Cupcake Power

16 Feb

When it was decided that a cake was too big for the occasion, I made these cupcakes for my friend Neil’s birthday. They’re banana with coconut cream cheese frosting and dare I say, they’re amazing. I’d offer the recipe but my mom would never forgive me. You see, she made a version of these (in cake form) every weekend at the cafe for our Sunday brunch service. It’s a recipe that’s gained her quite a following in the food community and one she holds dear to her heart. Fortunately for me, she loves Neil (almost) as much as I do and she was willing to part with the recipe in honor of his birthday. (I also think it helped that I was planning on making cupcakes rather than the actual cake.) So while I cannot give away my mom’s secret banana cake recipe, I can give you Martha’s.

Martha Stewart’s Banana Cupcakes

makes 12

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas), plus 1 whole banana, for garnish (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

Martha prefers honey-cinnamon frosting on her banana cupcakes which you’re welcome to try, but I strongly suggest giving the coconut cream cheese frosting a whirl. Just add a couple teaspoons of coconut extract to your favorite cream cheese frosting recipe and spread over the tops of your (cooled) cupcakes. Now comes for my favorite part: adding the toasted coconut. We like to use big flakes of coconut because they’re prettier than your average sweetened coconut. The earthy flavor is also richer and provides the perfect accompaniment to the sweetness of the banana and the tanginess of the cream cheese. Once you have an even layer of frosting on the surface of each cupcake, simply dip the tops into a bowl of toasted coconut. This is a really easy and fun way to coat the cupcakes and is the key to making them look so irresistible.

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