I had a long discussion the other day with a friend about how cupcakes and adorable cupcake shops have become really popular. We wondered if cupcake shops were the new frozen yogurt. (Which before that frozen yogurt was the new marble slab ice cream shop which was the new krispy kreme donut which was the new coffee shop which I think was actually the new frozen yogurt shop from the first time around, etc). This made us worry that our cupcake trend would shortly be going away. (It is good to know that with mounting national debt, health care debate worries, and double digit nationwide unemployment, we can still find time to talk about really important things.)
But I do not think cupcakes are going any where. One of the things I think is great about a cupcake is that it allows experimentation with flavors that would really not work on a whole cake. As exhibit A, I submit this banana cupcake with peanut butter frosting. It is just enough without being cloying or overwhelming. As with cupcakes in general, it hits that great nostalgic note.
The cupcake recipe is from Martha Stewart. The frosting is from Ina Garten. Ina's original recipe was to put the peanut butter frosting on chocolate cupcakes. A grand idea. I think it found it's true match with the banana cupcakes. When I proposed the combination to my husband he shrugged his shoulders in disinterest. However, the next day, he ate four of them. Long live the cupcake !
Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
makes 28 cupcakes
3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
3 large eggs
4 very ripe large bananas, mashed (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 350 degress. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
2) Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl: cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix the following wet ingredients together: mashed bananas, buttermilk and vanilla.
3) Cream butter and brown sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
4) Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
5) Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Cupcakes with keep, covered, for up to 3 days.
Kathleen's Peanut Butter Frosting
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
1) Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
2) Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work.
3) Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.
4) Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.