When my freezer looks like THIS (see below!), I am thankful that I am assigned to baked goods for the spring Bible Study brunch! Another moment of gratitude comes after realizing that, in my quest to bake through Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book, I have yet to try the Banana-Pecan Cupcakes!
For this purpose, however, we are not going to call them cupcakes. What self-respecting southern lady would eat a cupcake for breakfast - in public, no less? Instead, we shall call them muffins!
In an attempt to make these dainty little cakes a little more muffin-like, I made a few changes to the recipe. I substituted white whole wheat flour for Cake flour, canola oil for butter and reduced the sugar by half.
To half of the batter, I added Trader Joe's Sweet and Spicy Pecans. I started chopping them with my knife, but ended up running them through my parmesan cheese grater for a finer chop.
These pecans happened to be much more spicy than sweet. If you've ever had a Mexican chocolate cake with a slight hint of cinnamon and cayenne, the effect would be similar. The flavor is mild with the initial bite, but the heat grows gradually on your palate. Fortunately, the nut lovers seemed to also be spice lovers! If you're not a spice lover, use plain toasted pecans or leave them out all together.
The batter came together beautifully -
- and baked to a tender golden brown.
Even a muffin can have a little dollop of cream cheese frosting, can't it?
Fruit, Nuts and Cheese..... The breakfast of champions!
Banana-Pecan (Muffin) Cupcakes
Loosely Adapted by Simple Girl from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 very ripe large bananas, mashed (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar
3 large eggs
1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (plain or spicy) - optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, beat bananas until smooth. Add buttermilk and vanilla. Add oil and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
2. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until just combined. Stir in pecans by hand.
3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
4. To finish, pipe a small dollop of cream cheese frosting on top.
Cream Cheese Frosting
12 ounces cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 pound confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
With a mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and salt. Continue to mix. Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy. MMMMM!!