Thursday, February 10, 2011

Banana Smoothie Cupcakes

I'm always filled with a sense of nostalgia when baking cupcakes. They were pretty much the first thing I ever learnt to bake on my own, and it was a painful learning process. I am not a patient person, and making cupcakes look pretty (and taste great) takes a certain amount of patience. You need to try and spoon the mixture into the cupcake papers without it dribbling everywhere. You need to bake them to the right consistency (in my early days I was always a nervous baker who yanked them out before they were done, which led to sad, floury cupcakes). You need to get your icing to the right consistency. Then you need to wait for the cakes to cool completely or your icing will melt as soon as you pipe it on. I was never willing to wait long enough to do these things properly.
I had to remind myself about these points while baking these cupcakes. I still managed to dribble cupcake batter all over the place, and my icing decided to be extra runny and refused to hold its shape. But I got there in the end. These are REALLY AMAZING CUPCAKES. I've been craving yoghurt like crazy this summer, something I hardly ever eat. So I've been buying buckets of it, and this recipe uses it well. I love a good banana smoothie, and the banana & yoghurt icing on these cupcakes tastes just like it. I'm completely infatuated with the recipe I used for the banana cake, it's so light and fluffy but not the least bit dry thanks the yoghurt and gooey dark chocolate chips. AND all you need to do is throw all your ingredients in a food processor (or a big mixing bowl). My favourite kind of recipe.
As I mentioned earlier, the icing was a total pain in the bum. Originally it only had an icing sugar and butter base, but the yoghurt and banana made it very runny and it was never going to pipe nicely no matter how long I whipped or chilled it. So I panicked and whimpered and managed to smush icing into my hair, and then decided to turn it into a buttercream by heating up some egg white and sugar and whipping it into the mixture. After 20 minutes of whipping and chilling and adding butter and yelling "STOP BEING RUNNY!" at it, I eventually got a semi-pipable mixture. Sigh. So I've written down the recipe as it eventually ended up, because it tastes pretty good, but feel free to omit the egg white and see if you can get the ratios right.
The main reason I chose this recipe is because it might be the last time I have bananas in the house for a while, since prices are expected to sky-rocket. This cake is definitely one for the banana lovers. I've started to hate putting straws in my cupcakes because it always leads to so many confused questions (Is it edible? Is there something to suck up the straw?), but I couldn't resist (just one) because these are my favourite paper straws. And the papers (kindly donated by Tomred) are so cute aren't they?? Macarons may be the new cupcake, but I'll still take a good cupcake over a mac any day.
Banana Choc Chip 'Smoothie' Cupcakes
(adapted from a banana cake recipe from Taste, makes 12 large cupcakes)
125g butter, at room temperature
315g (approx 1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
1 1/4 cups mashed overripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml plain yoghurt
225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)

For the banana yoghurt icing:
1 egg white,
3 tbsp caster sugar
125g butter, room temperature
1/4 cup plain yoghurt
1 ripe medium banana
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
Optional: sprinkles or sugar balls & straws to decorate

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a cupcake tray with papers. Place the butter, sugar, banana, eggs and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor, and process for 2 minutes or until well combined. Add the yoghurt and process until combined. (If using an electric mixer instead, beat ingredients in a mixing bowl until combined)

Add the flour and bicarb soda, and process until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and spoon mixture into cupcake papers, filling them 3/4 full. Shake the pan to settle the mixture. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of your cupcakes) or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan for 10 minutes to cool slightly, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To prepare the icing, whisk caster sugar and eggwhite in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water until it reaches 70 degrees C (160 degrees F). Pour mixture into a large bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until cooled and thick, about 5 minutes. Add butter, 1 tbsp at time, beating to combine. Mash banana with lemon juice in a separate bowl and strain to remove lumps. Add banana, yoghurt and icing sugar to mixing bowl and beat until smooth. You may need to chill your mixture to achieve the desired consistency. Place in piping bag and pipe over the top of cupcakes. Can be stored for several days in an airtight container in the fridge.
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  1. those look really pretty. Gorgeous photos and love the papers too !

  2. colourful whirly straws make me as happy as paper umbrellas! and heh BAH NA NA!

  3. They look so good! Love these photos!

  4. I saw a retweet from sweetapolita on twitter and found your blog beautiful love it. Love your amazing recipes and posts. I am following you on twitter now and I wish you could add me to your following list

  5. Wow...please come to my house and teach me some photog tips...I am so in love with your eye. These cupcakes looks do delish, worth devouring.

  6. I sympathise with your icing woes! I had a similar nightmarish icing incident recently, which on reflection, I put down to the hot weather.

    I was making two different coloured frostings, so I worked with half and put the other half in the fridge.

    The buttercream WOULD NOT THICKEN no matter how much butter I put in it. I tried adding more sugar and more more more butter, but to no avail. I eventually gave up and used it anyway, but it didn't pipe very neatly.

    The other batch, which had had about 20 minutes in the fridge, thickened up beautifully with only a teensy bit of butter.

    Some food for thought while baking in this hot weather!

  7. Amazing! I'm so happy I found your blog via Foodgawker. I love your photography. The cupcakes sound great - just one question about the frosting, does the lemon juice completely prevent the banana in it from darkening? I'd love to try to make your buttercream for a chocolate cake I'll be making soon.

  8. Those look incredible! Woah! Your photos are spectacular... this has been bookmarked!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xx
    Delightful Bitefuls

  9. Alina - If you mash the banana straight into the lemon juice and dont wait too long before adding it to the buttercream then there shouldn't be darkening. I didn't experience any in the two batches I made :) It would be a perfect cake icing! I find it a tad too runny for a cupcake

  10. fantastic photos, fun props. love it all! the cupcakes are pretty terrific as well!

  11. Thank you Stephcookie! I've bookmarked your recipe! Never tried banana icing before, I will try to experiment with it - even though you say it was too runny! ^_^

  12. Aww now I'm picturing a mini Steph surveying her first batch of undercooked cupcakes. Look how far you've come :) Now you're a cupcake expert and macaron master!

  13. Those muffin wrappers are so cute in blue. Where are they from?

  14. sarah - They're actually silver :) from Robert Gordon

  15. Why doesn't anyone make an actual Banana Yogurt? That would be really good. Why are banana prices supposed to go up? I haven't heard anything. I love your photos.

  16. Oh how funny! I used the exact same recipe over the weekend too, and made cupcakes out of it too! It's the appeal of throwing everything into a fod processor =D Your cupcakes look better than what I churned out, only because I wasn't in a fussy mood hehe.

  17. These cupcakes sound divine - I love the flavour combination. And they turned out so pretty!

  18. I know this is a really old post but I just found it and am in love this recipe and can't wait to make it. However what sort of yoghurt was used? Can I use natural Greek yoghurt? That's what I have in my fridge...


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