Apr 282010

This was actually supposed to be called banana cupcakes with banana cream filling with cream cheese frosting. However I had a total fail when it came to the banana cream filling. I had never made a cream filling before so I took a TON of pictures of that process. Which leaves me with very very few pictures of everything else.

This recipe is actually a cake recipe from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, which tends to be my family’s bible of cookbooks. The recipe says it makes a 9 inch square cake so I doubled the recipe. That means four bananas. I underestimated how much room four bananas takes up and used a slightly too small bowl. So I dumped it all into a bigger, yet still too small bowl but managed to finish mashing them with a fork.

As I said I doubled the recipe. I ended up with 24 normal sized cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes and still had a small amount of batter left over that I sadly threw away as my oven was FULL. My mom has made this recipe before for cake and it’s delicious. The cupcakes came out nicely too!

It was at this point that things went horribly wrong. See the recipe says to  slice the cake in half and fill with banana cream filling and frost with some weird frosting. I emailed FireMom from Stop Drop and Blog to see what she thought about the various ways I make these and she thought that the banana cream filling with cream cheese frosting sounded good and so did I. I made the cream filling minus the vanilla plus a banana like the recipe says. I snapped picture after picture of the process. Everything was all well and good. Once it’s cooled you’re supposed to add the banana with lemon juice (so it doesn’t brown I guess). I had small to medium sized bananas and when I tasted the banana and lemon juice it was very lemony so I added another half of a banana. Then I added that to the rest of the cooled, very thick cream filling. That’s where something went wrong. It got very very runny. I thought maybe it would be okay and poured it into a pastry bag that I was going to use to squirt some of the cream filling into each cupcake. It ran right out the bottom. That’s when I poured everything down the drain and decided I was too tired and it was too close to my son’s nap time being over  (plus I nearly out of bananas)  to bother trying that again and just got to making the cream cheese frosting. I didn’t bother taking any pictures – I blame my frustration and eagerness to just get these cupcakes DONE.

While they didn’t  have the banana cream filling these cupcakes are very good. Lighter than banana bread and just the perfect afternoon treat and great with a latte.

Fresh Banana Cake (I doubled this)

  • 1/4 cup butter or 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium bananas)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour milk or sour cream (Fannie Farmer says that buttermilk is also an acceptable alternative so I used that)

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch square cake pan. (I just used cupcake liners) Cream the butter or shortening, slowly add the sugar, and beat until light. Add the banana, eggs, and vanilla and beat well. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt, add to the first mixture and blend. Slowly add the sour  milk or sour cream and beat until well blended. Spread in the pan and bake for about 45 minutes (I filled the cupcake liners around 3/4 full and checked on them after 15 minutes. I think at most I cooked them 20 minutes) or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

Source: Fannie Farmer Cookbook

Banana Cream Filling (if you feel like giving it go)

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks slightly beaten
  • 1 large banana
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat the milk in a heavy-bottomed pan until very hot but not boiling. Mix the sugar, flour and salt together in a bowl, stir in the hot milk and beat until well blended. Pour back into the pan and continue to stir vigorously over low heat 4-5 minutes, until very thick and smooth. Add the egg yolks and cook for a few more minutes. Cool, stirring from time to time. Mash the banana and beat it until smooth, add the lemon juice and stir the mixture into the cooled filling.

Source: Fannie Farmer Cookbook

Cream Cheese Frosting (I doubled this too)

  • 8 ounces cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted if lumpy

Combine the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a food processor. Beat well or process until perfectly smooth and spreadable. You will have enough to fill and frost an 8-inch two-layer cake.

Source: Fannie Farmer Cookbook

Apr 192010

Mmmmmmmm, tiramisu. I LOVE tiramisu. I once worked at an Italian restaurant and I was in charge of plating the desserts, among other things. I really enjoyed it when there was some tiramisu left that wasn’t big enough to serve a paying customer – because then I got to eat it. Only good thing about working in a restaurant. Anyway, I used to see them make it all the time but for some reason never bothered to try my hand at it. When I saw that good ol’ Martha Stewart had a cupcake version I knew I had make them.

I’ve never made lady fingers but after the cupcakes were made I googled for a recipe. It seems like these cupcakes are pretty similar to lady fingers, although they are different. Lots of eggs for sure. It never ceases to amaze me how eggs can change consistency and appearance with just lots of beating.

I don’t have a whole lot of pictures because my attic is currently being renovated into actual living space. Which means I have two extra adults in my house, my mom and dad. Which means I have two extra adults going in and out of my kitchen. My kitchen is tiny, you have two people in there and it’s crowded.

I think at the Italian restaurant I worked they used brandy in their coffee syrup, but Martha’s recipe calls for Marsala wine. Luckily Marsala wine is cheap. There was this bottle for $4.99 and one other one for $1.50 more. And from this big bottle I only needed 1oz. No idea what I’ll do with the rest. My mom said I needed to learn how to make chicken Marsala. (Anyone have a tried and true recipe they’d like to share?) Also, I was lucky I brewed my espresso before my mom broke my carafe. She’s lucky I love her so much 😉

Martha says to brush on the coffee-Marsala syrup with a brush until it’s all gone. I don’t have a brush so I used a 1/2 teaspoon. The tops became very sticky, so I can’t help but think if you did use a brush your brush would have cupcake crumbs all in it. I used 1.5 teaspoon of the syrup in each cupcake and there was some still left over. I decided NOT to use all the syrup because I was certain the cupcakes were going to be loaded with syrup. Turns out once again I was wrong and Martha was right. Some of the cupcakes that were eaten after dinner didn’t have any of the syrup in the middle/bottom part of the cupcake, just right at the top.

While the cupcakes were soaking up the syrup for 30 minutes I got out the mascarpone cheese so it came to room temperature and went for a small walk.

Besides watching them make tiramisu at the restaurant I hadn’t ever used or seen mascarpone cheese before. It’s weird stuff, and if you’re worried about your arteries or cholesterol you probably shouldn’t even touch it. 60 calories per serving, 60 calories from fat. My mom said it’s basically sweet fat. And you add it to whipped heavy cream. Holy. Cow. No wonder it tastes so good. I was thinking of not sending them to my husband’s work and leaving them home for us to eat but my mom said to get them out of the house, she didn’t want to eat anymore.

They really are good though. They taste just like tiramisu, just in cute, easy to eat cupcake form. Thanks Martha!!

Tiramisu Cupcake Recipe:

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved (I used regular vanilla extract)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 3 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Coffee-Marsala Syrup
  • Mascarpone Frosting
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.
  3. Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
  5. To finish, brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-marsala syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used. Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes. Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.


Coffee-Marsala Syrup:

  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
  • 1 ounce marsala
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Stir together coffee, marsala, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.


Mascarpone Frosting:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  1. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.