Banana Split Birthday Cupcakes

Sprinkles!  Cherries!  Rainbows and unicorns and buttercream frosting, oh my!  Banana Split Cupcakes-26

This is exactly how I would describe these delicate, moist and all-around perfect banana cupcakes that I made for my friend’s birthday.  She wanted anything but chocolate so I found something truly opposite of that.

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 I try not to put too much pressure on myself with catering for people, and I never over promise and under deliver, but this simply had to be done for one of my very special pals! Banana Split Cupcakes-28

Oh, and tons of eye candy alert.  This post included the most pictures I’ve done for a food shoot to date.  Yes, believe me.  They were just so beautiful, I couldn’t resist the model call.  So feast your eyes, and hopefully later, your face!

 

I borrowed this recipe from an awesome blog called bakersroyale.com, however I added some things, and took some others away.  I admit, this recipe is very involved, and takes lots of time and planning.

*Some special notes:  If you’re in a crunch, I recommend pre-making a few things the night before such as the custard filling, and the frosting.  And if you have a fridge big enough to fit a pan of cupcakes, cool them off that way to save time before frosting them.

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 You can also cut this recipe in half !  It makes about two dozen cupcakes! 

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In any event, I also admit that I need to work on my frosting skills, and I need to purchase some decent, reusable, silicone piping bags.  This will take time and practice.  But for only the second time frosting cupcakes without having ANY idea what I was doing, I don’t think they turned out too bad!  I have no problem making DELICIOUS, crowd-pleasing frosting, icing, and the like, but I need to practice making it look pretty, as well as making it thick enough to be able to stand up, cooperate, keep its color, and still taste good.

 It’s ART AND SCIENCE PEOPLE -BAKING IS HARD- NO JOKE!

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I never appreciated people in the food-making industry, (well, I did…) but not to the extent of when I tried making more complicated creations in the kitchen myself.  I hope you too can appreciate the work and effort put into something so pretty and so delicious.  Believe me they are worth the work!

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So without further blabbering on, here is the recipe for banana split cupcakes!

 

PS:  These cupcakes are a little more banana-bread like, than cake like.  Just so you know what to expect with the texture!  

You will need: 
Two medium mixing bowls

One large mixing bowl

An electric hand-held mixer and/or a stand mixer and glass mixing bowl

Wooden spoons

Rubber scraper

Metal or silicone whisk

Measuring spoons and cups

A food thermometer

A muffin tin

A flat baking tray/pan/cookie sheet

Cooking spray

Two medium saucepans or a double boiler ( I can’t hear these words without thinking of the lyrics from the song Wells Fargo Wagon in the musical, The Music Man!  “It could be curtains, or dishes, or a double boiler!…)

Ingredients for cupcakes: 

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour – *see note 
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup banana puree *(you can use a food processor or blender)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping: 

  • Nonpareil sprinkles
  • Maraschino cherries

*If you do not have self rising flour, you can make it yourself!  Here is the secret:  You add baking powder and salt to all purpose flour.  For every 1 cup of flour, you add 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder.  Be careful to scrape the excess powder off the top of your measuring spoon with the back of a butter knife.  Too much baking powder could make the cake stiff and alter the taste.

The exact measurements are as follows for self rising flour: 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 + 1/4 (or 3/4) teaspoons salt

1 1/2 + 3/4 (or 2 and 1/4) teaspoons salt

Directions for cupcakes: 

Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking tin with cupcake liners.  

Cover the liners lightly with cooking spray. 

  1. In a medium bowl, combine both flours and set aside.
  2. In the large bowl, cream the butter on medium speed with your electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy (About three minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one is added.  Set aside.

  3. In another bowl add the milk, banana puree, vanilla and almond extracts, and whisk to combine.

  4. Add the dry ingredients and wet ingredients a little at a time to the creamed butter mixture and continue to beat on low.  Do not over beat!  You may have to stop and start again with each addition. Use the rubber scraper to scrape down the ingredients on the side of the bowl.

  5. Fill the sprayed cupcake liners 3/4 full.  Do not overfill!  Insert a flat baking tray underneath the cupcake pan just in case you have some over-spillage.

  6. Bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick tester is inserted and comes out clean.

  7.  Cool cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes.  You can also cool them quicker by sticking them in the fridge, on a towel.

  8.  Remove the cupcakes from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Repeat with the second batch!

*Optional instructions for custard filling: 

When cakes are finished cooling, use a knife to cut out small circular wells in the center of the cakes.  Discard excess cake cut outs….or eat them while no one is looking 😉

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Ingredients for custard filling (optional*) : 

  • 1 ½ bananas
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • ½ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • ¼ salt

Directions for custard filling: 

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor bowl or blender and process to combine.
  • Pour mixture into a saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture starts to bubble.  Make sure to constantly whisk while cooking!   Continue to cook the mixture until it thickens, about 5-7 minutes, or until it coats the back of a spoon.

  • Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.  Set aside.

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    Ingredients for frosting:  (This is technically a Swiss-merengue buttercream frosting!) 

    • 5 large egg whites (use an egg separator if you have one, safe egg yolks for another recipe!)
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 4 sticks unsalted butter, diced and softened
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

    Directions for frosting: 

    1. Combine the egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. (Or in your double boiler)  Use your thermometer and bring the mixture to 150º F  while whisking constantly.
    2. Transfer the mixture to stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until the mixture cools and doubles in volume.
    3. Add the butter one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition.
  • Add salt, vanilla and almond extracts and mix to combine.   The frosting may appear to look separated but just keep mixing until it is fully combined!

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    Assembly: 

    After cupcakes have cooled as well as the banana custard, take a small spoon and fill the cupcake wells that you created earlier with the custard.  You may have more than you need even after filling 24 cupcakes.

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    Using a piping bag, fit it into a tall cup or glass and spoon the frosting into the bag.  Practice piping onto a piece of parchment if you wish, before piping onto cupcakes.

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    After frosting the cakes, cover generously with sprinkles and adorn with maraschino cherries.  Eat at once, or use a cupcake carrier to take to the party/church/teacher’s lounge of your choice.

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    Cupcakes also freeze nicely but make sure they’re covered to avoid that frost-bite flavor.

    Enjoy!  And let me know if you have any questions!

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    Irresistible!

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    Until next time…
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    -K


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