I had planned to get all festive for Halloween and bake something pumpkiny to eat while I watch some scary(ish) films later on, and maybe even share them with trick-or-treaters. So... I decided on pumpkin cupcakes. I know cupcakes are a reoccurring feature at the moment - but I just love them - they are delicious and look way nicer than muffins or any other baked goods without icing on top!
I mentioned to some friends over the weekend that I would be baking pumpkin cupcakes and to my surprise I got reactions of shock and disgust. I never tasted pumpkin before but after listening to tales of horrible tasting pumpkin pies and the likes, I quickly decided to shelve the pumpkin idea. And I moved on to the idea of ginger cupcakes which I thought would still be Halloweeny. Then I realised this morning I didn't have the ginger that was required and with the Dublin marathon going past our road I was trapped inside without any ginger stems! So after much deliberating and then coming across a nice ripe bunch of bananas I settled on Chocolate and Banana cupcakes! These are going to be the new Halloween flavour of choice - I'm sure it will catch on. Once they were baked and iced I just sprinkled them with orange stuff and the odd ghost and ta da! I now have Halloween cupcakes! I'm hoping we don't get many trick or treaters - they taste that delicious!
And with all the junk everyone eats around Hallloween these lovely things have the added benefit of providing you with potassium! Got to love bananas - one of the best fruits ever! And when combined with chocolate: just perfect. Hope I've convinced you enough to try and make a batch so you can enjoy these yourself!
Here's how to make them....
Makes 12 cupcakes (according to the book, but I somehow had way more mixture and was able to make a whole load of mini cupcakes with the remainder!)
- 125g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 250g caster sugar
- 2 eggs, free-range or organic (slightly beaten)
- 1 tea-spoon good-quality vanilla extract
- 250g plain flour (sifted)
- 2 teaspoons baking poweder
- 4 ripe banans (mashed with a fork)
- 175g good-quality 70%cocoa solids dark chocolate (chopped into small pieces)
- Chocolate buttercream icing to decorate (recipe below)
- Preheat the oven to 160(fan)/180C/350F/gas mark 4
- Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake cases
- In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth, which should take 3-5 minutes using an electric hand mixer
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat again briefly
- Add the flour and baking powder and beat again until well combined
- Stir in the mashed bananas and chocolate pieces using a wooden spoon
- Carefully spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about two-thirds full
- Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes (If you are doing mini ones bake for 15 minutes)
- To check they are cooked, insert a skewer in the centre of one of the cakes - it should come out clean
- Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about 10 minutes before carefully placing on a wire rack to cool
Now for the chocolate buttercream icing!
Makes enough to ice 15-20 regular or 60 mini cupcakes
- 175g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon semi skimmed milk (at room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon good-quality vanilla extract
- 250g icing sugar
- Melt the chocolate in a heatproofglass bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water
- Stir occasionally until it has completely melted and is quite smooth
- Leave to cool slightly
- In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, milk, vanilla and icing sugar until smooth - this can take several minutes with an electric hand mixer
- Add the melted chocolate and beat again until thick and creamy
- If it looks too runny, simply keep beating as this will thicken the icing and improve its consistency
I got the recipe from my favourite cupcake book Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery. I think I love it so much because anything I make from it turns out delicious! Which surprises me every time because I use to be such a disastrous baker!