Banana Chocolate (and Spice) Cupcakes


Sorry it has been so long. I dunno, I guess I have just been lazy. This is more of a post on how NOT to make these cupcakes. Everything was going hunky dory until I misread the important wee bit of info regarding the baking powder. Turns out it was 1 TABLESPOON not 1 teaspoon. So my lovely fluffy cupcakes to be turned out as little runt cakes that were about as flat as my chest (which is VERY flat haha). Anyway they still tasted mighty fine so I decided to go ahead and write up this post. Haha thank goodness I didn't make the black bottomed cheesecake cupcakes tonight. That would have been tragic had I ruined good cheesecake. Since dear Jamal isn't around this weekend to consume cheesecakey things I decided to do these ones instead. Thanks Jamal for sort of helping me avoid cheesecake CATASTROPHE!!

As per usual I got the recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (I have my cakelet eye on their Cake Days one - oh it looks amazing!).

They called these Banana and Chocolate Cupcakes, but the only chocolate in them is from the icing and I was surprised to find that there was ginger and cinnamon in the recipe. I think they would be more accurately called banana spice cupcakes. For the chocolate icing, I just made a normal butter cream (with not that much butter really) and mixed in around 1 1/2 teaspoons of ginger and maybe 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon into it. It gives the chocolate this lovely warming sensation, just like ginger chocolate. Do it :)

So you will need:

120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 TABLESPOON baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
80g butter at room temperature (they say unsalted and then include a pinch of salt in the recipe - I don't have unsalted so I just use normal and then exclude the pinch)
120ml whole milk
2 eggs
120g mashed banana

Chocolate icing (with another 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground ginger and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon added if you wish)

A few words on bananas. The browner the bananas the better. The blacker the bananas are, technically the riper they are. Ripe bananas (ie when they fall off the tree) are black. The starches in the flesh have been broken down into their simpler sugar constituents resulting in a more caramelised, sweeter baked result. Bananas are a climateric, ethylene dependent fruit. To speed up the browning process either throw your bananas around about an hour before you need them (against a wall works well) or pop them in a paper bag with half a cut apple. The bruising causes the production of ethylene (the ripening hormone) which speeds up the process of ripening. Apples are naturally high ethylene producers so their ethylene can be used to ripen other fruits as well. Make sense? Or you could just hide a few bananas behind your couch for a week. That too would make good black banana . . .

Anyway  . . . the method:

(Makes 16)

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees on bake.

In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until combined.

Sieve in the flour, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon then mix until a sandy consistency is reached. Make sure you scrape down the edges of the bowl with a spatula regularly though the batter making process.

Slowly pour in the milk, beating well until it is all combined and the mixture is smooth.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating until they are well incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Remember to scrape those edges.

Stir in the mashed banana using a spoon.

Spoon the mixture into patty cases until they are two thirds full.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown on top and the sponge bounces back when touched.

Leave the cupcakes to cool in the muffin tray for a few minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack or clean tea towel.

Once the cupcakes are completely cool, whip up your chocolate icing (75g softened butter, 250g (ish) icing sugar, 100g (I think) of cocoa, a few tablespoons of boiling water and a teaspoon or two of ginger and a teaspoon of cinnamon). Either ice them using a palate knife, butter knife or pipe the icing on using a nozzle and bag.


 The method in pictures for all you visual learners out there . . .

Ok children, so caster sugar and butter. Go!

Beat until it looks like this.

Oh dear, the egg went for a bit of a wander . . .

So sieve in your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon).

Beat until a sandy consistency is achieved.

Like this :)

I have started making up milk powder milk. I know it sounds gross (it does smell odd I have to admit) but lovely my flattie Alix and I consume a vast (I mean VAST) quantity of custard at very odd times of the night. We go through a lot of milk between the three of us (Lucy sometimes joins us on our late night custardapades) and I figured if we make the custard up with milk powder milk we a) wont taste the milk powder and b) save $1 per litre of milk we use. I figure I can also use it in baking, it has the same solids content as fresh milk. All milk powder is is fresh milk that has been homogenised, pasteurised (like fresh milk) and then spray dried. I have started to get used to it. I even had it over my cereal at lunchtime (haha slash managed to drink a litre of it in the last 24 hours).

What are we doing again? Ah right, adding the 120ml (aka half a cup) of  milk. Add it slowly and beat until the batter is smooth and starts to fluff up.

Next beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat until they are well incorporated and the mixture is . . . you guessed it . . . smooth!

Next the gross bit. Mashed banana *shudder* I hate the stuff. It activates my gag reflex. It is all right in cake though. Actually it is excellent in cake. Excuse the 10g too many of banana.

Mash up the banana and then mix it gently into the batter.

Spoon into the patty cases until two thirds full.

Pop these in the oven for around 20 minutes (or until they are golden brown etc etc you know the drill).

If you have any bananas that are looking a bit sad, peel them, pop them in a snap lock bag and then freeze them. Next time you want to make banana cake/loaf/cupcakes, just whip these bad boys out and you will have instant mushy banana. Just a word of warning, they will go really black and gloopy looking. Why all the better for baking with! They are safe to eat don't worry :) They have just undergone cellular damage during the freezing process (oh god I am a nerd).

Haha remember how I said I didn't put the right amount of baking powder in? These looked fine when they first came out of the oven but as they cooled they started to sink. They sunk until the tops were wrinkled like cerebral cortex. Lovely.

Icing time!

I used a 1M nozzle. But just ignore the poor icing effort. I was disheartened by my brain looking dense cakes so I didn't put any effort into piping them into a nice ruffley swirl.

Oh yeah, then I dropped my camera into one of them :( Shot Sophie.

So there you go :)

They were actually really tasty. I love the ginger in the icing. Next time I will remember to put the right amount of baking powder in haha as these were very cakey and squidgy not light and airy. If at first you do not succeed . . . hide all evidence that you tried :) so I am in the process of mass cupcake consumption.

catch you later alligators!