Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes

I was inspired to make these after my first trip to Gigi’s Cupcakes. I noticed a similar cupcake and of course thought “how brilliant to make banana cream pie into a cupcake”!! I’ve never been a big fan of bananas- don’t get me wrong, I could eat fruit all day, but I kind of think the whole point is the juiciness and texture, and bananas don’t have that. It’s just mush, although I will choke them down on occasion because of their nutritional value. But in ice cream, pie, pudding, or cupcakes (ok, probably any dessert……) I could eat them all day long. I mean, who can resist a banana split? So, after trying the cupcake from Gigi’s, I was set out to develop my own version of this amazing cupcake. I’m not much of a frosting fan either- I was the kid who scraped the icing off the cake and just ate the cake. It’s just usually too sweet and grainy to me, so I could usually do without. But honestly, the icing is what makes these cupcakes. It took me a little experimenting to get it right- and the key here is fresh bananas, do NOT use banana extract alone, it gives the icing a far too artificial “taffy-ish” flavor. And the citric acid in the lemon juice is key to preventing the icing from browning (i.e. the bananas). So, without further ado…….

Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes

yields approximately 2 dozen cupcakes

Cupcakes

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1¾ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups buttermilk
1/4 cup milk

Banana Buttercream

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened (but still slightly firm- leave out of the fridge for about 30 minutes)
2 ripe bananas (mine were still green at the ends- not too mushy)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp banana extract
1 tsp fresh lemon juice (*key to keeping it from browning)
6 or more cups confectioners sugar, sifted

Additional Ingredients

Vanilla pudding mix
Vanilla wafer cookies (I used mini ones)

Prepare a box of instant vanilla pudding, or make one from scratch (I cheated and used the instant). Put in fridge to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Prepare 2 12-cup cupcake pans with cupcake liners, or grease and dust with flour. I personally opted to use silicone baking cups (which I LOVE), but you can use whatever you have on hand.

Beat the butter and sugar together for several minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine together the dry ingredients. Alternate between adding the flour mixture to the butter mix with the buttermilk until the batter is combined. Finally, add the milk. Use an ice cream scoop to fill each cupcake liner 2/3 of the way full. Put the pans into the oven, and decrease the temperature to 325. Bake for about 18 minutes until a toothpicks inserted comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through cooking. Allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting, puree the banana in a food processor with the vanilla, banana extract, and lemon juice until completely smooth. Set aside. Beat the butter in a bowl until smooth, then add some powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. Beat in the banana mixture, and continue to add the sugar, whipping after every addition to make completely smooth. At this point I kind of lost count of exactly how much I added, because I started just pouring it in until I was happy with the texture of the icing. Just add slowly and stop when you’re happy with it. If the icing gets too soft, just pop it in the fridge for a little while until it firms up a bit.

When the cupcakes have cooled completely, put some pudding into a pastry bag and insert partway into the center of each cupcake, and pump some pudding inside. Next, take some vanilla wafer cookies, put them in a ziplock bag and crush them (I used a meat tenderizer and just pounded it a couple of times), pour them onto a plate or in a shallow bowl. Pipe icing onto each cupcake, and then roll the edge into the crushed cookie. I topped each cupcake with two mini cookies.

**Make sure to roll the cupcakes in the crushed cookies immediately after frosting, or the icing will crust slightly (harden on the surface) and the pieces won’t stick.

And presto! You have one of the most fabulous cupcakes ever…..even if you’re not a fan of bananas!

Yellow cake recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats.


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