Banana Pudding Cupcakes

Cupcake Hero round-up is posted!  Go to I Heart Cuppycakes to vote!

Talk about procrastination…it’s my forte for sure.  I did it all through HS (even wrote a paper about it), college and still do it.  What’s funny is, I’m a planner/organizer.  But I still want to wait until the last minute to finish something.  I made, photographed and ate these cupcakes awhile ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting them (deadline is tomorrow).  I’m not a very good writer and it’s not my favorite thing (don’t ask me why I have a blog!), so I think I always save this part for last.  :-P

cupcake hero

I actually made these for a blog event called Cupcake Hero.  Click here, here and here for more deets. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?  And the prizes are pretty cool too. 

This month’s ingredient is bananas.  I tried to get my creative juices flowing – which, let me tell you, is not an easy thing – and ended up basing my entry one of my favorite banana treats – banana pudding!  Layers of vanilla wafers, bananas, yummy pudding & whipped cream.  I started my cupcakes just like I start my pudding – I put a vanilla wafer in each cupcake liner and topped it with a banana slice.

banana pudding/cream pie cupcakes

I used a cupcake recipe from Cupcake Bakeshop and they turned out great. I cut the recipe in half and changed up the ingredients just a smidge. They were moist and deeee-licious…I know because I ate all the “middles”. Heehee.

banana pudding/cream pie cupcakes

While the cupcakes were cooling I made the instant vanilla pudding & whipped up some cream. Once the cupcakes were cool, I cut out the middles and piped in the vanilla pudding. I topped them with sweetened whipped cream and sprinkled on some vanilla wafer crumbs.

banana pudding/cream pie cupcakes

The verdict? Good, but not great. It was nothing like the banana pudding I make. It has sweetened condensed milk and incorporates the whipped cream into the pudding. Plus, the whipped cream on top of my cupcakes started to melt a little as I was taking pictures. My “studio” is in my sunroom…see where I’m going with this?

Banana Pudding Cupcakes
Yield: 1 dozen
Cupcake adapted from Cupcake Bakeshop
Printable Recipe

Cupcake:
12 vanilla wafers
1 banana – sliced into 12 rounds
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1-2 medium bananas
¼ cup sour cream + splash of milk
1 egg
3 ounces oil
½ teaspoon vanilla

Pudding:
Vanilla flavored instant pudding + milk – make as directed on the box :-)

Whipped Cream:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:
Handful of vanilla wafer crumbs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners. Place a vanilla wafer and slice of banana in each of the paper cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

With a blender or food processor, blend banana, sour cream & milk until smooth.

In another bowl, combine the banana mixture, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla.

Fold dry mixture into the wet mixture.

Scoop the batter into cupcake liners.

Bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Prepare the pudding & whipped cream while waiting for the cupcakes to cool.

Whipped Cream:
Using a stand (with whisk attachment) or hand-held electric mixer, whisk the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks.

After the cupcakes have cooled, remove the center of the cupcakes (I used a decorating tip).

Put the prepared pudding in a pastry bag (you can use a tip or you can just cup the end off a disposable pastry bag) and pipe into the center of the cupcake.

Put the whipped cream in a pastry bag fitted with a tip of your choice and pipe onto the cupcakes.

Sprinkle topping onto whipped cream.

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Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

cookies & cream cupcakes with cookies & cream whipped cream frosting

I’m a bit behind on my posts, I know. I mean, shoot, this particular post is about three weeks late. I made these for my son’s 3rd birthday party and they received rave reviews.

Last year he had banana cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese frosting (check out that pipe job! ha!)

