Few weeks ago I bought about 6 plantains intending to cook the following week for a family dinner for my cousin and her family. It got cancelled and these plantains sat on my kitchen counter for a little more than 2 weeks. I didn’t feel like cooking typical fried plantains, so I started searching the web to see if I can find a recipe for plantain cakes (hey, if there is a banana cake, muffins and cupcakes, surely, there has to be similar plantain recipes, right?). After searching for 10 minutes ( a lot of the recipes were either South American or West African plantain cakes – either mashed and fried, or made into “cakes” eaten with guava paste and Cotija cheese). I finally came upon this plantain cupcake recipe which had mango curd and papaya buttercream frosting. I definitely wanted to try the plantain cupcake, however, I decided not to add the mango curd and papaya buttercream. You add quite a bit of butter in the plantain and cake itself, I didn’t want to overwhelm the cake with more butter in the curd and the frosting. Also, I am not a biggest fan of buttercream frosting. I actually don’t like it. It’s too heavy and takes away the spot light from the cake. Growing up in Japan, I’m used to the whipped cream frosting (which I love to this day). However, if you’re interested in the curd and buttercream you can go the link where I found the recipe.
Then I thought and thought what can go with these plantain cupcakes. Simple! Whenever I go to the Latin American supermarket I always see tons of guava paste, so I just scooped a nice dollop and added to the cupcake!
This recipe will yield about 1 dozen cupcakes.
Part 1: Caramelized Plantain
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 really really really ripe plantains (brown/black peels), peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Take your sliced plantains and put them in a baking dish. Mix the melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon together and pour the mixture over the sliced plantains. Make sure each plantain is thoroughly coated in the sugary syrup. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and then go to town mashing the plantains. Approximately yield: 2cups.
Part 2: Batter
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups caramelized mashed plantains
Lower the oven heat to 350F. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In your stand mixer’s bowl, mix the softened butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the sides of bowl if necessary. Mix the “wet” ingredients into the batter: buttermilk, vanilla extract, and mashed caramelized plantains. Once the batter is smooth carefully and slowly add the dry ingredients.
Line the cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Fill each cup 1/4 full. Scoop about 1/2 teaspoon of guava paste and add to each cup, and top each cup with with another batter (each cup should be about 3/4 full at this point). Bake between 20-25 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool completely before doing anything fancy with them.
My opinion: THE BEST CUPCAKE!!!! We LOVED these cupcakes!!! This is a must try (even though it’ll be more time consuming than your regular banana cupcakes), the caramelized plantains are awesome!! I am sooooo glad I didn’t do the curd and buttercream, I think that would have been an overkill. Guava paste added a really nice touch to this already awesome cupcake!!
Note: Many people don’t really use all the buttermilk when they buy at the store. If I don’t have buttermilk around I usually add vinegar to the milk (a great substitution for buttermilk). So, for 1 cup of milk, add about 1 to 1-1/2 Tablespoons of vinegar.