Monday, March 24, 2014

Moist Banana Cupcakes

“What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.”
- Oprah Winfrey

These banana cupcakes are one of the cupcakes I made for an event recently, as I mentioned in my last post. They were so well received that someone who attended that event, had me makes these cupcakes and the raspberry cupcakes for her event a few weeks later. So hey, these are pretty great! (If I do say so myself.)

Here are my mashed bananas, from the freezer is fine, just thaw them first, drain them of liquid and mash. Make sure they are very ripe for the best flavor.
I like using bananas in baked goods because I have a husband who doesn't like to eat a banana when it has even a few black spots.  That means my freezer sees a lot of bananas. No problem. I just thaw them and use them for yummy baked goods like these moist cupcakes.

My batter is ready to go, ready to be scooped into the cupcake tins

These cupcakes are everything you want a banana cupcake to be.

1. Full of banana flavor.

2. A great, moist texture.

Ready for the oven
Yep, these hit all the right notes. 
I frosted them with a mascarpone frosting. I love mascarpone cheese. It's sometimes called Italian cream cheese. It's much better tasting than traditional cream cheese, in my opinion. It's richer with a less tangy flavor.

Right out of the oven

The only ingredients in the mascarpone frosting is the cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. I've made mascarpone frostings before that included cream, and also ones that included butter. This version is my favorite. The flavor of the mascarpone cheese really stands out. The only down side is mascarpone cheese isn't cheap. If you live in the U.S., Trader Joes is the best place to buy it that I know of. The last time I checked, at the Trader Joes closest to me (which is about an hour away, so not super close) I think mascarpone cheese was 2.89 for the 8 oz. container. But at my local supermarket it's close to 5.00. And you need 3 containers. So yeah, not cheap, but very delicious. If you don't want to make this frosting, don't substitute cream cheese, just make another recipe. I'll list a few other frosting recipes below.

Here is some of my mascarpone cheese - 2 of my containers are pictured, but I needed 3 to frost my cupcakes.

Since most people like bananas, I think these are a great choice for a crowd.

Here is my mascarpone frosting - this stuff is to die for, especially if you are a mascarpone lover like me.

I hope these are as successful for your people, as they were for mine!

We have deer that live on our land. They are really active now that it's Spring.

More frosting recipe choices that would be great with these cupcakes:

Traditional Cream Cheese frosting from my Super Moist Red Velvet Cupcakes.

A yummy vanilla Not Too Sweet Frosting from my Best Super Moist White Cupcake Recipe.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream - (also not too sweet, and so yummy,) from My Favorite White Cupcakes

Toasted Marshmallow Frosting from my Sweet Potato Cupcakes.

Salted Caramel Buttercream -or Caramel Buttercream with a little less salt - from my Whoopie Pies.

Chocolate Buttercream from my Best Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe.

If you didn't already hear, I've started a second Etsy shop! Coco's Kitchen is where I sell vintage cookbooks and vintage kitchen items. I'm adding new items all the time, and I would love it if you checked it out, and favorited my shop, and even spread the word, if that's your kind of thing. Thank you!

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Vintage Blue Lace Tablecloth, Fenton "Spanish Lace" Milk Glass Cake Stand, Shelley Primrose Chintz Plate Set, Rosina Queens Daintyflower teacup, Antique Nippon Blue Cream and Sugar Set, and Vintage FB Rogers Silver Tray available at my Etsy Shop, House of Lucien.

Moist Banana Cupcakes

makes 24 cupcakes

For the Cupcakes


2 cups (310 g.) flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 sticks (8 oz.)  butter at room temperature

1 1/4 cup (278 g.) white sugar

1/2 cup (118 ml.) sour cream or yogurt, a yogurt with fat in it is best, meaning try not to use a nonfat yogurt

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

5  very ripe bananas mashed, or 2 cups mashed (16 oz.) (473 ml.)

1 cup chopped walnuts - optional - I've made these cupcakes about 4 times now, and I haven't used nuts yet, but I plan to at some point, depending on who I serve them to.

Dried Banana Chips for topping, optional

Mascarpone Frosting

This amount of frosting will frost 24 cupcakes using about the same amount as I have used in the photos.


3 - 8 oz. packages mascarpone cheese

3 cups (315 g.) powdered sugar

3 tsp. vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 4. Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners, greaseproof are best.

In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the room temperature butter, and sugar and beat until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for a few seconds, just to make sure it's all been mixed in.

