I made the mistake of Instagramming these babies a few months ago. I was so proud of them, I couldn’t resist. (I have #problems and #vices. See Pipe Dream #207.) What followed was a deluge of requests for them, which I dismissed because I am just one girl and I get tired of peeling bananas sometimes. I mean, go make your own cupcakes. This is why I have a blog. DIY, or something, and then pay people to make your sandwiches.
This is a bit of an unfair attitude, I am realizing, mostly because I wasn’t going to post these on my blog until three months later, meaning that no once could technically make these yet. So I guess the only reasonable thing to do is either never Instagram again or make these for everyone. Back to the drawing board. :] But guys, you know how I actually love making people treats. It was an off day.
And these are such a double treat. The banana cakes are less dense than a typical banana bread and studded with butterscotch and chocolate chips. The frosting is the dreamiest bourbon swiss meringue buttercream and holds little puddles of milk chocolate bourbon ganache that threaten to burst their bounds. It’s like a little pre-dessert drink.
All in all, these were some of the most interesting cupcakes I’ve made in a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed the unusual flavor combination. Never mind the white balance/brightness in these photos. Just close your eyes and have that little pre-dinner drink.
P.S. I think I will still Instagram things sometimes.
Banana Bourbon Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Ganache
Adapted from How Sweet Eats
For the cupcakes (makes about 9):
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
sprinkle of nutmeg
1/2 large egg, at room temperature (beat the egg, give it your best shot)
1/2 + 1/8 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large ripe banana, mashed (about a 1/2 cup)
1/8 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 (1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons) cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips, butterscotch chips or a mix of both
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 9 cupcake liners.
Combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or just a regular bowl), whisk the egg and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Add the sour cream and melted butter and mix.
Stir in dry ingredients, then add the mashed bananas and milk, mixing until just combined. Stir in the chocolate/butterscotch chips.
Using an ice cream scoop, scoop batter in liners until they are 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely on a rack before frosting.
For the bourbon italian buttercream:
Adapted from The Faux Martha
2 egg whites, at room temperature
heaping 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cold water
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) butter
Separate the egg whites into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Measure a heaping 1/3 cup sugar and the water into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Gently stir to combine. Measure the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar into a separate bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon sized pieces and set aside.
Place the candy thermometer in the saucepan and heat the mixture over medium-high heat. Do not stir after the sugar is dissolved, and wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals forming. I had issues with crystals forming and had to start over once.
Whip the egg whites on high speed to soft peaks. Add the additional two tablespoons of sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.
Raise the heat under the sugar syrup to bring the syrup to 245° degrees F. When it has reached 245°, slowly pour the syrup into the meringue, with the mixer running. Hold the pan just above the height of the mixer and pour confidently, trying to hit the meringue and not the side of the bowl.
After a minute or two, reduce the speed of the mixture to medium for 6-8 minutes and beat until the meringue is totally cool. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, increasing the mixer speed to high for 2 to 4 minutes or until the butter is fully incorporated. Don’t worry if the mixture looks soupy; keep beating until everything comes together and the frosting reaches a mayo-like consistency.
For the bourbon milk chocolate ganache:
2 ounces milk chocolate chips
1 tablespoons heavy cream + 1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon bourbon
Heat the cream and cream in a microwave-safe bowl for twenty seconds–dont’ let it boil, but it should be really hot. Dump in the chocolate chips and let the mixture stand for a minute before whisking the chocolate and milk until smooth. Whisk in the bourbon, and let the ganache stand for at least 20 minutes. It will thicken as it cools.
To assemble the cupakes:
Using an extra large piping tip, pipe a big dollop of buttercream onto each cupcake. Use a small spoon to create a divet in each dollop. Fill, dip or drizzle the ganache to your heart’s content.