Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Peanut Butter and Banana ... Cupcakes!

With bazillions of cookbooks out there, it helps to have a catchy name. The Butch Bakery Cookbook sure caught my eye when the publisher offered it for review. The author of the book, David Arrick, saw that the cupcake frenzy was sweeping the nation, but that cupcakes still seemed to cater to little kids. Or little girls. Maybe women. But there weren't a whole lot of manly cupcakes.

So he decided the Butch Bakery would eschew the glitter and sprinkles and flowery-looking frosting.

I can get onboard with that. My piping skills are less than stellar, and I don't care all that much about sprinkles and glitter. Gimme cake. And frosting that isn't all sugar. Now we're talking.

Some of the recipes in this book include trendy ingredients like cayenne or bacon. Some of them are a little more ... normal. But none of them are frilly. They're sturdy cupcakes that are about the flavor rather than the glitz.

The recipes in the book are for the larger muffin-sized cupcakes, but I prefer smaller ones. No problem, you just need to cook them for a little less time. He suggest 3-5 minutes less than what's stated in the book. But that wasn't the only adjustment I had to make. Oh, no. That was the easy part.

The bigger problem, of course, it that we're at high altitude here, which makes cake-baking a challenge. But these recipes sounded good enough to be worth a little tweaking.

I almost made chocolate cupcakes - I mean, how can you not love chocolate cupcakes - but I kept going back to a peanut butter buttercream frosting that sounded really appealing. Normally I'm not a fan of buttercreams because they're usually too sweet. This one had a lot of peanut butter, so it sounded like the sweetness would be nicely tempered.

I had peanut butter frosting stuck in my head, and I was determined to use it.

I considered using the peanut butter frosting for chocolate cupcakes (which was actually one of the recommended "mix and match" options in the book), but in the end, I decided to make the cupcakes that went with the peanut butter frosting. Banana.

Yep, peanut butter and banana. The cupcakes also called for chocolate chips, but I opted for cappuccino chips instead. For some reason, chocolate and banana isn't one of my favorite combinations. But go ahead and use the chocolate, if you prefer, Or leave the chips out entirely. I almost used butterscotch. That would be good, too, don't you think?

4&10 Cupcakes
Adapted from The Butch Bakery Cookbook by David Arrick

For the cupcakes:
1 3/4 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder (add 1/4 teaspoon for sea level)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon sugar (use the full 1/2 cup for sea level)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk (use just 1/2 cup for sea level)
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips tossed in 1 teaspoon of cake flour
For the buttercream frosting:
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted through a strainer after measuring
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
Topping (optional):
3/4 cup peanuts, roughly chopped

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with convection on, or to 375 if you don’t have convection. (Preheat to 325 convection or 350 without convection for baking at sea level) Line 2 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.

Place a strainer over a medium bowl and sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.

In another medium mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until well combined.

Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk and beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Stir in the mashed banana until it is well combined, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking until the tops are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean – about 18-20 minutes.

Put the pans on racks to cool about 5-10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting them.

To make the frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter together on medium-high speed  until creamy, Reduce the speed to medium and add the confectioners sugar, vanilla, heavy cream, and salt. When they are combined, increase the speed to medium-high until the mixture is very smooth and creamy.

To assemble:
Top each cupcake with a heaping spoon full of frosting, then smooth the frosting with a small spatula or knife. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts on top, if you’re using them.


Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

One of my favorite sandwiches that I've loved since I was a little girl are peanut butter and banana on toast so these sound good to me. I love the look of the frosting; worry that I could just eat it all with a spoon!

Donna Currie said...

Eat it with a spoon? *looks around* Nah, that never happened.

Karen Harris said...

Donna, so nice sharing such a wonderful dinner with you the other night. You have a great blog. I love the cupcakes.

The idea of lemon olive oil ice cream is inspiring. If you get around to making it let me know how it goes. It sounds great.

Miranda | Mangoes and Chutney said...

What a great combination - I think Elvis would be so proud!

Karin Anderson said...

I don't care for very sweet frostings, either, so these really tempts me to try them.

Karin Anderson said...

I don't like very sweet frosting, either. Your cupcakes really tempt me to make them.

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