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Banana Cupcakes with Pastry Cream Frosting

August 5, 2011

I’m currently watching my cat look out the window in my living room. It’s the perfect place for him to watch all the birds that fly back and forth from the trees to the Amtrak bridge. Watching my cat watch another animal, while someone else probably watches me. Next month I’ll be uprooting from New York and living in Los Angeles working at the new Beverly Hills Vosges boutique. I’m excited and very sad at the same time. Kitty is obviously coming with me on the plane, I look at him and wonder “Do you know you’re about to hate the shit out of me very soon?” I don’t think he does.

I had a bunch of perfectly ripe bananas sitting around and I figured the perfect way to put them to use would be to make banana cupcakes. I searched all over the web for some inspiration, but I mostly found the same kind of combination: banana cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. I’m bored with that. I wanted something different. I went with Crepe of Wrath’s “Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream Frosting”. I’ve never made pastry cream before, and it was a little bit of a challenge, but it’s one of those things that I should give a shot especially since I want to make some pastries filled with custard in the future.

These did not disappoint! They were as moist as ever, and I’m glad I held out using the bananas as long as I could. The darker they are, the better they are. It’s kind of a scary concept to wait for bananas to turn black, but don’t let that freak you out. I promise it’ll turn out okay.

Banana Cupcakes with Pastry Cream Frosting
by Crepes of Wrath

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups very ripe bananas, mashed (about 4 bananas)
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar + 1/2 cup regular milk)

For the pastry cream:
3 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For assembly:
cherries or a banana slice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter and shortening together until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth, at least 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the eggs one at a time until combined. Add in the mashed bananas and beat until just combined. Gradually add in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk, then 1/3 of the flour mixture, than half of the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour mixture, until just moistened – it’s better to finish mixing the batter by hand than risk over-beating the batter.

Fill each cupcake liner with about 1/4 cup of batter each. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. A toothpick should come out clean; the cupcakes should be set and just barely golden. Place the pans on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

While the cupcakes cool, make the pastry cream. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium sized bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer and keep warm over low heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt together until the mixture is pale, about 1 minute. Whisk half of the warm heavy cream into the egg yolk mixture, to temper it, then pour the egg and cream mixture into the remaining warm heavy cream in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened – about 6 minutes. If it looks like the pastry cream is starting to break, remove the pot from heat and whisk quickly to bring it back together.

Remove the mixture from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Strain the pastry cream through the sieve and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Place in the fridge for about an hour, or until chilled completely.

You can either frost the cupcakes with a pastry bag, in a ziplock plastic bag with the tip cut out, or just spoon it on. I spooned it on.


From → cupcakes

  1. Black bananas are the best – they have the most sugar! I love the sprinkles and your REAL cherries! πŸ™‚

  2. Haha thanks! For some reason Key Foods didn’t have maraschino cherries.

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