Banana Bottom Pineapple Cheesecake Swirl Cupcakes

I had a pile of brown bananas on the counter, teetering the fine line between perfect for baking and perfect for the garbage. So, what could I do, but make some banana cupcakes?  But, not just any banana cupcake would do.  No, these ones have a pineapple cheesecake swirl.  Have you ever heard of such a thing?  I hadn’t and it sure sounded amazing.  Besides, the recipe is from Flo Braker.  No doubt it was going to be delicious.  The banana cake batter and the pineapple cheesecake filling are both easy to put together. Just be prepared for lots of dishes.   You then layer banana cake batter, followed by pineapple cheesecake, and top with more banana batter and bake.   Because of the cake flour, these cupcakes bake up super light and fluffy.  I love how you can see the lighter swirl of cheesecake on the outside of the muffin, giving you just a hint of what’s inside.  The cheesecake filling is creamy and when you bite into a tiny chunk of sweet pineapple, you get a burst of flavor.  It is just perfect in combination with the light banana cake.

Are you trying to figure out what to do with your brown bananas too? I think you just found it.  😀

Banana Bottom Pineapple Cheesecake Swirl Cupcake

Yield: 15 cupcakes

Pineapple Swirl Filling:

One 8-ounce (225 gram) can of crushed pineapple
6 ounces (170 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt

Banana Cupcakes:

1 3/4 cups (200 grams) cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (255 grams/9 oz) mashed ripe bananas (2 medium bananas or 3 small)
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature

Before baking:  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly coat a 12-cup standard muffin pan with nonstick spray, then flour the cups, tapping out the excess flour.  I used Pam for Baking because it already has flour in it.  Or, butter and flour the cups. Or, line the muffin pans with fluted paper or foil liners.  Repeat with a second muffin pan, preparing only 3 cups and spacing them evenly around the pan. Spacing the cups promotes even baking when not all of the cups are filled.  Have all ingredients at room temperature.

To make the pineapple swirl filling:  Drain the pineapple in a sieve over a small bowl. Press the pineapple against the sieve with the back of a spoon to release as much of the juice as possible. Drain the pineapple further on a few sheets of paper toweling. Discard the liquid.  I put the pineapple into a clean, super thin dishtowel, closed it around the pineapple and twisted it until most of the liquid was gone.  

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a handheld mixer), beat the cream cheese on very low speed until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth. Add the egg and salt, mixing just until the ingredients are blended and creamy.  Gently twist the paper towels around the crushed pineapple to absorb any additional juice, and then stir in 1/3 cup of the pineapple. Save the remainder if you have any for another use.  I saved the leftover juice and pineapple in a container and froze it to put in smoothies for the kids.

To make the banana cupcakes: Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.  Put the mashed bananas into a medium bowl, add the milk and vanilla and mix together with a rubber spatula.  In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg just until incorporated. Add the banana mixture (it will look curdled but that’s okay; it won’t after you add the flour mixture) and beat on medium-low speed until it is incorporated. On the lowest speed, add the flour mixture in two or three additions, mixing just until smooth after each addition.

Spoon 1 tablespoon of the cupcake batter into each prepared muffin cup, spoon 1 tablespoon of the pineapple filling over the batter and then top each with 2 more tablespoons of the banana batter.  If your oven is wide enough, bake 2 muffin pans side by side, spacing them about 1 inch apart. If not, put the second pan on a rack in the upper third of the oven. Bake the cupcakes until they are golden and spring back without leaving an impression when gently pressed, 22 to 24 minutes.  I would start checking at about 17 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Gently tap the pan on the counter to see if the cupcakes release from the side.  If not, trace around each form with a small knife to free the cupcakes.  Invert a rack on top of the cupcakes, invert the cupcakes onto it, and carefully lift off the pan.  Place the cupcakes right side up on the rack and let cool completely.

According to Flo Braker, these freeze beautifully.  Place them in a sturdy covered container, label with the contents and date, and freeze up to 10 days.  Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour.  I put some in the freezer, so I guess I will have to test this.

Source:  Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker

S’more Cupcakes

I’m sure I mentioned this before, but I really love everything s’mores.  And who doesn’t love cupcakes?   So add graham crackers, marshmallows and milk chocolate to cupcakes? Forget about it…I had to make these.  The cupcake is a graham flavored cake that is not too sweet just like the cracker base in s’mores.   As much as I love a good buttercream, I don’t always have time for that extra step.  But, these don’t have frosting.  Instead, you just put a big nugget of milk chocolate on the hot cupcake until it melts enough to hold the marshmallows in place.  Couldn’t be easier.  I think these would be really amazing if you torched the marshmallows to give them the final campfire roasted effect.  But, I misplaced my mini torch, so maybe next time.  But, these cupcakes are super cute and tasty just as they are.  And, oh my gosh, they are especially good warm when the chocolate is liquified and runs down the cupcake as you bite into it.  Yum!  😀

S’more Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

2/3 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

24 chocolate nuggets Hershey’s

4 cups miniature marshmallows

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Beat shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to egg mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Place paper baking cups in muffin pans and spoon 1/4 cup batter into each cup.

Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until done. Start checking at about 14 minutes and do a toothpick check. Quickly insert a chocolate nugget into center of each warm cupcake; top each with 4 to 5 marshmallows, gently pressing into melted chocolate. Sprinkle with pecans, if desired.

Source:  Southern Living Annual 2006

Flour’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Crispy Magic Frosting

Cupcakes! Oh, how I love cupcakes! But, I guess really who doesn’t?  There is just something about those thick swirls of frosting, covering a moist, delicious hand-held cake that is completely irresistible.  I have heard great things about Flour Bakery ever since Joanne Chang’s Sticky Bun Throwdown with Bobby Flay.  I chose to make her chocolate cupcakes mostly because I was intrigued by the name of the frosting- Crispy Magic Frosting.  And oh my gosh, this frosting is indeed magic.  With all the baking I do, I have somehow never made a cooked frosting.  I guess I was a bit intimidated, but it was so much easier than I thought.  First you make a meringue and then add butter, three sticks of butter to be exact. I almost had a heart attack when I read that.  It is amazing to me, how a frosting with so much butter could still taste so light and airy.  I just don’t get where the crispy comes from though. I guess it is supposed to develop a thin sugar coating as it sits, making it crispy.  But mine never did and from the reviews I read, I am not alone.  But, honestly, that really doesn’t matter, because this is hands down the best frosting I ever had, crispy or not.  And then, you pipe this delicious frosting onto a rich and moist, deeply chocolate cupcake.   Well, wow!  That’s all I can say.  My sister said she would trade one of her children for another cupcake. Now that’s one heck of a cupcake!! 😀  I think she was only half kidding Winking smile

Flour’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Crispy (?) Magic Frosting

Yield: 12 standard size cupcakes

2 oz (56 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine (I used Callebaut)

1/4 cup (30 gram) Dutch-process cocoa powder- I recommend Valrhona

1 cup (200 grams) sugar

1/2 cup (one stick/114 grams) unsalted butter

1/3 cup (80 gram) water

1/2 cup (120 gram) milk

1 egg

1 yolk (Tip:  Save the white for the frosting)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup (140 grams) flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Line your muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. In a large heatproof bowl, combine chocolate and cocoa powder.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the sugar, butter, and water, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves (3 to 4 minutes) . Pour the butter mixture over the chocolate and whisk until the mixture is smooth.  Let cool slightly and whisk the milk, egg, extra yolk, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until combined.
In a bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together until blended. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.  Let the batter sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour to thicken.  Or, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F.  Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling until at least 3/4 full.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the tops spring back when pressed lightly with a fingertip and they pass a toothpick check. I would start checking at 20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Frosting
2/3 cup (140 grams) granulated sugar
2  egg whites
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) of room temperature butter, very soft, cut into 2 inch pieces.  Yikes!!
1 2/3 cups (230 grams) confectioner’s sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
In a heatproof bowl, whisk the sugar and egg whites into a slurry.  Fill a saucepan about 1/4 full with water and bring to a simmer.  Set the bowl over the water but do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water.  Whisk for 3 to 5 minutes or until the mixture is hot to the touch. It will thin as the sugar melts and becomes more white in color.

Pour the mixture into a mixer bowl or with a hand mixer, whip on medium-high speed for 6 to 8 minutes or until the mixture becomes thick and white like meringue and is cool to the touch.  At medium speed, add the butter a few chunks at a time, beating for 3 to 4 minutes or until it is all incorporated.   Add the powdered sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla and beat until smooth and satiny.  You should end up with 3 1/2 cups of frosting- way more than is needed for 12 cupcakes.  If not using immediately, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.  Or, you can store it up to two weeks in the fridge, allow it to soften at room temperature and then beat in the mixer for a few minutes until smooth.

Source: Flour: Spectacular Recipes From Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe

Helpful Hints:

  • Use scale measurement!
  • I had a lot of extra frosting left over- enough to frost at least 6 more cupcakes.
  • Save your extra egg white that is not needed in the cake batter for your frosting.
  • Use high quality chocolate for the best results.


