Banana Nutella Cupcakes

I’ve just had an idea…if banana + peanut butter are good on toast and banana + nutella are good on toast, how about all 3??  Breakfast is sorted for tomorrow!

I will admit now to slathering extra nutella and peanut butter on top of one these cupcakes…don’t judge 🙂

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I have a nutella banana treat for you today, in the form of banana cupcakes with a nutella swirl.  You all know how much I love peanut butter & banana (and apple & cinnamon. And peanut butter & jam. And…you get the picture :D), but banana & nutella is definitely in the top 3 favourites (ok, maybe top 5 :-)).

Anyone notice the heart swirl in the picture below?  I’d like to say I did it on purpose…

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These cupcakes start with a straightforward cupcake base, with a few delicious add-ins 🙂  Start in the regular way by creaming butter and sugar until pale and soft (about 3 minutes, I used a handmixer).  Beat in your eggs, one at a time.  The mixture shouldn’t curdle, but if it looks like it’s going to, add in a small amount of the flour.  Next, fold in the dry ingredients, which include cinnamon.  I freaking love cinnamon.  Particularly in any sort of banana cake 🙂  The baking powder and self raising flour makes these little cakes amazingly light, even though they contain banana.

Now.  I’m going to make a suggestion that I didn’t actually do when making these cupcakes (but it’s a good idea, promise!)  Slightly warm the Nutella before swirling it into the top of the cupcakes.  As the kitchen was pretty cold when I made these, the Nutella was solid.  Solid Nutella + swirling = not such a good idea 🙂  These cupcakes still taste great though and will keep for 2-3 days (but are best enjoyed soon after baking!)

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Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes):

  • 175g unsalted soft butter
  • 175g caster sugar (superfine)
  • 175g self-raising flour (or all-purpose)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder (or 2 tsp if using all-purpose flour)
  • Nutella (enough for 12 teaspoons)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas 4/180C.  Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes using a handmixer)
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.  Fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the mashed banana.
  4. Fill the cases 2/3 full with the cake batter.  Place a teaspoon of Nutella on top and swirl gently with a toothpick or knife.  Bake for around 20 minutes or until well risen and golden.  Try not to eat straight out of the oven 🙂

Lemon curd cupcakes

Those of you that have been following my blog for the past few months, will know that I have a peanut butter problem.  A fairly serious one, that involves me going to the peanut butter cupboard (yes, it has its own cupboard :-)) on a regular basis to eat it from the jar.  I can’t quite believe that when I was younger, I hated the stuff 😀  Anyway, as it turns out, I have another problem.  A lemon curd problem.  If you haven’t seen my recipe for microwave lemon curd, have a look here.  It’s so easy and once you’ve made your own once, there’s no going back!  I have big plans this year for making other fruit curds, such as orange, lime and passionfruit.  I shall of course, include the recipes on the blog 🙂

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Today’s recipe uses lemon curd to great effect.  It’s my basic cupcake recipe, jazzed up with the use of lots of lemon flavour.  The finished cake is soft and tastes sharp and sweet at the same time.  This mainly due to the addition of some lemon curd to the cake batter, which adds greatly to the lemon flavour and the moistness of the finished cake.  I finished off the cupcakes with a lemon glaze.  This had the added bonus of meaning there was no wasted fruit, as I used the lemon zest in the cake batter and the juice for the glaze.

Lemony loveliness!

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Ingredients (makes 10-12 cupcakes):

  • 6oz soft margarine
  • 6oz caster sugar
  • 6oz self-raising flour (or plain/all-purpose flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (or 2 1/2 tsp if using plain flour)
  • 3 eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon curd (+ 6 tsp extra)

For glaze:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Icing sugar (confectioners sugar) – enough to make a thick (but pourable) glaze

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas 5/190C.  Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
  2. Place all ingredients (apart from the extra lemon curd) in a mixing bowl.  Using an electric mixer, mix together until ingredients are just combined.  Don’t overmix at this stage, as it can make the finished cake dry.
  3. Fill the cupcake cases around 2/3 full (they will rise quite a lot).  Place 1/2 tsp of lemon curd in the top of each mixture.
  4. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and are firm to the touch.  Cool on a cooling rack.
  5. To make the glaze; mix the lemon juice with enough icing sugar to make a thick (but spoonable) glaze.  Drizzle this over the cupcakes.

