When I bid adieu to the October 2006 Flavour of the Month, I promised that you’d be seeing Tish Boyle’s book on this blog again and again. So far, I’ve tried about a third of the recipes from the book and they have all been winners. To be sure, some were more winning than others like the chiffon cake, for example. This book hasn’t let me down yet!
Last week, I found myself staring at a basket full of too ripe bananas and it made me think of a quote from Tish’s book about "banana management." She talks about how she’ll buy bananas, but never seems to use them up fast enough. I can relate. I always have the best intentions when buying bananas, but no matter what, I always end up with at least three or four that are far too ripe to eat.
Thank goodness for banana bread! Like most people, I have a favourite banana bread recipe, but I decided to try a banana cake recipe from Tish’s book. It’s a very standard recipe, most likely similar to many of the countless other recipes out there. But instead of baking this in a cake pan, I decided to go the mini cupcake route. You know sometimes I think it doesn’t matter what you bake, put it in a mini cupcake pan and people will fall all over it. They’re just so cute!
Fortunately this banana cake was delicious as was the frosting, which is an adaptation of a cream cheese frosting from The Cake Book. I topped it all off with a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg on the top of each cupcake.
Perhaps I have a future in banana management after all!
Mini Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle.
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cake and pastry flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp. honey (preferably light honey)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (full fat)
- 2 or 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (you can toast them if you like but I don’t)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- If using a mini muffin tray, either line the tray with paper liners or butter the mini muffin tray if not using paper liners. Alternatively, you can use mini paper cups as I did. If using paper cups, arrange the paper cups on a cookie sheet. (You will need 35 to 40 paper cups for this recipe.)
- In a bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, the cake and pastry flour, the baking powder, the baking soda, the cinnamon and the salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, on low speed, mix the butter with the paddle attachment until it’s smooth.
- Add the granulated sugar, the honey and the brown sugar and mix on medium speed until fully incorporated and creamy (2 to 3 minutes).
- Add the eggs and the vanilla extract and mix for another 2 to 3 minutes (scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally).
- Add the yogurt and mashed bananas and mix on low speed until combined (about a minute or so).
- Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. Don’t over mix.
- Once combined, remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the nuts.
- With a tablespoon, spoon the butter into the mini muffin tray or into the paper cups. (You may want to try doing this with a piping bag if you have one on hand.)
- Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes and then test for doneness by inserting a cake tester into the centre of one of the cupcakes. If it comes out clean, they’re done. If not, bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes and test again. In my oven, these took about 25 minutes, but I suggest you check after 20 minutes as ovens vary.
- Once done, remove the cupcakes from the oven and let cook completely on a wire rack. If you used a mini muffin tray, once the cupcakes are cool you can remove them from the tray.
- Dust with icing sugar and serve or top with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows).
Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 package cream cheese (8 ounces), softened
- 1/2 cup butter (4 tbsp.), softened
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup icing sugar, sifted (keep some extra icing sugar on hand in case you need it)
- nutmeg (for sprinkling)
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth (about 1 minute).
- Add the vanilla extract, the cinnamon and the salt and mix on low speed until combined (about 1 minute).
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the icing sugar. Mix on low speed at first, just until combined. Increase the speed to medium and mix for at least 2 minutes. The cream cheese frosting should be light and fluffy. If it’s not thick enough, add a bit more sifted icing sugar.
- Once ready, use the frosting immediately. You can either dollop the frosting onto the cupcakes with a spoon, or you can use a piping bag to pipe the icing on the cupcakes.
- Once you’ve frosted all the cupcakes, top each with just a tiny bit of nutmeg. Don’t use too much because nutmeg can be overpowering.
Note: I used mini paper cups and got about 40 cupcakes. You can store the frosted cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a day. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to a month. The cream cheese frosting should be used immediately. I love the flavour of bananas and honey so I always add some to my banana bread. You can omit the honey if you like.