Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes
Banana cupcakes can very easily taste and look like muffins…
Let’s just say it; a cupcake is NOT a muffin with frosting. It is so much more than that!
Muffins typically contain half the sugar that cupcakes do. And brownies contain double the sugar that cupcakes do. I purely say this to prove a scientific point and not to make us all feel bad about ourselves 😉 I mean if you eat 2 brownies instead of 4 cupcakes, no harm is done, right? But a great cupcake is hard to beat.
Photos by Alice Swan
I love the flavour combination of Banana and Chocolate. The first time I tried this flavour combo I was about 12. My sister and I heard about this fancy new restaurant that opened in town – Chez Vincent. “Oh wow, it has a French name!” We were just so excited!
In our little hometown of Nelspruit, we very rarely got to experience something foreign. In fact, here is a hilarious South African add to illustrate the point. Foreign = exotic!
My parents took us out for supper once a month (lovely little tradition) and this time we just HAD to go to Chez Vincent. It was so beautiful! It was an old house that had been renovated, so there were different rooms which created smaller, more intimate spaces.
We sat outside under the pergola with creeping vines and soft lighting – the substance of fairy tales. Apart from the dessert I cannot remember what the food tasted like… Clearly I am in the right line of work.
The dessert was just ice cream with fruit, but it was spectacular. The bananas had been slightly caramelized and instead of generic chocolate sauce, there was chocolate ganache! In my mind the combination of chocolate and banana seemed like a terrible idea, but the taste was just magical.
I remember being astounded at how delicious this marriage of flavours was. I just wanted to keep eating it and eating it and eating it. So YUMMY.
Naturally, this experience had to be translated into a cupcake. All the recipes for “banana cupcakes” I tried really lacked a banana flavour though. But if you added more bananas the cupcakes ended up tasting like banana bread or banana muffins.
I also really wanted to capture the caramelized banana flavour in the cake. One day it dawned on me – just caramelize them! I tried roasting the bananas in the oven, but they just had a “baked banana” flavour and not a “caramelized banana” flavour.
When in doubt, use butter… Frying and caramelizing the fresh bananas in salted butter was the answer! It intensified the flavour drastically.
Plus it ended up being a great bonus to get rid of some of that extra moisture the banana adds. The banana cupcakes are still fluffy, but they have more substance. They are even a little bit sticky – which I love!
It is VERY important to thoroughly caramelise the bananas in the salted butter. Spray your saucepan with non-stick spray. Medium heat. Be patient. Let them sit and caramelise in 30 second intervals before stirring and scraping the yummy bits off the bottom of the saucepan (don’t eat them, incorporate them into the rest of the bananas).
The bananas break down completely, which is perfect. Keep caramelising until you literally can’t anymore. The mixture will start coming together into one mass. You will notice that most of the liquid has evaporated and there will be caramelised bits throughout the squishy banana “paste”.
The chocolate ganache center was a given and the frosting had to be my EPIC low sugar chocolate frosting. Since the cupcake is quite intense, I had to opt for a lighter frosting… and yes, I do hate buttercream.
- 170 g Flour
- 12 g Baking powder (10g food store)
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Cinnamon
- 80 g Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- ½ c White Sugar
- 1 Egg + 1 Egg Yolk (80g)
- ½ Tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 100 ml milk
- 180 g fresh banana, fried in 25 g salted butter
- 60g dark chocolate
- 30g milk chocolate
- 100ml cream
- Tiny pinch of Salt
- Start by frying the bananas. Spray a small saucepan with non-stick cooking spray. Slice the fresh bananas into 2 cm thick slices. Add the 25g salted butter to the pan and place of medium heat. Leave the bananas to caramelize, stirring only about every 30 seconds. When you stir, take care to scrape the chewy bits off the bottom of the pan and incorporate it into the rest of the banana mixture. Keep caramelizing until you literally can’t anymore. You will notice that most of the liquid has evaporated and there will be caramelized bits throughout the banana “goo”. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚F.
- To make the banana cupcakes, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt & cinnamon. Set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar together for 4 minutes with the whish attachment or with a hand mixer.
- Add in the egg, beat for 10 seconds. Add the egg yolk and beat for an additional 50 seconds.
- Add the vanilla extract and caramelized banana goo to the butter and egg mixture. Beat well until fully combined.
- Add flour and milk and beat on lowest speed for 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl and continue to mix on lowest speed another 10 seconds – a few lumps are okay.
- With a metal spoon, fold the mixture over a few times to make sure all the butter and banana is distributed evenly.
- Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with paper cases.
- Distribute the batter evenly – keep in mind these cupcakes do rise a little bit less than normal yellow/vanilla cake due to the added bananas. I fill my cases ¾ of the way.
- Bake on oven rack A (if you don’t know what I mean, read my post on Baking Perfect Cupcakes) for 15 – 20 minutes, turning after 8 minutes for an even bake. The banana cupcakes are done when a skewer tests clean.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, make the chocolate ganache.
- Chop all of the chocolate and place it a glass bowl along with the salt.
- Heat the cream to boiling point and pour over the chocolate. Allow to stand for 30 seconds, then stir till smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Once your cupcakes are cool, make a hole in the center of each one. I use the handle of a wooden spoon and wiggle it around a bit. An apple corer does not work well with these particular banana cupcakes as the cake is so soft and slightly sticky.
- Fill the center of each cupcake with chocolate ganache. A plastic sandwich bag (with a tip cut off) works perfectly.
- Top with Philosophy of Yum Low Sugar Chocolate Frosting.
- Ice your cupcakes however you wish. I like to pipe it on top with a star nozzle and finish each cupcake with a crunchy banana chip
- Eat and be happy!
Thank you so much for reading! Use #philosophy of Yum if you make these banana & chocolate cupcakes because I would love to see how yours turn out!
What is your favourite banana cake memory? Share below!