In another large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. The flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Add the sour cream and vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat together until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat together. (I just start the mixer on low, and add an egg, wait a few seconds, add another, etc. until they have all been added.) (Of course I have the eggs cracked into a small bowl first, so as not to risk getting a piece of egg shell into my cupcakes.) Add the mashed bananas and mix again until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again just to be sure it's all been incorporated.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Mix just until it's been combined. Be careful not to overmix it, now that you have added the flour, you don't want to overwork it. Just mix it until it's all been incorporated. Scrape down the bowl one more time, and mix it together. Stir in the nuts, (if using) just until they have been mixed in.

Scoop with an ice cream scoop, or spoon with a spoon, the batter into the cupcake liners until they are about 2/3rds full. Bake for about 18-22 minutes until they pass a toothpick test. While cupcakes are baking, make the frosting, (directions below.)

Cool on wire racks for 10-20 minutes. Then remove them from the muffin tins and finish cooling on wire racks until cool.

Frost the cupcakes with the frosting and top with a dried banana chip, if desired.

Directions for Mascarpone Frosting

The mascarpone cheese is soft enough to be used straight from the fridge. It can be used cold, or at cool room temperature. If the cheese is at too warm of room temperature, it can melt like butter.

Beat the mascarpone cheese with the vanilla extract for about a minute. Stop the mixer and add the powdered sugar. Start the mixer on low until the sugar has been mixed with the mascarpone, (to make sure it doesn't fly out of your mixer) continue beating on medium high for another minute or so.

Refrigerate any leftover frosting. If you want to frost cupcakes after it's been refrigerated, you will need to beat it again.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Raspberry Filled and Frosted Cupcakes

"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."

- Joseph Campbell


I wanted to make some raspberry cupcakes since I started to see fresh raspberries in the stores. And I did! But, let's just say they didn't come out as expected.


Pureeing my raspberries

As you can see in one of the photos below, they came out so, well, dark. I even dyed the batter pink, didn't help. In retrospect, I think I should have added some whitener, like this. That may have brought the batter back to a more appealing pretty pink color like I wanted them to be. Oh well.

Putting them through a strainer to remove the seeds

They tasted great. Had a good raspberry flavor, and great texture. The only thing I did was substitute raspberry puree and raspberry extract instead of strawberry in my Pink Velvet Cupcakes. I just couldn't bring myself to serve them to anyone. I mean we eat with our eyes first, you know? I showed one to my husband and he said, "is it chocolate?" Umm, no.

You need to coax the puree through the strainer, you'll have a pile of raspberry seeds left over

But sometimes out of mistakes, something wonderful appears. Isn't there a quote that goes something like that?

These are the raspberry cupcakes I made. They almost look like chocolate, or even red velvet cupcakes. :( I was sad. They actually taste pretty good, and had a good raspberry flavor. If you want to make them just substitute raspberries for the strawberries in these Pink Velvet Cupcakes . I did add pink food coloring to these. Just raspberries are naturally dark.

I needed to make a few batches of cupcakes for a gathering. I had my choice of flavors. This was one of the choices I made. And one of the favorites of the group. I had raspberries on the brain, so this is what I came up with.

Making the raspberry cream cheese filling

I also wanted to make a filled cupcake, people love filled cupcakes. I can't believe I've never posted about one here. This can be the start of something wonderful. Me posting about filled cupcakes more often.

The tip on the right is an actual tip for filling cupcakes made by Wilton. The tip on the left is a standard round tip, which can also be used to fill cupcakes. Just make sure the round tip is big enough to get the filling through.

I started these by making a raspberry puree out of frozen raspberries. The great thing about unsweetened raspberries is that they are pretty tart and have a strong flavor. Making them a great ingredient to add to fillings and frostings.

Here's my disposable bag with a filling tip

The buttercream I used here is a typical American buttercream. Butter and powdered sugar with the added raspberry puree from the frozen raspberries. Usually the biggest complaint with this type of frosting is how sweet it is. I think the unsweetened raspberries offsets that sweetness well.

Put the tip in about 3/4 of the way through

Don't get me wrong, it's still sweet. So if you're looking for a 'not too sweet frosting', maybe make another choice. Another option to overwhelm all of the sweetness in this frosting, is to add fresh lemon juice. Raspberries and lemon are flavors that go well together. Adding a few tablespoons to the frosting would certainly help add another dimension to the flavor and make the frosting more balanced. But like I said, I do like the frosting the way it is as well. So I'll leave that decision up to you.