This year he got these.  YUHHHHUMMMM!

cookies & cream cupcakes with cookies & cream whipped cream frosting

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he is soooo sweaty from running around and playing

I was so busy with making stuff for a baby shower, I didn’t really have time to test out a bunch of recipes.  I wanted something easy that I knew kids would like.  I mean, what child, young or old, doesn’t love Oreos?  Ok, most kids.  Anyway, I looked around for a recipe and found one at How to Eat a Cupcake.  The base is a box cake mix, which worked out just great for me.  I played around with the placement of the cookie, bottom, middle, top, but the bottom really did work out the best.  I ended up using my own whipped cream frosting instead of using the one on Cassie’s blog.  I wanted something that wasn’t too sweet since the cupcake itself was filled with Oreos and the sugar laden box mix. ;-)

cookies & cream cupcakes (pre-frost)
pre-frost

I made 4 dozen cupcakes about a week ahead  and stuck them in the overflowing freezer until Sunday morning. I made the whipped cream frosting Saturday night and refrigerated it until I frosted the cupcakes Sunday morning.

cookies & cream cupcakes with cookies & cream whipped cream frosting

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes
Yield: 4 dozen
Adapted from How to Eat a Cupcake
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
Approximately 48 Oreos (or similar cookie)
2 boxes (18.25 ounces) plain white cake mix
2 cups sour cream + 2 tablespoons of milk
1 cup oil
6 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 4 cupcake tins with paper liners; set aside.

Count out 24 Oreos and separate the top and bottom wafers. Make sure each has some of the icing on it. Place one wafer, icing side up, in the bottom of each paper liner. Set them aside.

Crush the remaining 24 Oreos – in a food processor or use a storage bag and whack it with a rolling pin. ;-) Chunky is fine.

Place the cake mix, sour cream, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 1 1/2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed.

Measure out about 3 cups of the crushed Oreos and fold into the batter until well incorporated. Reserve any remaining cookies for frosting or other use.

Divide batter evenly among the cupcake tins.

Bake the cupcakes until they are a light golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 20-22 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tin and place them on wire racks to finish cooling. Cool completely before frosting.

Cookies & Cream Whipped Frosting
Yield: enough for approximately 4 dozen cupcakes
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
Approximately 12 Oreos (or similar cookie)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Finely crush the Oreos – in a food processor or use a storage bag and whack it with a rolling pin. ;-)

Using a stand (with whisk attachment) or hand-held electric mixer, whisk the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks. Gently fold in the crushed Oreos.

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Whatcha Doin?

Well, I’ve been trying to muster up the motivation to work on my entry for this month’s Cupcake Hero. I have 11 days left to bake ‘em up, write it up, then post them. I’ve had this idea for about a week and I’m trying to turn my conceptualization into reality. Haha, is that even a word??? Anyway, I’m working on it today, so wish me luck.

I also have these posts in the draft stage…I’m such a procrastinator!

white chocolate chip coconut pecan cookies

cookies & cream cupcakes with cookies & cream whipped cream frosting

chococonutoffee blondies

090713.6 chocolate chip cookies - bubbe

And I’ve of course been at home with these two loves of my life. :-) Going back to work in October’s gonna suck.

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Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting & Petit Four Icing

Whew, so glad this weekend is over. Not sure what I’m going to do with myself now that the baby shower and birthday party have come and gone. :-P

The baby shower was fun and of course there were lots of cute gifts. The mother and father-to-be are UT grads, so there were a few Longhorn gifts thrown in there. They’ll just put that longhorn on anything! :-) She even received a stuffed football that unzips and out pops Bevo!

petit fours

Everyone loved the cupcakes, cookies and petit fours. Hopefully I was able to put the bug in a couple of the ladies ears about calling me for any events they may have coming up. I’d love to be able to get my name out there.

petit fours

I made the icing for the petit fours on Thursday night and covered them. I split the icing up into two batches and tinted one of them pink using a drop or two of red food coloring. I just used a small round cookie cutter to cut the rounds out of the sheet cake I made (in a 12×17 sheet pan using 1 1/2 portions of the Perfect Party Cake). Make sure the cake is cold and/or frozen.  It is much easier to cut out.  I told hubby, when we open our own bakery, these suckers aren’t gonna be cheap.  They are definitely time consuming. 

