Last week, it was my husband's birthday, so naturally I took the opportunity the night before to do a spot of baking while he was at work. I often whip up a banana bread when we've got leftover bananas that need using up, and he's a huge fan, so as I hadn't made one in quite some time, I decided on this for the basis of the cakes. The recipe I use creates a lovely sticky and luxurious consistency that is just right for cupcakes. I then decided that, to make them that bit more special, I'd pop some Nutella in the middle so that he'd have a nice surprise when he bit into the first cake.
I was going to leave it there, but let's be honest - cupcakes just don't look the same without a swirl of icing on top, do they? In this case, I whipped up a chocolate cream cheese icing that frankly was to die for.
Unfortunately, as some of you may have seen on Instagram, my first attempt was a huge fail, thanks to our oven deciding to die half way through baking. However, we got it fixed on Thursday, and these are the results of the second go.
For the cupcakes:
4 small ripe bananas
1/3 cup unsalted butter or margarine
3/4 cup demarara sugar
1 1/2 cups of self-raising flour
1 egg, beaten
1 jar of Nutella (you only need a few spoonfuls at this stage).
For the cream cheese icing:
8oz cream cheese (I used Philadelphia Light)
8oz icing sugar
1 cup Nutella (from the same jar)
1. Heat your butter/margarine in a pan until melted - be careful not to let it boil though.
2. Mash up the bananas using a fork and then add them to the melted butter, stirring until smoothly combined.
3. Stir in the beaten egg and the sugar (adding it gradually is easier).
4. Sift in the flour and then fold in using a metal spoon (don't stir it around and around - you want to put air into the mixture).
5. Now your cake mix is ready, pop your cases onto a baking tray and fill each one by about a third with the mixture.
6. Add roughly a heaped teaspoon of Nutella to the centre of each.
7. Now add some more of the cake mixture until the cases are about 2/3 full in total. Be careful not to overfill them.
8. Pop them into the oven and bake on a medium temperature for about 20 -25 mins. Personally, I just tend to play it by ear and keep an eye on them until they have risen and look cooked but not at all brown on top.
9. When they are ready, take your cupcakes out of the oven and place them onto a wire rack to cool while you make the icing.
1. Cream together the cream cheese and Nutella, then add the sugar, and combine until smooth and fluffy. You can use a hand mixer for this, but as I don't currently have one I just did it with a fork. (NB - it's much easier if the ingredients are at room temperature).
2. When your cupcakes have completely cooled, you can fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe swirls on the top using a star-shaped nozzle. If you don't have one then you can always use a spatula, although it won't look quite as good.
And that's it! These really are so delicious, and in my eyes they taste just as good without the icing ( I do love it, but with the Nutella middle they are quite decadent enough already!). However, for aesthetic purposes, a good swirl on the top of a cupcake is always a winner.
Do let me know if you decide to give these a go, as I'd love to know what your verdict is. Part of me thinks I might be posting this a bit too soon after Easter, what with many of you having consumed close to your own body-weight in chocolate (if Instagram is anything to go by!). Not that I wouldn't have indulged myself under other circumstances, but as I've mentioned before, since making these delicious treats I've been staying away from sugar to see if it will do my skin any good (in case you hadn't heard, it's started playing up out of nowhere).
Hope everyone is having a great week so far.