Every once in a while I get an overwhelming urge to bake something. Usually that something involves frosting. (What can I say? I was a child who’d eat the frosted top half of the cupcake and discard the cake-only bottom half!) When the urge hits, my brain goes in a million different directions contemplating what I should make and what to put in it.. the downside is that we usually do not have all of the ingredients needed to make whatever it is I want first. A problem, you say? Of course not! This is when I begin to haphazardly “forage” through the cupboards for undiscovered goodies. I find all kinds of random food items that I’d completely forgotten we had and use them as a basis for the recipe.
Last night was indeed one of those times, and a particularly indecisive one at that. What did I want? Well, cupcakes.. I knew that for sure. But what kind? Hmm.. [opens up the baking cupboard].. chocolate chip with vanilla frosting? [keeps digging through bags from the bulk bin] .. Chocolate with candied ginger? [pulls out mystery bag] Oh.. what’s this? Banana chips! Oh, definitely using the banana chips!
Okay, so it was decided. Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, topped with banana chips. I had one problem: We didn’t have any cocoa powder. I turned to the good ‘ol Google search to find out if I could use melted chocolate chips instead, and the general consensus was “maybe.” I decided to just try it and go for it – nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
I’m sure you can tell by now that my experiment was a success! I made a half batch of the recipe (primarily because there’s 2 of us here, and also because I didn’t want to waste a whole batch if they turned out gross.)
I started with the basic vanilla cake recipe and modified it by adding 2 oz. of melted Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chocolate chips, and a half of a mashed banana. Overall, I would say these needed more chocolate, and maaaybe a little more banana. I can’t decide if I liked the light taste of the banana and just
needed wanted more chocolate (because really, who doesn’t?) or if the sugary sweet frosting was just a little too overpowering compared to the cake part. I’m not sure. It’s still a toss up. I suppose cocoa powder would have added a more intense chocolate flavor, but then I would decidedly need to add more banana. Either way, they still tasted delicious!
Here’s the basic vanilla cake recipe; it’s the same one that I used for the lemon curd stuffed cupcakes. I used a half batch of this recipe, and added about 1/4 C. more flour, 2 oz. melted chocolate chips plus 1/2 of a banana, mashed. I’ll add bold notes where I added both of those ingredients.
* Cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan (carefully) and finish cooling on a wire rack.
* Frost as desired when fully cool.
I made a peanut butter frosting for these. Honestly, I have a bad habit of not measuring out my frosting ingredients at all. I know I started with 2 TB softened butter and mixed it on high speed with about 1/2 C smooth peanut butter. Then I alternated adding powdered sugar and milk until it reached the fluffy consistency that I wanted. Eyeballing it, it was around 2 C powdered sugar and 1/4 C milk. But don’t go by my guidelines if you’re not experienced with making frostings and want a perfect recipe!
While I was waiting for the cupcakes to cool, I melted a little bit of the chocolate chips and drizzled some of it with a spoon onto waxed paper (decorative shapes!) Since I don’t have one of those lovely perfect WIDE frosting tips, I just used a big piece of wrapped up parchment paper to make a piping bag to frost the cupcakes. The last step was to top each one with the chocolate shape and a banana chip. Ta-da! Tasty.
By the way, while I was making these I found more coconut in the cupboard and a lime in my fridge.. and almost abandoned the whole thing to make vanilla coconut lime cupcakes. Oh well, there’s always next time!