Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sweets for my Sweetie

It's that time of year again! That's right, it's the Hubster's birthday!  And, true to tradition, I sent him to work with cupcakes.  But not just any cupcakes.  You see, for the Hubster, simple is not really better.  More is better, so whatever I was going to make had to have lots going on.  The cupcakes we chose this year are banana split cupcakes. 

The basic idea:  banana cake, with strawberry and pineapple filling, whipped cream frosting, chocolate drizzle, sprinkles, and a cherry. 

I have to be honest and tell you that I haven't actually eaten one of these.  I sent the majority of them to work with the Hubster, and there is one ugly one left in the fridge.  I might get to it tonight, but I'm not sure about that.  But, I did eat some of the cake, and it was really tasty, and I KNOW I love the frosting.  So, really, what's not to like?

I found this recipe over on Annie's Eats.  She has a wonderful blog, and you should check it out if you haven't already.  I did make a few changes:  I made a different frosting, and I made a milk chocolate gananche instead of semi-sweet.  The reason I made different frosting is because I wanted something a little more stable than a traditional whipped cream frosting.  The one I made, which came from America's Test Kitchen, has cream cheese in it, so it is more stable, has more body, and a nice little bit of tang.  The recipe I used is reflected below.

Banana Split Cupcakes
Source: Annie's Eats, with frosting from America's Test Kitchen
Makes about 30 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe banana (about 4 bananas)

For the filling:
1 lb strawberries, hulled and diced small
2 tbsp confectioners' sugar
12 oz. crushed pineapple, drained

For the frosting:
1 8oz block cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream

For the ganache:
8oz chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp light corn syrup

For garnish:
Multi-colored sprinkles
Maraschino cherries

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt; whisk together and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium low and add in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the mashed banana until well combined. With the mixer on low speed alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing only until just incorporated.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the strawberry filling:
Combine the strawberries and confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl. Toss well, smashing slightly with a fork. Allow the berries to macerate at least 20-30 minutes.

To fill the cupcakes, cut a small cone out of the center of each cupcake with a paring knife or small biscuit cutter. Add a teaspoon or two of the strawberry filling to the center of each cupcake. Top with a teaspoon or two of the crushed pineapple.  Cover with a disk cut out of the cake you cut out of the center.

To make the frosting:
Whip the cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the heavy cream and whip until stiff peaks form. Add the frosting to a piping bag fitting with a large round tip. Pipe a swirl of frosting onto each cupcake and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

To make the ganache:
Place the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl.  Bring the cream to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate; let stand 1-2 minutes. Whisk together until a thick, smooth ganache forms. Blend in the corn syrup. Let stand at room temperature at least 10 minutes so the ganache is not hot. The longer you let it hang out, the thicker it gets.

To finish the cupcakes, pour a spoonful of the ganache over the whipped cream topping of each cupcake (fp note: do this over something. the ganache makes a mess). Garnish with sprinkles and maraschino cherries before the ganache sets. Chill until ready to serve.

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