Several months ago I found Miss Bakerella while browsing around the blogosphere and I haven't been able to get her off my mind. She has the most adorable, most pinch-your-cheeks little creations...I could just eat them up. So, being totally inspired by her work, I just had to whip up a batch of cupcakes. I had bananas aging quite rapidly on the counter so I took the lead with her banana cupcake idea and ran with it. Of course the only thing that makes a pretty dessert better for me is a mini version of it (ooo so cute!) and since I had just bought a new bag of mini muffin liners I used it as my launching pad. Banana, cupcake, mini - got it.
I already had a yummy banana muffin recipe that I've been using for ages so I used that as my base. I love it because there is no softening of butter (precious moments required when I never seem to have any to spare, hate when that happens) and it instead uses veggie oil. You just whip up the eggs, sugar and oil to begin with and it makes for a super airy fluffy long lasting moist cake. Since I have used this as a breakfast muffin recipe I figured I should bump up the sugar a tiny bit for the dessert factor, but you could probably stick with the original 1/2 cup it calls for.
Of course having My Perfect Little Helper around makes things a lot more fun and adorable! She just loves throwing the peeled bananas into the running (low speed) mixer, it cracks her up - precious! I like to toss in my bananas whole and un-mashed because I like to get little nibbles of them in my baked goods, but feel free to mash yours all you'd like. The other key to a fantastically light and airy cake is the marriage of the wets and dries. Do not, I repeat do not over mix your batter. Pour the wets into the dries and just blend enough to get everything batter-y. Over mixing is a ticket on the fast train to dense cake, and who wants that?!
how could you not love this recipe? I went and filled my liners ohhh about 3/4 of the way full, popped them in the oven and eagerly awaited their adorable-ness! It doesn't take long for these little munchkins to bake so I stood by, ready for the moment they called. This recipe took my mini muffin pan twice around the block and worked out perfectly.
If you're not into icing a kajillion (...48) little sweeties you could make this in one regular cupcake tin, for 12 normal people sized cupcakes (boooring, no I'm kidding, it's fine, go ahead).
yes I was staring, you caught me) even though I did use my own banana cupcake batter I totally stole Bakerella's "super smooth and creamy cream cheese buttercream" and I'm glad I did. It was so easy to make, so hard to screw up and tasted so good. No matter what cake recipe you use, use this frosting recipe...trust me, just do it.
Oooo I felt so bad for that lonely little guy forgotten in the background. So I gave him some accessories....then I ate him -- it was love.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 2/3 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease or line mini muffin (or regular muffin) tin, set aside.
In a mixing bowl beat together the sugar, eggs and vegetable oil with a whisk attachment. With the mixer on low speed add whole (or mashed) bananas and vanilla extract until bananas are evenly broken up.
In a large bowl mix the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the pan onto a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining batter. Cool all cakes completely before icing.
Bakerella's Cream Cheese Frosting
**I only used half of this recipe for my little minis, but in all fairness not all of them lasted long enough to be frosted...soooo I can't say for sure whether or not half is enough.
1/2 C butter, softened
1-8 oz package of Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb confectioner's sugar (I didn't use this whole amount, I added it slowly until the frosting was the consistency I wanted)
yellow food coloring (optional, but how could you resist)
Beat butter and neufchatel in a large bowl until creamy and very well combined. Beat in vanilla and first scoop of sugar. Continue adding sugar until you reach the consistency you need. Beat in food coloring if using.
Now go ahead and have fun frosting!