Banana Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes45

Posted by chockylit in Bananas,Chocolate,Experimental Recipe (Sunday February 11, 2007 at 12:52 pm)

banana boston cream cupcakes topped with a caramelized banana chips

First off, picking one of the 60 plus cupcake recipes to try from the round-up was difficult. Ultimately I was somewhat overwhelmed and just decided to go with what I was craving at the time – Boston Cream Cupcakes. I was also in the mood for bananas and added some fresh, chopped up banana to the pastry cream. As expected, the cupcakes were immensely satisfying. But then again, I am in the throes of pregnancy, so my opinion is a little bit suspect.

I also took this opportunity to experiment with vanilla cupcake recipes. If you recall from a couple posts ago, I have been comparing a bunch of vanilla cupcake recipes and I was eager to get started with testing.

Martha Versus Amy

martha versus amy martha versus amy

The Results

Martha’s cupcakes were extremely dense, but not dry. They were so dense; it was almost like biting into meat (ok, I exaggerate slightly). Flavor-wise, they weren’t terribly interesting. Ultimately this was ok in this recipe, as the banana pastry cream and chocolate ganache definitely made up for the flavorless cake. The recipe was very accurate and the cake very cooperative. As advertised, I got exactly 12 cupcakes out of the batch and she was specific as to how full I should fill the papers. They rose perfectly to a dome (preferred by some) and I had no trouble with them as far as mixing, baking, filling, and frosting go. The end result looked the best and I ended up taking these to the dinner party and not Amy’s.

Final word: I could see where this would be the best recipe when you want that perfectly round and flat cake (for example for a wedding cake) and don’t mind compromising on flavor and texture.

martha's cupcakes
martha’s perfect domes

Amy’s cupcakes were less dense, had a tastier, more vanilla flavor and were also not dry. The crumb was more delicate and the experience was more like biting into actual cake than Martha’s. However, the recipe was inaccurate and the cake less cooperative. The recipe also specified 12 cupcakes and did not suggest how full to fill the papers. I got far more than 12 cupcakes out of the batch and ended filling them too full (slightly over 3/4s full) attempting to follow the recipe without adjusting for experience. A lot of the cupcakes overflowed and a few sank a bit. These were a lot harder to fill and frost, because of the unevenness of the end result. I am certain, however, that with proper filling (I would recommend between 2/3s and 3/4s full), they would come out fine and would be a far tastier alternative.

Final word: Overall a much more enjoyable eating experience. For cupcakes or any situation where something can be imperfect, these would be my preferred choice.

amy's cupcakes

As you know, I use the Magnolia recipe quite a bit. Magnolia’s texture is somewhere in the middle… denser than Amy’s but not as dense as Martha’s. They can also be uncooperative, but I find the flavor very buttery and delicious. Someone left a comment on a prior post of mine that uses the Magnolia recipe and the person said that “These are like wedding cake–dense and bland.” and I couldn’t disagree more. I think Martha’s recipe could be described as that, but I can also see why and when the recipe would come in handy.

The Recipes

Vanilla Cupcakes from Martha Stewart
12 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ cup milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; scrape down bowl, and beat in vanilla.
3. Add flour mixture and milk alternatively, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
4. Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners, about three-quarters full each. Bake until golden and tops spring back to touch, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer pans to wire rack; cool completely.

Vanilla Cupcakes from Amy Sedaris
12 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1½ sticks unsalted butter
1¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
2½ teaspoons baking powder
2½ cups flour
1¼ cups milk

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
2. In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
3. Beat in eggs, vanilla, salt and baking powder.
4. Add flour in 3 batches, alternating with milk.
5. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds or until mixture is smooth and satiny.
6. Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean.
7. Cool on wire rack for 45 minutes or until at room temperature.

Note: This recipe makes more than 12 cupcakes (maybe around 16). Be careful to fill only 2/3s to 3/4s full so they don’t overflow.