When I went to “decorate” them on Friday night, I tried out some polka dots, but I couldn’t quite get them right so I ended up doing some quick squigglies.  The baby room colors are pink and green, so the pink ones were squiggled with white or green frosting (from a can and tinted) and the white ones were squiggled with pink frosting. 

strawberry cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting

The cupcakes I made were topped with a strawberry cream cheese frosting.  I made the frosting on Friday night and topped them Saturday morning before the shower.  I found the Sprinkles’ frosting recipe on Martha Stewart and just doubled that (I should have just made about 1 1/2, because I still have alot left over), but replaced cream cheese for half of the butter.  It was so yummy.  I probably could have just taken a spoon to it, but I refrained.  :-P  I didn’t read carefully and ended up putting the strawberry puree in before the confectioners’s sugar.  Oops.  The consistency wasn’t quite right, but in the end it turned out fine because it covered the cupcakes really well.  It just wasn’t pipe-able.  :-P

strawberry cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting

Petit Fours Icing
Yield: Approximately 3-4 dozen
Source: I can’t remember where this one came from
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
9 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (about 2 pounds)
½ cup water
½ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon lemon extract
1-2 drops red food coloring

Combine ingredients in top of double boiler and heat over boiling water just to lukewarm. (do not overheat icing or it will become dull.) Remove from heat, leaving icing over hot water to keep it thin. If desired, tint parts of icing delicate pastel colors with food color. If necessary, add hot water, just a few drops at a time, until of spreading consistency.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: Approximately 4-5 dozen cupcakes
Adapted from Sprinkles’ Strawberry Frosting
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
¾ – 1 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
½ pound unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
½ pound cream cheese
Pinch of coarse salt
7-8 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, cream cheese and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 6 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended.

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Almost Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you tweet?  Or twitter? Or whatever it’s called?  I didn’t until this past weekend.  I’m not sure what made me do it, cuz it’s not like I need another distraction!  I just signed up to see what all the tweeting was about.  I’m glad I did it though, because I came across Christopher Kimball’s blog (of America’s Test Kitchen fame) and saw this chocolate chip cookie recipe (it shows up correctly on my iPhone, but for some reason doesn’t on my desktop). 

"perfect" chocolate chip cookies

He (and America’s Test Kitchen) may think they’re perfect, but I’m not sure I’d go quite that far.  They are definitely closer to what I’ve been looking for in MY perfect chocolate chip cookie: they’re larger than an average cookie, they aren’t thin and flat, they are chewy with a slight crispness and have a nice buttery flavor.  I think next time I’d add just a little bit more chocolate.  But that’s just me.  :-)

"perfect" chocolate chip cookies

I ran into a little bit of a problem as I was browning the butter.  I guess the center of my pan got hotter than the rest, so I started getting these brown bits of butter.  Mind you, I’ve never browned butter, so I’m not sure if I was doing it right or not.  Does the butter start turning brown bit by bit?  Or does all of the butter turn brown at the same time? Was I supposed to be swirling the pan the entire time (I guess the recipe does say “constantly”)? Should I have left it alone?  Did my butter even get brown enough? Regardless of whether I not the butter was browned properly, the cookies came out just fine. 

"perfect" chocolate chip cookies

Another method used in these cookies is the whisking of the “wet” ingredients and letting them sit for 3 minutes, then whisking again, and repeating two more times.  He doesn’t explain what this process does, just that you want the mixture to be “thick, smooth, and shiny” at the end of the process.  Anyone have any ideas on this?  I’m just curious. 

Almost Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 16 cookies
Adapted from Christopher Kimball Blog
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 ¾ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips, chopped

Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Line two large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla to the bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, and then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips, giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use a #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 8 balls, two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)

Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

*Note from the blog: Avoid using a nonstick skillet to brown the butter; the dark color of the nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is browned. Use fresh, moist brown sugar instead of hardened brown sugar, which will make the cookies dry. This recipe works with light brown sugar, but the cookies will be less full-flavored (I used light brown sugar and it was just fine).

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Pink Lady (Strawberry) Cupcakes

A good friend of mine is having a baby girl in October. I am so excited for her! They have been trying for awhile now and it’s finally happening. Plus, GB will have a girlfriend to play with.  I think her husband may have been secretly wishing for a boy, but he is still very excited. :-P He even picked out this cute Ralph Lauren dress for her, to match daddy. He pretty much wears a polo shirt every day.

