Chocolate and Honey Banana Mini Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

Spring breaaaaaak! 🙂 This week is spring break for my school district.

I feel like a little kid again! Wooooo!

Except for the fact that I won’t be going anywhere nice and tropical. I will be at home in rainy Seattle, and working the entire week! LOL. I still have a ton of work to do for my university and will be working pretty much straight through today and tomorrow between planning, and mini work sessions. BUT, I am still stoked about how much I got done this weekend, and how much at ease I feel for this week. It was perfect timing after completing my student teaching last week! I am one step closer to completing the program and getting my residency certification! Can I get a “whoop whoop”?! 🙂

So, I’m not sure what is up with our condo, but it seems to be perfect for over ripening bananas! I no sooner get my bananas home and they are turning spotty. No joke! Sometimes even within a day or two, even if I bring them home slightly green. Anyway, I get tired of repurposing the inedible bananas in the form of banana bread or muffins. My husband suggested banana cupcakes this time! I found this recipe and it is great. I loved the idea of a banana cupcake, I feel that it at least makes it a little healthier. {A girl can dream, right?} And the frosting?! OH the frosting. DELISH.

The only strange thing is that it was very thin, almost too thin to pipe even after refrigerating for an hour! I would suggest adding some additional cream cheese and butter, or omitting part of the honey and/or vanilla, to keep from thinning out too much. But if you don’t care how they look, follow as is, the frosting is to die for!

Chocolate and Honey Banana Mini Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ž tsp baking soda
  • Âź tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup banana puree, mashed with a fork (about 2 large or 3 small overripe bananas)
  • ½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Âź cup packed light brown sugar
  • Âź cup honey
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely grated

For the frosting:

  • 9 tbsp (1 stick + 1 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • Âź cup + 2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • Âź cup + 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 scant tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F. Line cupcake tins with mini cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl or measuring cup, combine the banana puree, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer for a few seconds, until creamy. Gradually add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the honey and continue mixing for another 2 or 3 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the banana mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape the bowl as necessary, and beat only enough to incorporate the ingredients after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the grated chocolate just until combined.
  5. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full with batter. I like to use a cookie scoop, this seems to be about the perfect amount.
  6. Bake the cupcakes for about 15-18 minutes, until the cupcakes are puffed, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Another way to test this is to tap the top of the cupcake, if it feels springy, its ready to come out!

Make the frosting:

  1. In a small bowl, using electric beaters, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, using the same beaters (no need to wash them) beat the cream cheese with the light brown sugar until light, creamy, and completely lump-free. Beat in the honey and vanilla extract. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the creamed butter just until the ingredients are combined, should take less than a minute. Transfer the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe a rosette over the top of each cupcake. Refrigerate to firm up the frosting a bit, for about 20 minutes or so.
  3. The cupcakes can be made a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. Remove the cupcakes from the fridge 30 minutes prior the serving time.

Source & recipe {very} slightly adapted from: Baking Obsession

Yum! I hope you enjoy!

By the way, if you haven’t already, be sure to head on over to my official Facebook page! {Santies Sunnyside Up} I have quite the little science experiment going on in my kitchen. For a sneak peek, head on over to the Facebook page, and click “like”!!

Best wishes for a fabulous week!

Ciao!

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Birthday mission: Creamsicle Cupcakes!

Today is my birthday! Woo hoo! 🙂

I have done tons of research the past few weeks to find the *perfect* birthday treat. I decided a while ago that I need a tropical vacation, life is so busy right now I want to scream at times, and our weather is disgusting! So, I figured, what better way to get a vacation than through a dreamy cupcake?! 😉 I was torn between these creamsicle cupcakes and a pina colada cupcake. I fell in love with this creamsicle cupcake because it is filled with a creamy vanilla mousse. It sounded so good!

And you know what?

IT IS.

🙂

Well, off to birthday dinner. Enjoy the cupcakes!

Creamsicle Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3 large eggs, best if not refrigerator cold
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of pure orange extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk, best if not refrigerator cold

Vanilla Mousse Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (4 serving) package vanilla Instant Pudding Mix (not Cook & Serve)

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • orange sprinkles or sanding sugar, if desired

Directions:
*Note: This recipe makes twice as much mousse as you need for filling the cupcakes. If you want to use half the pudding pack and save the rest for later, just measure it out and do so. Or use the extra mousse for another project (you know, like eating it with a spoon).