Banana Pastry Cream

2 cups Whole milk
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg yolks
¼ cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
2 bananas, medium sized

1. Heat milk, ¼ cup of the sugar, the vanilla, and salt in a pan over medium until it reaches a simmer,
2. Whisk egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining ¼ cup sugar in a medium sized bowl until combined.
3. Slowly add ½ cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture, whisking continuously.
4. Add remaining milk mixture slowly while whisking.
5. Transfer back into the pan and heat over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until it thickens. It will thicken all of a sudden, give it a good whisk then take it off the heat.
6. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer, add the butter, and with a paddle attachment beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
7. Transfer to a bowl, cover will plastic wrap touching the cream, and refrigerate until cool, hour or so. This can be made a day in advance.
8. Chop two fresh bananas into small chunks and fold into the pastry cream before using.

Chocolate Ganache

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Chop chocolates and transfer into a heat proof bowl.
2. Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate.
3. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
4. Add butter and vanilla and stir until all chocolate is melted and combined. If the chocolate won’t completely melt, place bowl over a water bath to finish the job.
5. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixture and let cool for 10 minutes.
6. Sift powdered sugar into the mixture and beat until combined.
7. Continue to beat with an electric mixer until lighter in color and creamy.
8. Transfer to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Note: I had plenty of pastry cream and chocolate ganache for all the cupcakes with a little bit left over.

1. Using a small pairing knife, cut off the top of the cupcake in the shape of a cone. Flip the top over and cut off the cone.
2. Fill the cavity with the banana pastry cream.
3. Replace the top of the cone.
4. Scoop a tablespoon of ganache on top of each cupcake.
5. The ganache will be very thick. I dip a small palette knife in very hot water, dry with a cloth, and then smooth down ganache.
6. I topped these cupcakes with caramelized banana disks.

hot water and a small palette knife does the trick

Banana Cupcakes, a Few Ways33

Posted by chockylit in Bananas,Cheese,Chocolate,Experimental Recipe,Nuts,Spices (Sunday April 23, 2006 at 5:59 pm)

I had request for cupcakes this weekend. They had to be good for breakfast (muffins) and have banana in them. I didn’t want to make a muffin, so I stuck with a cupcake recipe and planned to go light on the frosting. I made two attempts (two full attempts, but a total of three different recipes) and I am not 100% happy with any of them. I will print the best of the recipe bases, but the base recipe needs work. The cupcakes tasted yummy, but the texture was too dense, hence why it needs work.

The combination most appropriate for breakfast is the pecan-cinnamon. The yummiest (in my book anyway) was the macadamia-white chocolate. I didn’t like the pistachio so much. I don’t blame it on the pistachio, but on the recipe…

Mise En Place for Fillings
I made a few flavor combinations – toasted pecan and cinnamon, macadamia nut and white chocolate, and pistachio and cardamom.

1/3 cup pecans, toasted 5 minutes at 350 degrees, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/4 cup white chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup pistachios, shelled & chopped
1 teaspoon cardamom

1. Prepare all the fillings and set aside.

Banana Cupcakes
makes 22-24 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium bananas
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
2. With a blender or food processor, blend banana and buttermilk until the banana is broken up.
3. In another bowl, combine banana/buttermilk, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla.
4. Fold dry mixture into the wet mixture.
5. Divide batter into three bowls. In one bowl, fold in toasted pecans and cinnamon. In the second bowl, fold in macadamia nuts and white chocolate. In the third bowl, fold in pistachios and cardamom.
6. Scoop out into cupcake papers.
7. Bake at 350 degree oven for ~20-22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (start checking after 20 minutes).

baked cupcakes

Thick Cream Cheese Frosting

6 ounces or 3/4 package of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4-5 cups sifted powdered sugar

1. Bring butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours.
2. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment.
3. Beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy.
4. Add half of the sugar. Beat until combined.
5. Gradually add remaining sugar (more if you have to) until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like. For this recipe, I was going for a very thick frosting.

scooping frosting

1. Scoop a bit of frosting on to each cooled cupcake.
2. Smooth frosting into a thin layer.
3. Top with caramelized banana disks, white chocolate dipped macadamia nuts, whatever you please…

I don’t have many pictures as I had a guest over while I was baking. My guest was a fellow baking enthusiast who I met through the blog. She is a caterer and cooking instructor in the bay area. She is mid-remodel and wanted to see what I had done. She brought delicious Vietnamese sandwiches. It was great to share tips. I am going to try some out in the weeks to come.

