Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream


So I can't believe I have never done a baking post on this blog even though I really love to bake sweeties! I think because our apartment in New York had such a small kitchen, I was never really inspired to bake anything unless it was a pop in the oven type of product. Being home I get to use my parents glorious kitchen and all of their supplies and ingredients and it makes it so much more fun!
I've had the cook book "The Craft of Baking" for a long time (I bought it when I wanted to go to culinary school... oh how time changes those dreams) and I never really baked any of the recipes in it besides the Banana Tarte Tatin which actually didn't turn out as awful as I expected.
This cook book is definitely not a beginners book as it requires a culinary expertise that, let's just face it, most people don't come equipped with unless you are a true and devout baker.
Today I decided to bake the Banana Cupcakes recipe because my sister is
going to stop by and she loves anything banana. The Peanut Butter Buttercream was a risk... I really didn't know how it would turn out. But in the end it is absolutely scrumptious!

Ingredients (MAKES 1 DOZEN):
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (like who has grapeseed oil waiting in the cupboards???)
3/4 cup mashed banana (about 1 1/2 medium bananas, mashed with a fork)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.7 degrees Celsius). Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil. Whisk in the banana, egg, egg yolk, buttermilk, and vanilla.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Using a whisk, mix the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling them three quarters full. Bake, rotating the tin halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Invert the cupcakes onto a wire rack, turn them top side up. and let them cool completely.

2 large egg whites (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon pure vanillla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

To make the buttercream, fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl on top of the saucepan, and whisking constantly, heat the egg mixture until it is warm to the touch, about 3 minutes. Transfer the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whisk on medium speed until the whites become translucent and shiny and form a soft peak, about 5 minutes more.
With the machine running, add the butter, a cube at a time, and mix until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and add the peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, beat until the buttercream becomes shiny and creamy, about 10 minutes. Spread the buttercream over the tops of the cupcakes, swirling it decoratively.

Enjoy! Xoxo Sam

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