Thursday, October 13, 2011

Banana Caramel Cupcakes

I'm not typically a very healthy person, but the one thing I will eat often is fruit. And one of my favorites are banana.
And what goes better with banana then caramel? (Come on, that's still slightly "healthy," right?)

It all started with these bananas. Too ripe to really eat, but perfect for baking! The more ripe the bananas are the stronger the flavor typically will be.
Start with two sticks of butter.
And I always microwave my butter just a bit so that it's easier to cream.
And then add your sugar (I can't find the exact recipe I used, I thought this was a full cup but it might be a half...I'll look for the recipe I used if anyone wants it.)
Cream the two together.
Add an egg.
And then peel and mash your bananas.
This may look awful but it smelled so good!
You need about a cup of bananas.
And add that to the creamed mixture.
Like so.
Doesn't it look awful? It'll taste good in the end, I promise.
Add in your flour.
And keep mixing!
Next came salt and vanilla. I never like to use the full amount of salt just because I don't think it really needs it but that's up to you.
And mix it all together.
Now I had to try it of course and I was pretty skeptical, honestly. The batter tasted overly flour-y and stiff and I didn't really get enough banana flavor.
I used these pretty flour cupcake liners that my aunt had bought me for my birthday--aren't they cute?
And I also decided to make some minis so that I could experiment with the frosting and fillings a bit. (Again, aren't the liners precious? The heart says "Sweet").
I always use a cookie dough scoop to fill the cupcakes so that it goes fast and so that they're slightly even.
And here are the minis.
So now for the frosting. I tried to make a cooked icing, however, I'm not very good at it just yet. The recipe I used called for brown sugar, butter, milk and powdered sugar. (Again, I'll try to find the recipe if anyone wants it!).
Just don't forget to keep checking on the cupcakes!
First melt the butter.
And add the milk.
And then once the butter and milk begin to bubble and look frothy, add the brown sugar.
Cook until it comes to a solid boil.
And then take it off the heat and let the caramel set up.
And good news, the cupcakes are done.
I always use a spoon to pull them out of the pan so that they cool quicker.
Aren't the wrappers cute?
I just had to split one open and try it to see if it was any better than the batter, which really didn't taste good. And actually, I loved them! The cupcakes were very dense, like a sweeter banana muffin, but they had great banana flavor and were so good!
I was also pretty skeptical about the caramel...
Doesn't it just look shady? This was supposed to be a frosting too, not a glaze. You let it sit until it cools completely before adding powdered sugar, and this is how it looked.
I had made normal sized cupcakes as well as mini cupcakes so that I could experiment with the frosting's and see what I liked best.
Here's the frosting once powdered sugar was added. I used more than it called for but it was still pretty thin.
It seemed like that typical sheet cake frosting that is almost like a light glaze and I really wasn't happy with it.
I kept adding more and more powdered sugar to thicken it up a bit.
And finally it was really too thick to add anymore and so I decided to try it.
I whipped the frosting for a bit to get it light and fluffy.
And tried frosting a mini cupcake, with a dab of caramel sundae topping on top.
Everything is better with some caramel sauce, right?
It kind of looks like a sunny-side up egg, doesn't it? Yuck.
Well I really wasn't too happy with this glaze-y frosting, so I decided to make a traditional buttercream.
With butter, milk, and powdered sugar.
And I actually mixed it with the caramel frosting to try to thicken things up a bit and get a happy medium. And for the most part, it kind of worked.
And I put it in my awesome Tupperware cupcake froster.
You just scoop it in, screw on the lid and a tip, and squeeze on your frosting.
Aren't they cute? And actually, they were delicious!! I couldn't stop eating them. The frosting was the perfect balance for the sweet banana flavor and it didn't overpower the cake while adding a little something more to it.
I was really happy with them.
And the frosting was a bit runny, but overall not too badly. At least, that's what I thought...
Until they sat out for a few hours and the frosting totally melted into one big blob on the cupcake.
Can you believe these are the same pretty swirls from earlier? So sad.
I tried lots of cupcakes, some with just the vanilla frosting before I added the caramel to it (center cupcake, they also melted for some reason), as well as put caramel topping inside some of the cupcakes and on top of some.
Overall, however, I didn't like the caramel topping. Shocking, I know! The caramel sauce sinks into the cupcake, leaving a hole where it was and making the entire cupcake sticky and a bit mushy, which I really didn't like. And when it was on top of the cupcake for decoration (not the runny egg one, that was just for taste, I had drizzled it over the top of the cupcakes, sorry there isn't a picture!) it separated from the frosting a bit and just didn't work out. It also pushed the sweet factor up just a bit too much.
The caramel/buttercream hybrid cupcake however was a huge hit. I really liked the two flavors together and it was absolutely delicious. It was too bad that the frosting didn't hold up, but honestly, these didn't last long enough for it to really be an issue.

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