Banana Pecan Cupcakes

Lots of banana pecan cupcakes!

There’s something special about fruit in a baked good on a Sunday. Maybe it’s the association with brunch or the fact that farmer’s markets (my local ones at least) are usually found on Sundays. Personally, I think it’s that different kind of sweetness that fruit has. Just how there’s something extra sweet about a lazy Sunday that no other day has.

Bananas in particular are just one of those things that warm my heart when found in a baked good. Even though overripe mashed bananas look a little… strange..

Mashed bananas

but I let that slide due to their high levels of flavour and deliciousness. In the end, that’s all that matters.

 I love them so much that in my banana bread (a particular favourite of mine) I put 6 bananas in a standard size loaf. But were not talking banana bread today. We’re talking something a little more decadent. Something that uses cake flour instead of all purpose.

Cake flour

Something with pecans.

Toasted pecans

Toasted pecans. I love the dark flavour the toasting brings to the pecans, especially against the soft sweetness of bananas.

A little cinnamon, buttermilk, amd other baking essentials…

Cupcake batter

A little time in a hot oven…

Fresh out of the oven

And then the real decadence… a caramel buttercream.

Banana Pecan Cupcakes

Put them all together and what do you get? A banana pecan cupcake. And in a cupcake, bananas are still quite special.

Cupcake crumb

 They provide the cupcake with a moist crumb with little banana ribbons of flavour. Oh yes.

Banana Pecan Cupcakes

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

Cupcakes

  • 3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 very ripe large bananas, mashed (about 2 cups), plus sliced bananas for garnish
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (For more flavour, toast pecans at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, mixing occasionally)

Caramel Buttercream

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together bananas, buttermilk and vanilla.
  2. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
  3. Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the banana mixture and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Stir in pecans by hand. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full.
  4. Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.
  5. Buttercream:  Bring 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Cook, undisturbed, until caramel is dark amber. Remove from heat, and slowly add cream, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. Let cool.
  6. Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  7. Place whites and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  8. Remove from heat, and attach bowl to a mixer. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add beaten butter, cup at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla.
  9. Switch to paddle attachment. With mixer on low speed, add caramel, and beat until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Use immediately, or cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth before using.)
  10. Assembly: Frost cooled cupcakes using an offset spatula. Place 2 slices of banana on top for garnish. (Tip: to stop slices from browning, dip them in a little lemon juice first)

Makes 28 cupcakes.  Frosted cupcakes will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.

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