Peanut Butter-Banana Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Glaze and a Caramelized Banana Disk23

Posted by chockylit in Bananas,Chocolate,Nuts (Sunday August 21, 2005 at 1:02 pm)

I actually forgot an ingredient in the cupcake recipe (!), the baking soda… Regardless, the result was a rich, cocoa flavored cupcake with subtle banana and peanut butter flavors and a very fine texture. The baking soda would have altered the texture and most likely would have given it more crumb. I think I would have preferred it that way, but my husband insists they were great and kept eating the unfrosted ones before I could get the frosting done. (There was a couple of botched caramel frosting experiments, hence why the cupcakes didn’t get frosted until the next day.)

I am not 100% sold on the cupcake recipe, but I like the flavor combination and want to work on something similar, but perhaps with a fudgey texture. The other components, however, worked out fine.

Peanut Butter Filling
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 egg

1. mix brown sugar, peanut butter, and egg in a small bowl and set aside

24 cupcakes / 350 degree oven
11 tablespoons unsalted butter
9 ounces best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
5 ounces best-quality bitter-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1-1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
[1/4 teaspoon baking soda]
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 medium banana)

1. melt butter and semi-sweet chocolate over a bain marie
2. whisk together eggs and sugar
3. add flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, mix to combine
4. add melted chocolate/butter mixture, mix to combine
5. stir in mashed banana
6. fill cupcake tins about 1/3 full, drop a teaspoon of peanut butter mixture into each tin, top off with cupcake batter to about 2/3’s full
7. bake for ~20 minutes or until a crust forms on the cupcakes

chopping chocolate

peanut butter filling

Caramel Glaze
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons half and half
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. in a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter
2. add milk and brown sugar, stir to combine
3. boil vigorously for 1 minute
4. remove from heat and beat in 1/2 cup powdered sugar
5. cool slightly then and beat in the vanilla and remaining powdered sugar, add more half in half if necessary
6. quickly spoon over cupcakes before glaze sets

drizzling glaze

Caramelized Banana Disks
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium ripe banana, sliced into disks

1. melt butter in a skillet over medium heat
2. carefully add banana disks and let caramelize slowly until brown and crispy (but not burnt)
3. flip with two forks, continue cooking the other side
4. top glazed cupcakes with the banana disks

caramelizing banana disks

finished product

Printable, PDF-version of the recipe.

Baking Fun: Hummingbird Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting30

Posted by chockylit in Bananas,Nuts,Simple Recipe,Tropical Fruits (Monday March 28, 2005 at 3:15 pm)

I made these bad boys yet again. It’s probably the 20th time. They are simply one of my favorite non-chocolate cupcakes. “Hummingbird cake”, from what I understand, is a southern recipe. I have seen the recipe around. Martha Stewart had it in her magazine. I forget when… I got the recipe I use from the internet. I don’t remember where from as I copied it down a long time ago.

Seeing as I can’t find the recipe and all the others I have found have twice the oil, I will go ahead and reprint what I have.

Hummingbird Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 8oz can crushed pineapple, with liquid
2 mashed bananas
1 cup coursely chopped pecans

1. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt with a whisk in a good sized bowl.
2. Beat eggs.
3. Add oil and vanilla to beaten eggs and mix until somewhat combined.
4. Add egg/oil/vanilla mixture to flour/sugar/baking soda/cinnamon/salt mixture.
5. Mix together pineapple, bananas, pecans until combined.
6. Add to the rest of ingredients and stir to combine.

Bake at 350 degrees for ~25 minutes until golden and a cake tester comes out clean. I top these off with the cream cheese frosting recipe from the Buttercup Bakeshop book.

finished product

dry, wet, and chunky