Banoffee Cupcakes

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INGREDIENTS:

Serves: 24

for the Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking spice (can substitute cinnamon)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1⅓ cup white sugar
  • 4 large, overripe bananas, mashed well (approximately 14 ounces)

for the Filling:

  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup unsalted butter

for the Frosting:

  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional:

  • Toffee chocolate bar pieces for garnish (like Heath bar)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, baking spice, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, mix the eggs, vegetable oil, sugar, and mashed bananas on medium speed until smooth. Gradually stir dry ingredients into banana mixture. Spoon into cupcake liners.
  4. Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean. Do not overbake.
  5. To make the filling: combine the dark brown sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Do not stir! Boil for 3-5 minutes, or until mixture deepens in color. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and butter. Stir constantly for 3-5 minutes, or until mixture thickens ONLY sightly.
  6. To make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream.
  7. To assemble. Use a knife to cut out the top of a cupcake in a cone shape. Spoon/pipe in toffee filling. Put frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a 1M tip. Frost. Garnish with toffee bar pieces, if desired.

Pina Colad Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:
Fresh pineapple puree

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 medium-large pineapple, peeled, cored, and chopped

METHOD:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the sugar and water without stirring until the mixture comes to a boil.
  2. Add the pineapple to the boiling sugar water and return to a complete rolling boil, without stirring.
  3. Remove from heat and cover the pot with a lid.  Let cool overnight.
  4. Once cooled, drain the liquid from the pineapple.  Save the syrup for other uses.
  5. Put the pineapple in a food processor and process until completely pureed with no chunks.  You will need 1/2 cup of this pineapple puree for the buttercream.  Save the rest for eating on its own or other uses.

Coconut cupcakes

  • 180 grams egg whites (~6 eggs)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tspn coconut extract
  • 400 grams flour
  • 2 Tbspn baking powder (if making a cake instead of cupcakes, decrease this amount to 5 tspn)
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 375 grams sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together egg whites.  Add 1/3 cup coconut milk, vanilla extract, and coconut extract.  Whisk to combine.  Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  4. Place butter in a mixer bowl.  Beat on low for 2-3 minutes until fluffy.
  5. Gradually add sugar to the butter and beat for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  6. Add 1 cup coconut milk to the butter and sugar mixture.  Beat until combined.
  7. In three parts, alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients to the batter.  Beat thoroughly between each addition.
  8. Spoon or pipe batter into cupcake molds, filling the molds about halfway.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  (For mini-cupcakes, bake 15 minutes.)
  10. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

Pineapple Italian Meringue Buttercream

  • 11 oz. sugar
  • 5 oz. water
  • 150 grams egg whites
  • 65 grams sugar
  • 1 lb. (4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple puree
  • 2 Tbspn rum or tequila, optional
  • shredded coconut, optional
  • sprinkles, optional

METHOD:

  1. Combine water and 11 oz. sugar in a small pot over medium-high heat.  Without stirring, bring to a boil and let cook until the temperature reaches 115 degrees C.
  2. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a mixer bowl. With the whisk attachment, begin whisking the egg whites when the syrup cooking on the stove reaches 105 degrees C.  Start whisking on low until the whites begin to foam, then increase speed to high and gradually add the remainder of the sugar.  Whip until soft peaks.
  3. Once the syrup has reached 115 degrees C (soft ball stage) and the whites have been whipped to soft peaks, gradually pour the syrup in a small stream into the egg whites, whisking on medium high continuously.  Be careful not to allow the sugar syrup to fall on the beaters.
  4. Continue whisking until the bowl of the mixer is at body temperature and not warm anymore.
  5. Slowly begin to add the butter, about a half tablespoon at a time.
  6. Once all of the butter is incorporated, continue whisking while adding the pineapple puree and alcohol, if using. If the mixture looks curdled, keep whisking until consistency is restored.
  7. Spread or pipe onto cupcakes when complete, top with shredded coconut and sprinkles, if desired.