  1. Make cupcakes: Line two muffin tins with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate, medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light, fluffy, and pale yellow. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating after each, and then beat in the vanilla and orange extract. Add the dry ingredients in, alternating with the milk, in three additions. Begin and end by adding the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically.
    Fill the paper liners about 2/3 full of batter and bake cupcakes for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Remove cupcakes from the oven and let cool completely.
  2. Make mousse: To make the vanilla mousse, combine milk, cream, and pudding mix in a medium bowl. Beat with a mixer until you reach soft peaks, or a thick whipped cream consistency (this takes a few minutes). Refrigerate mousse until you’re ready to use it.
  3. Make frosting: To make the frosting, cream butter and cream cheese together until fluffy in a large bowl. Add extracts and mix. Add sugar gradually, mixing as you go, and then beat the frosting until smooth and creamy. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth until ready to use.
  4. Assemble cupcakes:  To fill the cupcakes, use the Cone Method: cut an upside-down cone out of the top of each one. Cut off the tip of the cone (and eat it, if you wish) leaving just the “lid.” Fill the cavity with mousse using a piping bag or zip-top bag with the corner cut off, and then replace the “lid” to give you a relatively smooth surface to frost. Use a piping bag or zip-top bag to pipe on the frosting. Sprinkle on orange sanding sugar, if desired.

Source & Recipe: Willow Bird Baking, originally adapted from My Baking Addiction

41/52: Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes

I am so excited to share my first autumn recipe with you all! I am welcoming autumn with open arms this year. I am so excited for fall flavors and colorful leaves. And my puppy’s first birthday! Yes – I’m that puppy parent… I am pretty sure you will be seeing a “birthday” post in the very near future. His birthday is October 22! Speaking of my little ball of hair, he was just oh so cute yesterday. I was photographing my cupcakes for this blog entry and my little dude was just being so cute, I couldn’t resist a mini photo shoot. He is such a good sport – he totally poses for me. 🙂

And then, once I was uploading the pictures, I couldn’t help but make a super cute collage with the photos, and then I couldn’t help setting it as my desktop.

See?! I told you. I am totally that puppy parent. Haha. On to the cupcakes!

I have been chomping at the bit to make my first fall recipe. But, life has been crazy and there hasn’t been much time for baking. The other night I didn’t really have any homework that was due the next day and my husband was craving something home-baked. My first thought?! These cupcakes. Oh my gosh. I made these last year and posted them on the blog I was working on at that time. And actually, as I think about it, this was the very first recipe I made in my Kitchenaid standup mixer. They were absolutely amazing last year and equally as amazing this year. I will *NEVER* search for another pumpkin cupcake recipe for as long as I live, that is how good this recipe is! And so simple! Love, love, love. Moist, slightly spicy and pumpkin-ey… perfection!

The only change I made was to the frosting, it was too thin and I wanted it just slightly sweeter.

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Âź tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Âź tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs

For the frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3
½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixture on low-speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.

Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans and let cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Source and Recipe: Annie’s Eats, originally Williams Sonoma, Frosting slightly adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Seriously… try these. If I could figure out how to duplicate this recipe for any cupcake flavor I would do it, that is how moist and delicious these are! Plus, look at how cute they are. I love opening my fridge and seeing these cuties.

24/52: Life revamp & Bridal Shower Cupcakes

If you know me, it is not surprise to hear I am a creature of routine. I love getting up every morning with my husband, getting him off to work and then going about my day. I love going to work every morning… Even if I don’t want to work, the simple process of getting ready and accomplishing something during the day is fabulous. It gives me purpose. I had anticipated that I’d have to get used to a new routine once I started school. But I am shocked at how crazy my life has felt for the past week! Not only am I not in a routine at home yet (juggling laundry, cooking, cleaning and most importantly homework) I am struggling to get my brain movin’ again. My academic critical thinking skills definitely are getting a “tune-up” right now. 😉 I am just hoping that I get back into a routine soon, I hate feeling disorganized!

Needless to say, this week has been one full of adjustment and my blog somewhat suffered! I posted a short, sweet inspirational post last week because I was busy baking for my bestie’s bridal shower… And well, this week I haven’t had time until now. On the positive – thank goodness for 4 day class weeks so I can play catch up!