Fill it up while lifting up, to fill the whole thing. Don't overfill it, or it will burst. See how this one is about to burst, starting to crack where the opening is.

I do enjoy filling cupcakes, I think it's fun! And it's very little work for a big payback in the crowd pleasing department.

I recommend using a test cupcake to fill it, then cut it open to see how you did. This one looks good.

One more little thing - I know I don't post to this blog very often, but I actually have another cupcake post ready to go, already photographed! I haven't forgotten about you! I'll be back soon!
Happy Baking! Until we meet again ~  

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If you didn't already hear, I've started a second Etsy shop! Coco's Kitchen is where I sell vintage cookbooks and vintage kitchen items. I'm adding new items all the time, and I would love it if you checked it out, and favorited my shop, and even spread the word, if that's your kind of thing. Thank you!

Vintage Noritake Cheri Plates, Vintage Pink Lace Tablecloth, Vintage Etched Crystal Champagne Coupe Glasses, Vintage Rogers Silverplated Copper Tray, (holding cupcakes), and , Vintage Rogers Large Silver tray, (holding champagne) available at my shop, House of Lucien.

Raspberry Filled and Frosted Cupcakes


1 batch of 24 or 25 white cupcakes, I strongly recommend my "The Best White and Fluffy Cupcake Recipe" - baked and cooled

1 - 10 oz. (283 g.) package unsweetened frozen raspberries - thawed

For the Filling

1 - 8 oz. (227 g.)  package cream cheese, right out of the fridge is fine, or at cool room temperature

1 cup (105 g.) powdered sugar

1/3 cup (79 ml.)  raspberry puree - from the frozen raspberries mentioned above

For the Raspberry Buttercream

 (this makes enough to generously frost 24 or 25 cupcakes, about the amount per cupcake I've used here. If you are spreading on the frosting I would halve this.)

4 sticks (1 pound) butter - room temperature - salted or unsalted, if using unsalted, I'd add a little pinch of salt

10 cups (1025 g.) powdered sugar

1/2 cup (118 ml.) raspberry puree - from the frozen raspberries mentioned above

Fresh Raspberries for topping, if desired


Start by pureeing the raspberries. If the raspberries are still frozen, put them in a pan on medium high heat and stir frequently until they are thawed and a liquid. Place them (from the pan, or from the bag if thawed) in a blender or food processor and puree. Pour this mixture through a fine mesh strainer sitting on top of a bowl to strain out the seeds. You will need to coax the mixture through the strainer using the back of a spoon. Work the mixture back and forth until all the puree is gone through, and only seeds remain. Discard the seeds and set aside the raspberry puree.

Make the filling - Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer. Blend the cream cheese until it's creamy and blended. Add the powdered sugar. Mix together until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix again. Add the 1/3 cup of raspberry puree and blend again. Scrape down the bowl and blend until all is incorporated.

Spoon this mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a filling tip, (shown in photos above) or a round tip big enough to push the filling through.

Fill the cupcakes with the filling by pushing the tip 3/4 of the way down the cupcake, squeeze, then slowly lift up to fill the entire inside of the cupcake. I recommend using a test cupcake. Fill one, then cut it open to see if you filled it entirely. If you don't fill it with enough filling, the cupcake could just absorb the filling and not come across as a filled cupcake. Once you do a few and get a hang of it, it will go easy from there. Fill them up good, but don't overfill them. If you overfill them, they burst, or crack open. Set the filled cupcakes aside.

Make the Buttercream - At this point, I clean the bowl of my stand mixer and the paddle, to use it again to make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, place the room temperature butter inside and beat it until creamy. Add half of the powdered sugar and blend, on low at first so you don't spray powdered sugar all over your kitchen, then on medium high to blend. Add the rest and blend again until it's all incorporated. Add the raspberry puree, a little at a time, add some and blend, add a little more and blend, etc. Until it's all been added. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend again. Blend until it's quite fluffy about 2 minutes more.

Use the buttercream to frost the cupcakes. Top with fresh raspberries, if desired.

Serve these at room temperature. They will need to be refrigerated eventually because of the cream cheese, but if you do, just bring them to room temperature before serving. If you don't the buttercream will be on the solid side, since you know, cause it's butter, and butter solidifies when cold.

I hope you love these like I do!