Sunday, July 7, 2013

Banana Split Cupcakes

     Getting little kids to behave is difficult.  Especially when you're dealing with my little bro, Aideng.  I've managed to gain some respect from him, though, and he kind of listens to me sometimes.  After four years of taking him to the playground and battling him with Nerf swords, we're like best buds.

       I have this reward system going where Aideng gets a sticker to put in his sticker book every time he does something good, and when he gets ten stickers, he gets a prize.  This time I got him a water slide, because I remember I loved those when I was younger.  With that added to the water guns he's collected and the water balloons he's been treasuring for so long, it was the perfect time for a water party on my front lawn.

      So Aideng and his little four-year-old buddy spent an afternoon sliding around a sixteen-foot waterslide and pelting each other with water balloons.  Afterwards, they ate these cupcakes.

      These cupcakes are perfect for Aideng, because he loves chocolate and sprinkles and cherries.  I think he liked them, because he actually finished a whole cupcake this time.  I made these cupcakes to reminisce a banana split, which I actually haven't had in a long time.  They just look so cheery and make me think of summer.

      These are banana cupcakes filled with a fudge brownie, topped with strawberry whipped cream frosting, dipped in semisweet chocolate ganache, rolled in crushed graham crackers, and then topped with more frosting, sprinkles, and a maraschino cherry.  It has all the flavors you would expect to find in a banana split, and all you need is the ice cream.  Trust me, it's not as complicated as it sounds.  Here's what you do:

First, you make a batch of fudge brownie batter. I used half of the Baked brownie recipe, which is my favorite.  It's the same brownie I used here for the nutella swirl brownies I made, except without the nutella part and I took out the espresso powder.
Then, half bake the brownies in a mini muffin pan. Just bake them for five minutes, until the edges are a little dry.  You only need 18 brownie bites, so the rest of the batter you can fully bake for delicious brownies.  These are literally half-baked, so to fully bake them, just double the baking time to 10 minutes.
Flip the pan over and tap it a few times to get the brownies out. Let them cool for a couple of minutes, then place them on some wax paper and freeze them until solid.  
Next, make the banana cupcake batter.  Sift together the dry ingredients. 
Puree or mash ripe bananas. 
Cream together butter and sugar, and then beat in milk, eggs, and vanilla. 
Alternate stirring in the flour and banana to the butter mixture. 
Then, fill liners half way with batter.
Take a cold brownie and place it on top.  Freezing the brownie keeps it from  over-baking the second time in the oven so that it stays fudgy and moist, like the hot fudge in a banana split.  The banana cupcake batter is also thick enough so that the brownie won't just sink to the bottom of the cupcake.
Put another scoop of cupcake batter on top so that it covers the brownie.  
Bake the cupcakes until golden brown.  No sign of the brownie, see?
And let them cool.
To make the strawberry whipped cream frosting, start by creaming together cream cheese, sugar, salt, and stawberry jam. Then whip whipped cream in a separate, chilled bowl to stiff peaks. 

Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until thoroughly combined.  The frosting is the consistency of ice cream, and tastes like the whipped cream and strawberry sauce you find on a banana split. 
Next, make a simple chocolate ganache with semi-sweet chocolate. 
Crumble some graham crackers (I had a few left over from my recent camping trip).
Decorating the cupcake is like making a banana split.  First, scoop some ice cream onto the cupcake and  spread it around.  Refrigerate the cupcake for about ten minutes. 
Dip the frosting into the warm ganache. 
Roll the edges of the cupcake in graham cracker bits.  Then, refrigerate the cupcakes until the chocolate sets.
Pipe some some frosting on top.
And then just add sprinkles and a cherry.

Banana Split Cupcakes

makes 18 decorated cupcakes
banana cupcake recipe adapted from Baking Bites, brownie recipe adapted from Baked


For the brownie:
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
5.5 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature (technically, you should use 2.5 eggs, but 3 eggs is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the banana cupcake:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
1 1/4 cup mashed or pureed banana (about 2-1/2 large bananas)
For the strawberry whipped cream frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup strawberry jam
2 cups heavy whipping cream
For finishing:
4 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 graham crackers, finely crumbled
rainbow sprinkles
18 maraschino cherries 


  1. Make the brownie. Preheat the oven to 350*F. Spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick spray. Whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder in a small bowl.  In a large heat-proof bowl, melt the chocolate and butter over a pot of simmering water, stirring until smooth.  Turn off the heat.  Gently stir in the sugars, then take the bowl off the pot.  Stir in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.  Fill 18 cups of the muffin pan with about a teaspoon of batter, and bake for 5 minutes, until the edges are a little dry but the center is still moist.  Flip the pan over onto a cooling rack and tap to remove the brownies.  Let brownies cool, then place on wax paper and freeze for at least one hour.  For extra batter, bake in muffin pan for 10 minutes.
  2. Make the cupcake batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  Then beat in the eggs, one at a time, and stir in the milk and vanilla. Add half of the flour mixture and stir until combined.  Stir in the banana puree, and then the rest of the flour until no streaks of flour remain.  
  3. Bake the cupcake.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a standard muffin pan with paper liners.  Fill liners halfway with cupcake batter.  Then place a frozen half-baked brownie on top.  Cover the brownie with another scoop of batter.  Bake for 18 minutes, until golden brown, and then place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. Make the frosting.  Place a glass bowl in a freezer for at least ten minutes, or until chilled.  Place the whipping cream in the chilled bowl and whip on high speed until stiff.  In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese, sugar, salt, vanilla, and jam, until well combined.  Fold in the whipping cream.
  5. Prepare the assembly.  Place the semisweet chocolate in a small bowl.  Bring the heavy cream to a simmer, and then pour over the chocolate.  Stir until smooth and set aside.  Place the crumbled graham crackers in another small bowl.  
  6. Assemble. Take a small scoop of frosting and spread on a cupcake in a mound shape; repeat with the rest of the cupcakes.  Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes.  Dip the frosting into the warm chocolate ganache, then roll the edges of the cupcake in graham cracker crumbs. Refrigerate for a few minutes, until the chocolate sets.  Pipe a small swirl of frosting on top of the ganache.  Decorate with sprinkles and a cherry. Refrigerate until serving.

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