Banana Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

My kids go through phases of loving certain foods and hating them.  Lately I have been sending bananas to daycare and camp on "field trips."  The bananas arrive back at home in the lunch box at the end of the day untouched but squished and brown.  Ahh, just how we all like our bananas.  Luckily there are a ton of things to make with squished, brown and old bananas.  Like banana bread, banana "ice cream," and of course, banana cupcakes.  Normally I wouldn't dare top a banana cupcake with anything but cream cheese frosting but today I had run out of powdered sugar so I decided to make a salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream.  Any frosting you like would work on these.  

Cupcake Recipe (makes 16)

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 overripe bananas: measured to get 3/4 cup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk 

Nutella Buttercream

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup fleur de sel caramel (Trader Joe's) or any salted caramel 

Instructions

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For cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 16 muffin tins with cupcake liners.  

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk.   

Beat butter and both sugars in stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Mash the bananas with a fork and add to your mixer bowl.  Making sure to scrape down the sides, add the egg yolk, egg and vanilla extract and mix about 30 seconds more until all ingredients are incorporated.  Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the buttermilk until just mixed, being careful not to overmix.   Fold ingredients together with a spatula to make sure there everything is incorporated before scooping the batter into the cupcake liners, measuring evenly between the 16.  

Bake for about 20 minutes, just until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting. 

For Nutella Buttercream:

Place the egg whites and the sugar in the metal mixing bowl of your stand mixer and set above a pot of simmering water.  With the water simmering, whisk the mixture gently until the sugar melts being careful not to froth the mixture too much.  The mixture will feel very warm with no grittiness and thin when it is ready.  

Remove the bowl from the heat and wipe the bottom dry.  Whisk with the whisk attachment on your mixer until stiff peaks form and the the bottom of the bowl is cooled.  You don't want the mixture to be too warm or your butter will melt and you'll have frosting soup.  

With the mixer on medium-high, add in butter one tablespoon at a time.  It may start to look a little like curdled milk but don't worry, if you keep mixing it will come together.   Once it looks like frosting, add the salted caramel and mix until incorporated.  Taste and add more salt or caramel if you think it needs it.  

Pipe frosting on cooled cupcakes. 

 

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Banana Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream 

Cleansing

Lately I have gotten into searching discount sites for, well, good discounts.   Things like groupon and living social.   I think you can find some good deals sometimes but it also leads me to buy things I don’t really need.   For example, a couple of months ago I was drinking wine and decided to purchase a wine deal online.  It turned into kind of a mess because you had to sign for the package and it came while we were away and they sent it back and then when it was finally delivered (without my signature BTW) there was this giant box of wine on my porch announcing us as giant winos.   The wine was pretty good but it also led me to think we were drinking too much wine... 

That decision indirectly led to my next purchase on the healthier side.  A juice cleanse.  It seemed like a good deal.  50% off or so for a 3 day supply of juice but then when you go to the website the shipping is $30!!!!  In this age of almost never paying for shipping that was tough to swallow but I couldn’t find a way around it.  After confessing my purchase to Frenchie he was surprisingly interested and wanted to do it too!   I modified it a little and turned it into a 2 day cleanse for two.  

The cleanse arrived with 18 juices, so 6 a day.  I got one that included a cashew coffee to make sure we got our caffeine fix.  I modified by adding in a homemade vegan carrot soup for dinner instead of the last two juices, making my own cashew coffee one da and hitting up a local juice shop for a couple extras on day 2.  

Since I have been fasting for 16 hours a day already I didn’t think I would struggle too much with this but man, it was hard! Especially around lunchtime when I’m used to having my first meal.  Once I was busier in the afternoon picking up the kids etc it was easier.  The soup also helped because it felt like eating even though soup is really just hot “juice.”   

By Day 2 I felt out of it but not really tired.  Just a little depressed and not motivated to do anything.  Wow, I am really selling this cleanse!  

This morning i weighed myself before eating or drinking and I lost 3 pounds.  We will see how quickly that comes back but at least I got something out of it.  My tummy feels flat and my mind feels...blank.  

Hopefully it will at least motivate me to keep up clean eating for the next week or so before our vacation to Barbados!   I bought my first bikini and I plan to wear it without feeling (too) self conscience.    

 

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Cleaner Judgment

Our biweekly housecleaner recently passed on some serious judgment via text.  She asked if we wanted her to come every week because it has been taking her longer to get the house ready to clean.  Um, isn't that part of cleaning?  

Anybody with a housecleaner knows that you feel compelled to pre-clean before the cleaners come.  Pick things up off the floor, put things back in drawers etc.  Unfortunately ours come on a Wednesday which is our busiest morning.  I go to an exercise class from 6-7, then we all drive together because I have to be at work early on Wednesdays so Frenchie gives me a ride.  I try to pick up but there usually just isn't time.  

I'm not sure how to respond to the cleaner?  Is she trying to get me to pay more?  I hate to admit it but I don't think having her come every week will really help.  Hopefully with me taking a break from work I can try to organize the house better so it's easier to clean.  We'll see.  

Now it's Saturday morning at 7 and I have to clean up from last night because I fell asleep with the kids and didn't clean up after dinner (not sure what Frenchie's excuse is).  Then we'll make breakfast and I'll have to clean up again.  Then the kids will play and a new mess will be waiting for me.  Oh...then dinner!  It's never ending!!!