Tuesday, March 8, 2011

National Banana Bread Day-Woohoo

Originally posted 2/24/11

Hello everyone!  Happy Thursday!  So yesterday was National Banana Bread Day.  I didn’t know till mid-afternoon…Had I known, I could have planned a big “Banana Bread” Party.  I could have planned costumes, decorations, party favors, etc.  I mean, it sounds like a big deal, right?  It is “National”.  I feel awful for missing it……Am I the only one?;)  Why do bad things happen to good people?;) 
Anyhoo, today’s recipe won’t be banana bread, but it will involve bananas.  I will show you how to make Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting.  That is sort of like banana bread, right?  Just a smidge late for the big “National” holiday.  I should be used to being late to the party…..I usually am.  I mean, I couldn’t ride a bike till I was 9 (super late to that party), I just recently learned how to text(would be really late if I was 14), and I am just now wearing Ed Hardy.  I hope you know I was kidding on the last one……Let’s just make some cupcakes so you stop picturing me in an Ed Hardy fluorescent pink trucker hat.
These cupcakes are seriously the best cupcakes I have EVER had.  Yes, I tend to throw that term around loosely…for instance….I had a corndog from the gas station last week and swore it was the “best thing I have EVER had”, but that was hunger talking.  I am not exaggeration on these cupcakes, or using the term lightly…..These cupcakes are, by far, the best cupcakes I have ever had.  And I have had a ton of cupcakes.  They have a great banana flavor, and what goes better with bananas then peanut butter?
Yes, I used a boxed mix…..Oh the horror.  But in my defense, I jazzed it up with a few things.  Also, what is missing from this picture?  Yes!  The Bananas!  Somehow they snuck out of the picture, but just so you know….I used mashed bananas that I had frozen.  When bananas start to go bad, peel those bad boys and freeze them.  When you want to use them for cupcakes, bread, wallpaper paste, etc…..defrost, mash, strain the liquid off, and use.  I used about 2 cups of mashed bananas.  If you happen to have banana baby food sitting around, you can totally use that.  I prefer a bit of chunky banana texture, so I use real bananas.
I used a French Vanilla cake mix. I prefer this to a yellow cake because I like the vanilla flavor it adds.  If you can’t find this mix, use a yellow cake mix, but add some vanilla extract.   I also used, in place of water, heavy cream and sour cream.  The sour cream and heavy cream make the cupcakes really moist and rich.  The mix also called for eggs and oil.  As with all cakes from a box, you just dump the ingredients in and mix with a hand mixer.  No need to separate wet and dry ingredients.  A boxed mix is really hard to mess up.  I beat the batter for close to 5 minutes.  This will insure that you have light, fluffy cupcakes.
I baked the cupcakes according to package directions, about 20 minutes on 350 degrees. 
The cupcakes will bake up nice and golden brown.  They need to cool completely before you frost them.
The frosting is a basic cream cheese frosting with peanut butter added to it.  I used cream peanut butter, but you can use chunky if you want.  I like a smooth frosting, but as I have said before, I’m not the boss of you.  My basic recipe is 1 stick of butter to 8 ounces cream cheese, about 16 ounces of powdered sugar and vanilla extract.  I bring the butter and cream cheese to room temperature and beat those together first.  I add the peanut butter, about ½ cup, and vanilla and beat that.  Finally, I add the powdered sugar slowly.  You might not need the whole 16 ounces to get the texture you like.  This makes a lot of frosting, so feel free to lick the beaters, or dive in face first.  There will be plenty left for the cupcakes.
I was lazy, and I spread the frosting on instead of piping it.  Sometimes I pipe, sometimes I spread.  I like to keep you all guessing.  I am a lady of mystery.
Yum.  You have to try these.  If not now, when?  National Banana Bread Day only comes once a year!  I think…..It could be once a month….I really have no idea.
Everyone expects vanilla and chocolate cupcakes.  Mix it up a bit and serve these for your family and friends!  I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
Nest week, I will be posting Mardi Gras ideas and recipes…..Get your beads out!
Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
1 box French Vanilla cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
¾ cup heavy cream, (whole milk or half & half will also work)
¾ cup sour cream
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat all ingredients together with a hand mixer for 5 minutes.  Pour into lined cupcake pans, filling each 2/3 full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes.  Cupcakes will be golden brown when done.  Cool completely before frosting.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup or 1 stick butter, softened
½ cup peanut butter
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
16 ounces powdered sugar
Beat together, with a hand mixer, butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add peanut butter and vanilla and mix.  Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until desired texture is reached.  Pipe or spread on cooled cupcakes.


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