Adventures of a Cake Diva

A Blog About Adventures in Baking and Cake Decorating

Banana Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream: My Kind of Comfort Food 06/30/2013

Filed under: Baking,Cupcakes,Recipes — acakediva @ 9:45 PM
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Banana Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream

   I had a vision for these cupcakes.  I knew exactly how I wanted someone to feel when they ate one. Comfy. Cozy. And a bit nostalgic. This banana cupcake, at least in my mind, is the perfect comfort food.  With every bite, it reminds me of coming home after school as a kid and enjoying a piece of snack cake.

Banana Cupcake with Mocha Buttercream2

   But, I also wanted to add a bit of a spin to it, too. Something that is a bit unexpected for a banana cake. Here’s where the mocha comes into play.  The flavor of the buttercream is a bit of a tease.  It smells like chocolate.  When it first crosses your palate, it tastes like chocolate, but then the hints of mocha begin to tickle your taste buds.  And the cupcake?  Let me tell you about this cupcake….


   I’ve tried many banana cake recipes, but they have always been a major disappointment.  I’ve even tried to create a couple of my own versions, with no luck.  With all of these other recipes, I’ve always felt like I was eating a piece of banana bread.  Way too dense.  Rest assured that this recipe has the taste and texture of a cake with a good banana flavor.  Come to think of it, this recipe would make a lovely little snack cake with a Penuche frosting, too.  I’ll have to give that one a try, sometime very soon.

Banana Cupcakes

For the cupcakes, I used the “Best Ever Banana Cake” recipe by Rhonda J on  CLICK HERE for recipe.  I didn’t change a thing, which is pretty rare for me.

Mocha Buttercream

A Cakediva Original Recipe

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 teaspoons of instant coffee granules

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

4 tablespoons of shortening

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

In a small bowl, combine milk and instant coffee granules, stir, and set aside.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder.  Whisk together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  Set aside.  In the mixing bowl of your KitchenAid fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and shortening until they are smooth and creamy.  Turn down the speed of your KitchenAid to a 2 or 3.  Add the extracts.  Add the powdered sugar/cocoa mixture, one cup at a time.  Using a spatula, scrape down after each addition.  Add 3-4 tablespoons of the milk/coffee mixture until it has combined with the buttercream.  (Do not add all of the milk mixture!)  Lastly, take a wooden spoon or spatula and stir (by hand) to eliminate any air bubbles.


Dark Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes 12/02/2012

Dark Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

   Sometimes, I think food (much like art), imitates life.  Or, maybe it’s just that these Dark Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes seem to imitate my life at this moment.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Cupcake

   There are some things that, at first blush, might not make sense together.  Take, for example, dark chocolate and coconut.  These flavors aren’t paired together frequently. But, as I took a bite of one of these dreamy cupcakes, I wondered how dark chocolate has gotten along all this time without coconut by its side.  Yes, I’m still taking about cupcakes.

Trio of Dark Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

   These rich, but not too rich, dark chocolate cupcakes are very moist.  They are perfectly paired with this creamy coconut buttercream.  I can’t decide what I love more about this frosting—the creamy depth of the coconut milk, or the earthy, crunchy bits of toasted coconut mixed with sweet shredded coconut. Each of these flavors stand on its own beautifully.  Yet, when you put them together, holy smokes.  They just make delicious sense.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from: Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup dark cocoa (I used Hershey’s “Special Dark” Cocoa)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup hot, freshly brewed coffee

   Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Whisk together in a large bowl the sugar, flour, dark cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Then, add the eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla.  Beat the batter with your mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  Lastly, stir in the hot coffee.  Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full with batter.  (Do not over-fill.)  Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting the cupcakes.

Coconut Buttercream
 Adapted from: Baked Perfection

2 sticks of butter, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

5 cups powdered sugar, sifted

6 tablespoons coconut milk

pinch of salt

   Beat the butter, vanilla, and almond extract until creamy.  Continue beating the mixture while adding the salt and coconut milk.  Then, add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.  Lastly, before using, take a rubber spatula and stir the frosting thoroughly to eliminate any air bubbles.

Coconut Garnish

3/4 cup of toasted coconut  (Click HERE to learn how.)

3/4 shredded coconut

   Place both types of coconut into a bowl and toss with your hands.  Place a generous amount on top of frosted cupcakes.  Enjoy!


Ginger Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting 11/23/2012

     A couple of years ago, I received a blank journal from my sister.  It’s become my cake journal, where I collect some of the ideas that are floating around in my head.  For a while, I’ve had penned in this book to take my favorite carrot cake recipe and add freshly grated ginger.  But, it wasn’t until this week that I knew it was time to give this a try.

    Sometimes, inspiration strikes in the most unlikely of places.  Earlier this week, I went for a run (jog, really) after work.  It was dark and turning fairly chilly outside.  Ugh.  As I trudged along my usual route, my mind began to drift.  Out of seemingly nowhere, the idea of orange cream cheese frosting popped into my head.  By the time I got home, I knew that I had a gem of an idea.  Ginger Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting.

     The beauty of this cupcake is that it’s a pure carrot cake with just a hint of ginger.  No nuts, raisins, or anything extraneous that might be found in a “classic” carrot cake recipe.  It doesn’t need any of that stuff.  (I promise.)  The orange zest and fresh juice add a slight tang to the rich and creamy frosting.  Yet, in every other way, this frosting remains the familiar favorite that is so well loved (and expected) with a carrot cake.  I’ve got to tell you, I love this slight twist to the traditional flavors.  This recipe is a keeper, for sure.

Ginger Carrot Cupcakes

Yield:  2 dozen cupcakes

Adapted from:  Mary Mary Quite Contrary

2 cups (11 ounces) all-purpose flour, sifted

2 cups (14 ounces) ultra-fine sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or 3/4-1 teaspoon ground ginger)

1 cup applesauce

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6 egg whites (use large eggs)

3 cups peeled, grated carrots

   Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Add all of the dry ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer.  Using a whisk, mix and combine the dry ingredients in the bowl.  Add the applesauce, oil, and vanilla.  Start your mixer on low speed.  Add the egg whites.  Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the grated carrots.  Beat on medium speed for two (2) minutes.  Using your spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners/muffin tin.  Bake 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from: Spinach Tiger

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

orange zest from one orange

3 tablespoons orange juice , freshly squeezed

5 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

   Mix the orange zest and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl.  Set aside.  Using the paddle attachment to your stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add the orange juice and vanilla.  Then, add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.  Lastly, before using, take a rubber spatula and stir the frosting thoroughly to eliminate any air bubbles.  Enjoy!


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