I’m co-hosting the shower that’s happening on Saturday (22nd) and will be making all the sweet goodies. 36 invites were sent out! I don’t think I’ve made this many sweets by myself at one time. It may not seem like alot, but have you seen my kitchen? Not alot of room to move. Plus, did I tell you?  I have a 3 year old and a 3 month old? ;-) I definitely had to do a little planning to make sure I could get it all done.

pink lady (strawberry) cupcakes

So, the plan for the shower is 3 dozen strawberry cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting, 3 dozen mini petit fours and 3 dozen sparkly pink sugar cookies. I made the sheet cake for the petit fours using  1 ½ portions of the Perfect Party Cake recipe.  This is currently in the freezer waiting to be cut into rounds and covered with a pourable fondant, then decorated with pink dots.  I made the pink lady cupcakes this weekend and they are also in the freezer, waiting to be topped with strawberry cream cheese frosting.  I’m going to make the sugar cookie dough this week, bake them off, then freeze them until Saturday. 

You don’t want to see what my freezer looks like.  I open that door, very carefully these days.  Luckily, I’m using the extra refrigerator in our garage.  Otherwise, I’m not sure where I would have put them.

pink lady (strawberry) cupcakes

The moisture from the cupcakes always seems to seep through the liners and makes them somewhat indistinguishable after they come out of the oven, so I baked my cupcakes with plain white liners. When they’re ready to go, I”ll put them in these cute cupcake liners:
cupcake liner
and the petit fours will go in these cute cups:
bubble stripe liner

I really wanted these:
pink polka liner
and these:
pink stripe liner
but couldn’t find them around here and didn’t want to have to order them online. Oh well.

Luckily the mother-to-be knows I’m not an artist, so no baby booties, or cute little fondant figures or any of that stuff is required. Plus, she’s not very picky either. I did want to make sure there was something I knew she enjoyed, which is how we ended up with the strawberry cupcakes. I scoured my cookbooks and the Net to see if I could find a good recipe. I came across Smitten Kitchen’s Pink Lady Cake post, read it and some of the comments, then decided this was the one.

The method was a bit different than what I’m used to, so I adjusted it to the way I am used to. The cupcakes still turned out nice and fluffy and moist. And the awesome thing about it all? This recipe made exactly 36 cupcakes! Woohoo! Ok, 35, but that’s because I had to taste one of them. I couldn’t just send these along without making sure they were fabulous, right? Oh, and listen to Deb when she tells you NOT TO TASTE THE BATTER! I probably could have made 37 cupcakes had it not been for the batter that somehow mysteriously ended up on my fingers that just had to be licked off!

I also took her suggestion and added just a couple of drops of food coloring to give them a nice bright pink color. I’m was trying to stick to a theme you know: pink, girly and cute!

Pink Lady Cupcakes
Yield: 36
Source: Sky High, as seen on Smitten Kitchen
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
4 ½ cups cake flour
5 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
8 egg whites
2/3 cup milk
1 to 2 drops red food coloring
¾ pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
1 ½ cups pureed frozen strawberries (you could substitute fresh)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray or line 3 cupcake tins; set aside.

In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk the egg whites, milk and food coloring; set aside.

Put the butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl and beat until fluffy. Add the strawberry puree until incorporated – it will look a little curdled.

Add about one-third of the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Add ½ of the egg mixture and beat until incorporated. Add half of the remaining flour mixture, then ½ of the egg mixture, then the rest of the flour mixture. Make sure to incorporate the ingredients between each mixture and scrape the sides and bottom of your bowl. Pour the batter into the cupcake tins.

Bake the cupcakes for 20-23 minutes or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tins for 10 to 15 minutes. Finish cooling on wire racks. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

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In addition to the shower this weekend, my son’s birthday party is on Sunday (23rd)! Yes, I know, it’s late.  My mother says in Korea you can have the party early, but not late, so I’m apparently breaking some sort of rule.  Oops.

I will be posting those cupcakes (cookies & cream) later…much later…cuz I made 2 dozen yesterday and they are sitting in the freezer…and no photos were taken. :-P Besides, I need to make about 2 dozen more. The parents will want some too, right?

Happy Third Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my little guy.  It was three years ago today that you came into this world!

090811.2 3rd bday cake

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090811.12 3rd bday cake

 

I just used some frozen cookie dough from this batch of chocolate chip cookies and put them in a small pyrex dish; baked it for 20-25 minutes and voila: Mini Cookie Cake.

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