My, how cupcakes have changed in the last few years. These little “cakes in a cup” are no longer a Plain Jane dessert.
What happened? It can be summed up in one word: creativity.
I realized this fact when I received a copy of Southern Living Big Book of Cupcakes by Jan Moon. This accomplished baker, owner of Birmingham’s Dreamcakes Bakery, has taken the lowly childhood favorite and elevated it to a new level of popularity with young and old alike.
The author’s expertise in cupcake artistry is appreciated by those who visit her bakery and taste her specialties. Her Big Book of Cupcakes is one of the most exciting baking books I have seen in several years. The beautiful photos will make you feel as though you can taste those little masterpieces.
Sometimes the author uses ingredients that we would not normally put in a sweet dessert, but it certainly seems to work for her. Ever thought about the combination of lemon and basil in a cupcake? How about maple bacon?
The biggest problem I had with the book was trying to pick out a recipe to share. I was intrigued by the Banana Split Cupcakes, and was awed by the beauty of the Wedding Cupcake. The Pup Cakes are a tribute to man’s best friend. These cuties are topped with sugared dog faces.
When I noticed the following Peanut Butter and Banana Cupcakes, I couldn’t help but think about my great grandson, Mitchell, who looks forward to an “Elvis special” banana and peanut butter sandwich as an after-school snack. I feel sure that he and his little sister, Maddie, would give these cupcakes two thumbs up.
PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANA CUPCAKES
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine bananas and lemon juice in a small bowl, set aside.
Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla and reserved banana mixture.
Place paper baking cups in 2 (12-cup) muffin pans, and coat with cooking spray. Spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks and cool completely.
Frost each cupcake with peanut butter frosting and top each with banana candies, if desired.
PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup whipping cream
Beat butter and peanut butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add half of the powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Add 1/4 cup cream, beating until creamy. Add remaining powdered sugar, beating until blended. If necessary, add more cream, beating at high speed 2 minutes or until creamy. Makes 3 cups.