Olallieberry Extra Dark Mocha Cupcakes with Candied Cacao Nibs

INGREDIENTS:
makes ~15-18 regular-sized cupcakes

for extra dark mocha cupcakes:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 Tbspn black cocoa powder (you may substitute Dutch-processed cocoa powder here)
  • 1/3 cup (5 Tbpsn) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbspn espresso powder
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 heaping Tbspn instant coffee
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
METHOD:
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line the cupcake molds with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a mixer bowl, combine sugar, flour, black and Dutch-processed cocoa powders, espresso powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the beaten egg, vegetable oil, and milk. Stir to mix. Then, with the mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix on low until evenly distributed.
  4. Combine the boiling water and the instant coffee. Pour the hot coffee into the cake batter and mix on medium low until smooth, making sure to occasionally scrape the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes. When a toothpick inserted at the center of the cupcake comes out cleanly, the cakes are done. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

for olallieberry buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup olallieberry puree, from about 3/4 – 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen berries
  • 1 Tbspn creme de cassis
  • 1 tspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 11 oz. sugar (~310 grams)
  • 5 oz. water (~140 grams)
  • 150 grams egg whites (~5 egg whites)
  • pinch of cream of tartar, optional
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 4 sticks (1 lb) butter, at room temperature

METHOD:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the olallieberry puree, creme de cassis, and lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. Combine water and 11 oz (310 gr) sugar in a small pot over medium-high heat. Without stirring, bring to a boil and let cook until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F.
  3. Meanwhile, place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a mixer bowl. With the whisk attachment, begin whisking the egg whites when the syrup begins to bubble on the stove. Start whisking on medium low until the whites begin to foam all over, then increase speed to high and gradually add the remainder of the sugar. Whip until soft peaks form and stop.
  4. Once the syrup has reached 240 degrees F (soft ball stage) and the whites have been whipped to soft peaks, gradually pour the syrup in a small stream into the egg whites, whisking on medium high continuously. Be careful not to allow the sugar syrup to fall on the beaters.
  5. Continue whisking until the bowl of the mixer is at body temperature and not warm to the touch anymore.
  6. Slowly begin to add the butter, about a half tablespoon at a time.
  7. Once all of the butter is incorporated, continue whisking while adding the olallieberry puree. Beat until incorporated. Use to pipe immediately.

for candied cacao nibs:

  • 3 Tbspn sugar
  • 3 heaping Tbspn cacao nibs

METHOD:

  1. Prepare a baking tray lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the sugar.
  3. Once the sugar has completely melted, quickly add the cacao nibs. Stir and cook until the sugar turns a deep golden color (there might be a little bit of smoking–don’t be alarmed!). Remove from heat immediately before the sugar burns and let the cacao nibs cool completely on the silpat, trying to separate them out as best as you can.
  4. Once cool, crush the candied cacao nibs into small pieces. Use to top the cupcakes.

Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups almond milk (or soya milk)
  • 2 tspn apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tspn vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tspn baking soda
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. In a mixer bowl, combine the almond milk and vinegar with a few strokes.  Allow them to sit for a few minutes until curdled.  Then add the sugar, oil, and vanilla.  Beat until frothy.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two stages, beating thoroughly in between.  After last addition, beat until smooth but do not overmix.
  5. Fill cupcake molds (greased or with cupcake paper) until about 3/4 full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes and then remove from oven and cool for 10.

Vegan Pumpkin ‘Buttercream’

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (i.e. Earth Balance)
  • 8oz. canned pumpkin
  • nutmeg, to taste
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • clove, to taste
  • powdered ginger, to taste
  • 1 tspn vanilla
  • 3-4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted

METHOD:

  1. Sift the powdered sugar. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is in a food processor, since I go through vast amounts of the stuff.
  2. Combine shortening and margarine in a mixer bowl.  Beat until creamy.
  3. Add the pumpkin to the shortening and margarine and beat until combined.
  4. Add spices to taste and add the vanilla.  Mix.
  5. Slowly begin to mix in the powdered sugar, beating all the while, until the desired consistency is achieved.  If the buttercream gets too stiff, you can stir in a bit of almond milk.

After frosting the cupcakes, decorate as desired or with sifted cocoa powder.

