Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Elvis Cupcakes (banana, peanut butter and chocolate)

You can hate me right now, but I'm not a big sweets person. Yes, that right. I'd rather have a briney pickle or olive than sweet cookie or slice of cake. I made these cupcakes to 1) fulfill a need to bring something to a bake sale and 2) use up ingredients that I had at home, which in this case were bananas and peanut butter.

Like I said,  I'm not a sweets person, but these cupcakes were delicious. Especially if you like banana, peanut butter, or chocolate. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of any of those things, but these cupcakes are fantastically delicious. They were the first item to be sold out of at the bake sale. They not only taste great, but also look great. (and you don't have to be a pastry chef to make them look like a million bucks, which is always a big plus in my book) I have this thing about making things look as good as they taste and this recipe will not leave you disappointed.

The cake is a banana cake, the glaze is peanut butter, and the garnish is shaved chocolate. The combination of the the three flavors is know as "Elvis." (You can make Elvis cookies, pancakes, smoothies, etc.) Recently I've been going the 'glaze' route with cupcakes because it's much easier to make it look professional. Not to mention, you don't have to use butter (which is an expensive ingredient), and you don't need a pastry bag or tips. You do however, need a cooling rack, which gets very sticky and messy, which unfortunately is one of my husband's least favorite kitchen item to wash (in case you were wondering, the cheese grater and garlic press are also among his top most annoying things to wash).

These aren't that much of a hassle to make, and you can rarely find them in acceptable bakeries, so if you're looking for something special, these cupcakes fit the bill.
Cupcake Batter:                                                                                            
1 ripe banana (frozen or fresh is fine, just mash it up)
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour plus 2 TB cornstarch
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup veg. oil
 DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12 muffin pan with liners. Mash together the banana and lemon juice until smooth, then whisk in eggs. In the bowl of your electric mixer, use a fork to whisk together your flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Put on the paddle attachment and beat in the oil until it's well incorporated. Add your banana/lemon juice/egg mixture and mix until just combined. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake 15-20, until a toothpick comes out clean. Make the glaze while they cook. (directions below) Transfer to a wire rack and remove from pan immediately so they don't get overcooked.
Glaze: Whisk together 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter and 2 TBS of milk (or you can use water/almond or rice milk/cream, whatever). Add 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar and beat until smooth. Add more sugar if you want a sweeter glaze. The glaze should drizzle off your whisk when you hold it above your bowl. (adjust consistency with more liquid/sugar).
Topping: Use a microplane or the little blades on a grater to shave some dark chocolate onto a plate. I used Ghirardelli's extra dark, and only used like 1 oz for all 12 cupcakes. You may have to freeze the chocolate and the shavings so they don't get all melty (especially since it's summer! the heat of your hands can make things get gloopy)

Assemble:  While the cupcakes are still hot, push them close together on your cooling rack. This makes sure you waste a minimum amount of glaze. You may want to put a cookie sheet or parchment paper under your cooling rack to minimize the mess.Take your whisk and swirl it in the glaze. With a  Bob Ross like motion,  float your whisk above the cupcakes, left to right and glaze those babies.  Replenish your whisk as needed. When you are done glazing , get your chocolate shavings from the freezer and sprinkle them on top. 

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