Sunday, May 30, 2010

Banana Split Cupcakes

I sometimes envy those who have friends they have grown up with their whole lives. As an Army brat, having an old friend is a little more difficult due to the fact that we move around every 2 or 3 years, but it can be done!

My friend Beth and I met in 2nd grade when we were living in North Carolina and we have managed to stay good friends through various moves and many years; we try to get together at least once a year, and keep in touch through emails and messages here and there. A couple weeks ago as we were chatting she asked me if I could come up with a way to turn her favorite banana split into a baked good. I immediately embraced the challenge and wrote down my thoughts in my little recipe book waiting for the perfect time to try em out. I finally got around to creating the cupcake this weekend and I think she'll be quite pleased with the result.

Unfortunately I wasn't going to be able to send Beth any of the final product due to the whipped cream topping- I don't think she'd be very happy if a box of cupcakes with sour whipped cream arrived on her door step one day! Despite this dilemma, Beth understood and was just as happy with a recipe she could make on her own. I have such great friends :)

These cupcakes are chock full of all the goodies that go into a true banana split with the exception of ice cream... but who's to say these cupcakes shouldn't be enjoyed with a scoop of some?!

Banana cupcakes, homemade hot fudge, whipped cream and sprinkles, all topped off with a cherry on top!

Banana Cupcakes
slightly adapted from Hello Cupcakes! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson
Makes 18 standard cupcakes
Oven: 350 Bake Time: 15-20 min

1 2/3 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 medium ripe bananas
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 stick butter
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.
In another bowl, mash bananas and buttermilk.
In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.
(Make sure the bowl you use for this mix is the largest- If you're using a Kitchen Aid mixer, beat the butter, sugar and eggs in there and add the other bowls ingredients to it)
Once the butter, sugar and eggs are beat, add the flour mixture alternatively with the banana mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. 
Spoon batter into paper lined muffin tin and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Transfer to a cooling rack and cool for at least an hour before assembling.

Hot Fudge Sauce
recipe from The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco & Mindy Fox
Makes 2 cups of sauce 
*I halved the recipe for the cupcakes, but if you don't want to do that the sauce can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge up to 2 weeks- just reheat over low heat when ready to use

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp cider vinegar or white vinegar
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large sauce pan bring cream, whole milk, corn syrup, sugar, cocoa powder and salt to a boil. Whisk in a little more than half the chopped chocolate and vinegar.
Reduce heat low-medium and cook for about 12-15 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken and has the elasticity of hot fudge.
At this point, remove pan from heat and whisk in remaining chocolate, butter and vanilla. 
Use immediately or store in fridge until ready to use.

Stabilized Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 TBS water

Pour water into a small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over top- Mix until gelatin starts to dissolve. 
Place saucepan over low heat and bring to a slight boil. 
Remove from heat and set aside to cool/stabilize.
Whip cream with hand mixer until it starts to thicken.
Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until incorporated. 
Pour gelatin into whipped cream and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Place in fridge for at least 15 minutes before using, however you can keep in the fridge for a few days (covered). 

Assembling Banana Split Cupcakes:

1. Take your cooled cupcakes and using the cone method to cut out small holes from the top of your cupcakes. This will give your hot fudge sauce somewhere to stay. (Feel free to eat your little cut out pieces of cupcake)
2. Pour hot fudge sauce in centers of cupcakes
3. Whipped cream topping- I piped mine on top using a zip lock bag, but you could just as easily drop the whipped cream in dollops on the cupcakes with a spoon or spatula. 
For those interested in the ziplock bag idea: Place whipped cream in a large zip lock bag and secure top. Cut the tip off one end (about half an inch) and pipe onto cupcake just as you would with a pastry or icing bag.
4. Garnish with sprinkles, chopped peanuts, or whatever else you might like! And no Banana Split is complete without a cherry on top :)

Happy Baking!