Gingerbread cupcakes with lemon icing

It rained last weekend.  A lot.  Apart from Mr Baking-Joy insisting I join him on a (very wet) walk, I planted my feet firmly inside the house.  This meant I had a great excuse (as if I need one!) for baking lots.  I mentioned in my last blog post that I love Christmas and one of the most evocative Christmas smells to me is gingerbread.  I love the stuff 🙂  I have a lovely recipe for black beer gingerbread which I’ll be making soon and I also want a bundt tin to try a great looking gingerbread bundt cake.  The subject of today’s recipe though is cupcakes.  This recipe produces a very wet batter, which in turn makes the finished cupcakes fantastically moist.  They would be lovely without any adornments, but the addition of lemon icing here takes them up another level!  Gingerbread and lemon is one of those slightly unusual combinations, but definitely works 🙂

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The moistness of the cupcakes makes them last really well…but they probably won’t be around for long 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg + one large egg yolk
  • 125ml treacle
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125ml hot milk
  • Juice of 1 lemon (icing)
  • 200g icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas 4/180C.  Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl.  Add the treacle, egg and egg yolk and beat together.
  3. In another bowl, sift the flour and add the spices, cocoa powder and salt.  Mix the dry ingredients together.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the creamed sugar/treacle mixture.  Don’t overmix as this will make the finished cakes heavy.
  5. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda into the hot milk and pour the milk into the cake batter.  Mix this in until fully incorporated.
  6. Fill the cupcake cases 3/4 full with mixture and bake for 20 minutes, until springy to the touch.
  7. Cool on a wire rack until ready for the icing.  Sift icing sugar into a bowl and add the lemon juice.  Mix until smooth, the icing should be spreadable but not too runny.
  8. Dollop icing onto cupcakes neatly (if you can, I have never managed this skill!)

Chocolate Cointreau cupcakes

Here, as promised, are my chocolate Cointreau cupcakes 🙂  I’ve been having baking withdrawal, having last baked something on Sunday(!), so despite the lack of natural light available for photographing my baking efforts, I decided to make these cupcakes this evening.  I stopped off at the supermarket to gather supplies and was very excited by what I found in the baking aisle…

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Orange flavoured buttons, pink cupcake cases and pink sparkles = a happy Joy 🙂  The cupcakes are (were) very yummy and were barely iced before Mr Baking-Joy had eaten two!  The recipe uses a chocolate ganache to ice the cakes and the cook’s perk is obviously to eat any left overs (make extra is my advice :-))

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Ingredients:

For the cakes (makes around 12):

  • 6oz margarine (I use Stork)
  • 6oz caster sugar
  • 5oz self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1oz cocoa powder (I use Green & Black’s), sifted
  • grated rind of 1 orange
  • 50g dark chocolate chips

For the ganache:

  • 100ml double cream
  • 75g orange chocolate
  • 25g dark chocolate
  • Half a capful of Cointreau

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas6/220C.  Line a cupcake tin with paper cases.
  2. Place all cake ingredients (apart from chocolate chips) in a large bowl and mix together until just combined, using an electric mixer or a wooden spoon.
  3. Fold in chocolate chips.  Fill paper cases about halfway with mixture.  Place in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, until cakes are risen and spring back when pressed lightly.
  4. Let cakes cool on a wire rack, whilst you make the ganache.  To make the ganache…put double cream, Cointreau and chocolate into a saucepan and heat gently (don’t boil).  The chocolate will melt in the cream and look grainy.  Don’t panic!  Keep stirring and you will end up with a smooth chocolate sauce.  Let the ganache cool for a few minutes.
  5. Spread ganache over cakes and leave for a while to set (if you can!).  Eat remaining ganache 🙂  The ganache will remain quite soft.  Decorate cake with chocolate buttons if you like.  I found these orange flavoured ones 🙂

I’ve noticed that I’ve been writing my sponge based recipes in ounces.  I think this is habit and also from using my mum’s classic scales when I was younger 🙂  I will make this recipe again at some point soon, in order to use natural light and I’ve also had the thought of using a Cointreau/orange juice sugar syrup to soak the cakes in whilst they’re cooling…