the paddle attachment on your mixer and with the mixer on a low speed add a tablespoon or two of butter at a time. Once all the butter is incorporated turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix until the mixture is light and fluffy again.
4. Add the vanilla extract, almond essence, and Nutella, and mix on medium speed until the frosting is a good piping texture.

(I should also mention that the frosting makes an excellent filling for macarons, but more on that later...)