 

Strawberry and Cinnamon Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:
makes 12 cupcakes

for strawberry cupcakes:

  • 1/2 lb. frozen strawberries, thawed with juices
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn (17 gr) + 3/4 cup (150 gr) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 1/2 cups (200 gr) AP flour
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature

METHOD:

  1. Combine thawed strawberries (with juices) and 1 1/2 Tbspn sugar in a small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the saucepan. Cook and simmer until the strawberries have reduced by a half, leaving about 3/4 cup. Puree in a food processor and let cool completely.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare and line 12 cupcake molds.
  3. Whisk to combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the egg whites and whole milk. Set aside.
  5. Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and continue beating.
  6. Add the wet and dry ingredients in two additions, alternating between dry and wet. Beat until combined.
  7. Divide the batter between the cupcake molds, filling each mold to 3/4 full.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes come out cleanly. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

for cinnamon-cream cheese frosting:

  • 4 Tbspn (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups (300 gr) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 8 oz. (113 gr) cream cheese, cold

METHOD:

  1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  2. Gradually beat in the sifted powdered sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Gradually add small chunks of the cold cream cheese, beating well after each addition.
  4. Frost cupcakes immediately. Top with sprinkles, if desired.

Cake recipe loosely adapted from Sky High Cakes.

Double chocolate (espresso) Cupcakes with Rose-scented cream cheese frosting

INGREDIENTS:
adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Cake Bible
makes 6-7 large cupcakes, more if using regular-sized cupcake liners

  • 2 Tbspn Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbspn + 1 1/2 tspn black cocoa powder (or substitute with Dutch-processed cocoa)
  • 1 tspn instant coffee powder or espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups (125 gr) AP flour
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbspn (175 gr) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 13 Tbspn (184 gr) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Whisk to combine the cocoa powders, coffee powder, and boiling water. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Once the chocolate mixture is cool, whisk in the vanilla and eggs until combined and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine.
  5. Add half of the chocolate mixture and the softened butter to the flour. Mix on low until the flour is moistened and then increase speed to medium and beat for one minute to aerate.
  6. Add the remaining chocolate mixture to the batter in two additions, beating for twenty seconds after each addition. Finally, beat in the chocolate chips.
  7. Divide the batter amongst the paper cupcake molds, filling each about 3/4 of the way.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Rose-scented cream cheese frosting
adapted from Magnolia Bakery

  • 1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tspn rosewater
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, cold
  • 1 drop pink gel food coloring

METHOD:

  1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and rosewater and mix until combined.
  3. Beat in the sifted powdered sugar.
  4. Gradually add small chunks of the cold cream cheese, beating well after each addition. Mix in the food coloring at the end.
  5. Use to pipe onto cupcakes immediately.  Top with shaved dark chocolate.

Earl Grey Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:
makes 12 – 14 cupcakesfor cake:

  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (140 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (46 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/2 tspn baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee

for frosting:

  • 6 teabags of Earl Grey
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbspn heavy cream
  • 5 oz (142 g) unsweetened chocolate
  • 8 Tbspn butter
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • flaked finishing salt

METHOD:

  1. for cake. Preheat oven to 180° C. Prepare 12 – 14 cupcake tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a mixer bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the beaten egg, vegetable oil, and milk. Stir to mix.
  4. With the mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix on low until evenly distributed.
  5. Pour the hot coffee into the batter gradually and mix on medium low until smooth.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes. When a toothpick inserted at the center of the cupcake comes out cleanly, the cakes are done. Remove from oven, remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. for frosting. Place the Earl Grey teabags, condensed milk, and heavy cream in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, cover tightly, and let steep for at least one hour.
  8. Meanwhile, finely chop the chocolate and cut the butter into pieces. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
  9. Remove the teabags from the milk mixture, making sure to squeeze as much liquid from the teabags as possible before discarding.
  10. Add the sugar to the milk mixture, return to the stove, and bring to a simmer.
  11. Pour the hot milk mixture over the chocolate and butter. Let sit for two minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let cool completely to room temperature.
  12. Once cool, transfer the ganache to the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment. Whip on medium until light-colored and fluffy. Use immediately to spread or pipe onto the cooled cupcakes. The whipped ganache will firm up more once spread or piped.
  13. Top with a sprinkle of finishing salt.