Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Brandied Strawberry Banana Cupcakes

Presenting the recipe that couldn't wait til the weekend: Brandied Strawberry Banana Cupcakes. As with many ideas, it started with ingredients in my kitchen that were calling out for a meaningful use. Bananas that I didn't feel like eating and leftover strawberry buttercream from the strawberry macarons...hmmmm...strawberry banana cupcakes! Since Giada de Laurentiis' chocolate mascarpone cupcakes had worked so well for me, I went for her banana cake recipe I had seen a while ago, and was not disappointed! (Click here to watch a video of the recipe, here for the recipe on the Food Network)

These beauties are an adaptation of that recipe, with the spices removed and fresh diced strawberry, sugared and soaked in brandy, thrown into the mix. With or without the strawberry buttercream, they are moist, fruity, and light. And not too sweet! I would almost call them a "muffin" without the frosting. A lot of the strawberry flavor is in the frosting, however, so I wouldn't skip it altogether - perhaps just make it a glaze by adding less powdered sugar to the buttercream if you want to lighten the effect.

Brandied Strawberry Banana Cupcakes

1/4 lb fresh strawberries
several T sugar
several T brandy (optional)
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 C sugar
1/2 C canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 eggs
2 bananas, mashed well

Wash, cut off the tops, and dice the strawberries into approximate 1/4 inch cubes. Set in a bowl and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of granulated sugar and a few tablespoons of brandy (even if you eliminate the brandy, do sugar the berries, since this will draw out their juices). Let sit for at least a couple of hours or overnight if possible.

When the berries are ready, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a 12-muffin pan with cupcake liners. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside: flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. In another bowl mix the sugar, oil, vanilla, eggs, and strawberries (which should be at least 2/3 C including the liquid that has developed with it).

Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix in until just combined. Mix in the mashed bananas, and then add the rest of the dry ingredients. Be sure to avoid overmixing - mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Divide into 12 cupcake molds, and bake for 25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before icing.

I don't even really like banana and strawberry flavors together, but I loved these! I suppose I shouldn't make fun of Giada's bobblehead so much...come on, you know you've heard that one before. I repent, Giada, your cupcakes are amazing!

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