Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Use-Up-The-Ripe-Bananas Cupcakes
with Fresh Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
or Peanut Butter and Chopped Peanuts Frosting

Is it just me, or do most people buy too many bananas (well, they come in a bunch) causing some to sit around the kitchen becoming very ripe and no longer pretty on the outside, but wonderfully flavorful and sweet on the inside?  One son-in-law thinks that very ripe, sweet bananas have gone rotten--all those black spots-- and won't touch banana bread or banana desserts...bananas with black anything, in his view, are way past their prime and way ready for the trash.

One of my favorite uses for these bananas that would find their way into the trash tomorrow is to bake cupcakes, which, with this recipe, are more like muffins topped with a dollop of flavorful  frosting added to their tops.

This recipe yields 12-14 regular sized cupcakes.

First, in a mixer bowl with a paddle attachment cream together:
1 stick butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar

When this mixture is smooth and fluffy add:
2 large room temperature eggs

Then add 2 or 3 (I go with 3) very ripe bananas broken into large chunks.  Mix 2 minutes, making sure the banana pieces have distributed well into the mixture with no large chunks remaining.

Now, add 1/4 cup of a  liquid sugary ingredient such as honey or light corn syrup or real maple syrup, depending on your tastes and what is in your pantry.

Next, add 1/4 cup of plain or vanilla yogurt or buttermilk.

Now choose a flavor booster such as vanilla extract, banana flavor, or rum, and add ½ to 1 teaspoon of your flavor choice.

This mixture may look curdled and due to the banana chunks it will be lumpy...not a pretty batter, but this is all how it should be.

In a separate medium size bowl whisk together: (You can do this while above is mixing or at the beginning of the cupcake making process, and set aside.)

2 1/3 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Now, preheat your oven to 350^ and line your cupcake pan with papers.  You are ready to add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixer bowl.  Beat these ingredients together until all are well incorporated, but don’t over beat.  2 minutes of mixing is long enough, with a break to scrape down the bowl sides at about 1 minute.

It is easiest to use an ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake liners.  You will want to fill them 3/4 full.  Bake these cupcakes for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean and the tops are golden brown.

When done, remove from oven to a wire rack and remove the cupcakes from the pans after 2 minutes.  If the cupcakes are allowed to completely cool in the pan, their bottoms may become soggy.

When the cupcakes are completely cool, make the frosting and pipe a swirl on each.

Frosting ideas:

1.    Peanut Butter Frosting:

In the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment place:
3/4 Cup peanut butter–I like chunky, but creamy is OK
2 Cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ Cup whole milk or cream or any milk will do...but creamy milk is best.

Beat all together...may need a tad more milk to create a good piping consistency.  In dry AZ I usually need more liquid.  (Piping is not necessary, can frost with a knife or spatula.)

After piping onto cupcake tops, garnish tops with chopped salted, roasted peanuts.  (Again any peanuts will do such as honey peanuts...whatever you have or like best.)

These cupcakes keep well for 3 days in an air-tight container.  If you keep them in the fridge, they will be good for an extra 2 days.
This frosting also works well with chocolate cupcakes or desserts with jam such as shortbread with jam.

2.    Fresh Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Beat together until creamy, but not airy (too much air does not pipe well):
1 stick butter
1 eight oz package cream cheese

Add the zest and juice of one juice orange (not navel orange).  Beat again.

Add enough powdered sugar to make good piping consistency...about 3-4 cups, depending on the juiciness and size of your orange.  Any leftovers keep well in the fridge in an airtight container for 2 weeks.  This frosting works well with strawberries or other berries desserts (such as strawberry cupcakes) or any citrus desserts that need a dollop of iciing.

NOTE:  One great thing about these cupcakes is that frosting is not necessary...they are good on their own, much like a muffin.  Without frosting these cupcakes are wonderful for brunch or as a quick on-the-run breakfast.

Add Ins you may like:
chopped pecans or walnuts
crushed pineapple (reduce the sugary liquid in the recipe)