Thursday, March 8, 2012

Banana Cupcakes & Nutella Buttercream

I am not an artist. I cannot draw an accurate picture of myself, but I can bake one.

Bananas are a rational starting point.

Side note: You can mash up ripe bananas and store in the freezer ahead of time. Just thaw before using them in recipes. This is a time saver and also enhances the flavor of the fruit.

These cupcakes are vegan and super healthy. This is the side of me that runs everyday, does yoga and eats arugula like nobody's business.

The tops are leveled off to make an even surface for the frosting.

It's me, of course there is going to be frosting.

This frosting is not vegan in the slightest. It is silky whipped butter and chocolate hazelnut spread. It is sexy but not in-your-face sexy. Nutella has the art of sexy subtlety down to a science.

I am sure the cake would be good on its own, as would the frosting. But together they are addictive. The frosting keeps you coming back for more and the healthy(ish) banana bread is how you justify doing so. It is a fusion of the good-for-you and the better-for-you. Exactly how I like to live my life.

(Vegan) Banana Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream
For the cupcakes:
3-4 mashed bananas (medium)
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/2 c packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 c flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the frosting
1 c (2 sticks) butter, room temp
1/2 c chocolate hazelnut spread (I used Nutella)
1 1/2 c confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a medium bowl mix bananas, sugar, oil and vanilla
2. In another bowl, combine flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda
3. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients
4. Pour batter into muffin pan (prepared with paper liners or cooking spray)
5. Pre-heat your oven to 375
6. Bake cupcakes for 5 minutes at 375 then turn oven down to 350 for remainder of baking time (about 12 minutes)... this will give the cupcakes a nice domed shape
7. Remove cupcakes from oven when a wooden skewer or toothpick is removed from the center without any cake remnants on it
8. Prepare frosting: cream butter in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; add sugar and vanilla and mix on medium speed until smooth; add nutella and whip for 1-2 minutes until icing is fluffy
9. Level the tops of the cooled cupcakes
10. Pipe or spread on frosting

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