This week I bring you Rachel’s bridal shower cupcakes! These have been a on-going recipe experiment. I think I finally found a combination I like. I guess as the saying goes “third time’s the charm”! The first time around my inspiration was a flavor concept, so I googled multiple recipes. I wanted a coconut cupcake with coconut buttercream. The recipe was semi-homemade and the frosting was overly sweet. The second time around I made them for my bridal shower. I wanted to bake and just baked the flavor I was asked to. When it came time for Rachel’s shower I gave her a ling list of flavor options but she wanted coconut! This time I decided to make the frosting  on a whim and we decided to pair it with a vanilla and/or chocolate cupcake to bring out the coconut flavor more. And you know what? I loved them!! They were delicious and a big hit at the shower. Yum! Enjoy!!


Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes

The dark chocolate cupcake is the same recipe that I used on my Dark Chocolate Mini Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream  post {And were originally from Brown Eyed Baker}, with the addition of 1/4 tsp of espresso powder to emphasize the chocolate flavor. The vanilla cupcake recipe can be found on one of my favorite blogs, Brown Eyed Baker.

Coconut Buttercream

*Enough to frost 12 cupcakes or so, double if you are making more than 12

2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
3-5 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 T Coconut extract
Heavy cream, at room temperature {Cold milk or cream added to frosting can cause curdling}

Start by creaming the butter in the bowl of a standup mixer with the paddle attachment. Cream until light and fluffy {a few minutes}. Add 2-3 cups of the confectioner’s sugar to start, continue adding until the consistency is very, very thick {This will vary for everyone on multiple factors}. Beat until all ingredients are completely incorporated and smooth. Add the coconut extract {I would start by adding half the extract and then adding more to taste} and beat on medium until the frosting is smooth and well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add a small amount of the heavy cream to somewhat thin the frosting to a medium {piping} consistency. Once you have added enough heavy cream for your desired consistency, whip the frosting on medium-high until extremely fluffy. Add to piping bag and decorate!

The finished product!

Have fun decorating… I decorated them three different ways to add some flair, some are decorated like snow balls with shaved coconut and some are decorated simply with pearl sprinkles. Get creative and have fun. 🙂

Happy Friday – everyone enjoy your weekend and don’t forget to celebrate all of those awesome dads out there!

21/52: Dark Chocolate Mini Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

Wow! It has been a crazy week. I am absolutely exhausted from balancing everything in my personal life, work life and getting ready for school. But alas, tomorrow is my last day at work. It’s a strange feeling. Tomorrow is a day that has kept me going for the past three weeks. Through the stress and the anxiety, through the emotional and the exhaustion. But the fact that it is right around the corner (literally, hours) is a very indescribable feeling. I am sure tomorrow will be a day of tears. My office has become a large portion of my life and it will be a huge adjustment to not have them right there every day. But, the transition will be slightly easier since I get to attend the work outing next week! 🙂

Well – as you all know I love to bake. My friend and co-worker Natalie also loves to bake. We always like to bring our goodies in to the office for all to taste (and mostly so we aren’t tempted to eat the entire quantity of our kitchen experiments!). Since I am leaving this week, I found it only fitting to bake up a little lovin’ for the office. Are you ready for this? Are you sure? Okay then. Keep reading!

I am so excited to share this delicious recipe with you all! Eeeeeeek!

So, when it comes to dessert, I love a wide variety of flavors. There are very few that I will turn my nose up to. But you know you can never go wrong with the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. Never. Ever. Ever. Recently my hubby ordered one of those adorable little mini cupcakes that Starbucks is selling now. It was their chocolate peanut butter cupcake. And, while I thought it was decent, I wasn’t that impressed. Probably because I have had my eye on this delicious recipe for quite some time. I finally got the chance to make it and ever since, I’ve been kicking myself for waiting so long! The one change I did make was to the frosting. The Starbucks cupcake was too peanut butter-y. It almost tasted straight out of a jar. I wanted a sweet, yet not over powering peanut butter buttercream. So, I made a few adjustments to the recipe and I have changed those in the recipe below.

Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Mini Cupcakes

8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder {yes this makes a difference}
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F. (If you are using a non-stick muffin pan, heat the oven to 325 degrees F.) Line standard-size muffin pan with baking cup liners.

2. Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. (Alternately, you can microwave the mixture at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.) Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.

3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.

4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogeneous and thick.

5. Divide the batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 12 to 14 minutes.

6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.

Source: Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

Peanut Butter Buttercream

1-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the butter and peanut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low-speed until creamy. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and salt, beat on low-speed until it starts to incorporate. Continue adding confectioners’ sugar until the desired sweetness. Add the heavy cream and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Source & Recipe: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Fluffy peanut buttery goodness. These seriously taste and smell like Rieces pieces… Oh man. I will be making these again soon!! They are decadent.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday tomorrow!