Black and White Cupcakes

My husband is a high school teacher and he coaches girls volleyball.  I often send much of the stuff I bake to school with Justin, for the girls’ breakfast, so we don’t end up eating them all at home.  I had  promised one of the girls that I would make her cupcakes for her birthday. But I didn’t expect my husband to be sick and after making dinner, helping my son with homework, giving three baths and reading books myself, it was getting late and I was getting really tired.  I decided it would take too long to bake cupcakes, cool them and frost them, so I would have to look to make something else. I pulled one of Mrs. Fields’ cookbooks off my shelf. While she does make some fabulous cookies, her books also contain recipes for many other types of baked goods. When I was paging through the book, the black and white cupcakes caught my eye. They have a dense chocolate cake base with chocolate chips and a top that is swirled with sweetened cream cheese.  Who doesn’t like the chocolate and cheesecake combination?? Well, maybe my kids who both had me cut the white part off so they could just eat the chocolate cake. Geez. Anyways, I thought this would be perfect for the high school crowd. Cupcakes without all the hassle of frosting and they travel well too. Bonus! 😀

Black and White Cupcakes:

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Cream Cheese Layer

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

I added a splash of vanilla, probably about 1/4 tsp

Cake Layer

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

3 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (~ 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with liners.

Prepare the cream cheese layer: In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sugar, egg, and vanilla (if using) until well blended.

Make the cake layer: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, beat the water, oil, egg, and vanilla.  Add to the flour mixture and stir  just until combined. Stir in half of the chocolate chips.

Fill the muffin cups halfway with cake batter.  Using the rest of the cake batter and all of the cream cheese batter, spoon equal amounts of each on top of the cake batter, creating a top that is half chocolate and half cream cheese. Then sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips on top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, before removing the cupcakes from the tin.

Source: Mrs. Fields Best Ever Cookie Book

Helpful Hints:

  • While the recipe didn’t say to do so, I sifted the cocoa because I always find it to be lumpy and won’t mix well into the batter otherwise.
  • I like to use a skewer to swirl the cream cheese batter and chocolate batter- I just like how that looks instead of half and half.
  • Watch the cupcakes very closely toward the end of baking time (start checking at about 25 minutes), so as not to over bake them or they will be dry.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Tonight was my mother in law’s birthday and I was asked to bring a non-chocolate dessert. Why? Well, my father in law is allergic to chocolate (so very sad) and my husband, Justin, doesn’t like chocolate (just plain crazy). So, I was thinking lemon, pumpkin or some type of crumb cake. Since we were also celebrating Justin’s birthday, I left it to him to choose.  Not surprisingly, he chose pumpkin cupcakes.  I’ve never made them before homemade and it just so happened that I received The Cupcake Diaries from DC Cupcakes in the mail that morning. Of course, there it was, a pumpkin spice cupcake recipe. Score!  The recipe called for making a maple cream cheese icing, but I didn’t have any real maple syrup and I figured Log Cabin just wouldn’t do.  Justin then asked for my vanilla buttercream or magic frosting as he calls it. But, I just didn’t think buttercream would go as well as cream cheese frosting with pumpkin. a classic combination. So, decided to spice things up a bit and make my favorite cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  Then I remembered a few weeks ago, I came across I Am Baker‘s post on how to make frosting roses, and I wanted to give it a shot. Now was as good a time as any.

As the cupcakes baked, the air was filled with the scent of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Mmmm..such deliciously fall scents.  The cake was really moist and baked pretty flat, which I actually prefer for easier decorating. The cinnamon in the frosting was a perfect complement to the spices in the cake.  The rose decoration was so much easier than I thought. I was surprised to see that I had the 1M tip all along, only I was frosting my cupcakes from the outside border to the middle, instead of the middle to the outside. Just a simple change in direction, and I got gorgeous roses. Who would have thought? The cupcakes were enjoyed by all; even the chocolate lovers saved some room! 😀

 

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Cake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

16 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

2 Tbsp honey

1/3 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line 2 standard cupcake pans with 24 paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, all-spice, nutmeg, and salt onto a large piece of wax paper and set aside. Place the butter into a mixer bowl and beat on medium until fluffy. Stop to add sugar, and beat on medium until all incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl each time. Mix in the pumpkin and the honey. Reduce the speed to low. Alternate 1/3 of flour mixture and 1/3 of the hot water until all is added (3 rounds). Mix slowly until just combined, taking care not to over mix or your cupcakes won’t be light and fluffy.

Use a standard size ice cream scoop to fill the cups to about 2/3s full. Bake 25 to 30 minutes (start checking at 20 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow them to cool before frosting.

Frosting:

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature (reduced fat recommended, but I used full-fat)

4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp cinnamon- Can adjust according to taste

milk if needed to adjust the desired consistency

In a mixer bowl, blend cream cheese and butter on low until combined, 30 seconds. Stop the mixer, and add  the powdered sugar a little at a time, until well incorporated, 1 minute. Add the cinnamon, and mix until fluffy, about 1 minute.  Add small amounts milk if needed.

Sources: Pumpkin Cupcake from The Cupcake Diaries, the frosting from Cupcakes: From the Cupcake Doctor, and cupcake decorating inspired by I am baker

Helpful Hints:

  • To fill a pastry bag easily, I put the tip and bag together and then put the pastry bag, tip side down into a large glass, pulling the sides of the bag snugly over the outsides rim of the glass. Then you can easily use a spatula to put the frosting into the bag..
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