Monday, August 29, 2016

Banana & strawberry cupcakes

August 21-22, 2016

My job is now split over two campuses - I've got some lovely new officemates and we've all moved into a newly refurbished workroom together. Our supervisor invited the rest of the department around for an office-warming morning tea, and our team all agreed to bring along snacks to share.

I first baked a tray of gluten-free, vegan caramel slice to ensure that most special-diet bases were covered. Then I moved onto using up some bananas in a cupcake recipe that I've had bookmarked for 8 years. With eggs and vegetable oil and fresh strawberries folded through perhaps it's more of a muffin recipe, except that the 'muffins' are spread with cream cheese frosting. I slathered the frosting on generously with a knife (no piping for me), and added some sprinkles on top for decoration. I had almost a cup of leftover frosting, which I enjoyed eating with fresh strawberries over the following week.

I like the flavour combination of sweet bananas and strawberries offset with a little tanginess from lemon zest and cream cheese. It was very popular with my colleagues too!

Banana & strawberry cupcakes
(slightly adapted from a recipe on Vanilla Garlic)

3 cups plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
generous pinch salt
3 small bananas, peeled
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 cup sunflower oil
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup strawberries, chopped

1/2 cup butter, softened
250g cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat an oven to 180°C. Place cupcake papers in a cupcake tray.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate large bowl, mash the bananas and the vanilla together. Crack the eggs in one at a time and whisk them through. Whisk in the oil and lemon zest until well combined. Gradually stir in the flour mixture, and then fold in the strawberries.

Spoon the cake batter into the cupcake papers to three-quarters full. (I made 16 cupcakes, and so used up the mixture over two separate baking batches.) Bake the cupcakes until a skewer comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Allow the cupcakes to cool before frosting them. This is a good time to take the butter and cream cheese out of the fridge to soften.

With an electric beater, whip together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla until fluffy. Sift and beat in the icing sugar, half a cup at a time until well mixed and fluffy. Beat in a little milk if the frosting looks too stiff to spread. Use a knife to spread the cooled cupcakes generously with frosting. Store cupcakes in the fridge, but allow them half an hour on the bench before eating.

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