Wasabi and White Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Icing

Yes, you read it correctly – “wasabi” in a cupcake!  Why not? You find all sorts of interesting ingredients in truffles lately so wasabi in a cupcake isn’t too weird, right?  Anyway, this recipe also came from “Saved by Cake” by Marian Keyes.

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Makes: 12

Cupcakes:

3-1/2 ounces white chocolate

7 Tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

1/2 cup superfine sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1 Tablespoon wasabi paste

Salted Caramel Topping:

7 Tablespoons butter

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup golden syrup (or substitute with dark corn syrup)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

** Even though substitution for golden syrup is mentioned here, I highly recommend for you to get golden syrup (most larger supermarkets or specialty stores have golden syrup). 

Line a cupcake pan for 12 cupcakes and preheat the oven to 350F.

Melt the chocolate using your favorite method (I used microwave to gradually melt the chocolate), remembering that this is white chocolate and is easy to burn.  Add the butter to the chocolate and stir until everything is melted and combined.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar.  The mixture might look a little strange and “congealy.” Don’t worry, let it all cool for about 10 minutes, ten add the vanilla extract and beat with an electric mixer for a full 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time; sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt and fold through.  Finally, add the wasabi paste and make sure it’s distributed evenly.  Divide the mixture among the cupcake liners.  Bake for 22 minutes; cool the tray on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the salted caramel topping by putting the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup, vanilla, and salt into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt over a gentle heat.  When the butter and sugar have melted, raise the heat.  Whisk like mad until the mixture starts bubbling, but don’t let it boil.  Keep it at that bubbling point for about 5-8 minutes and it should thicken a little.

When you’re satisfied with its consistency, let it cool a little before icing the cupcakes – if it’s too hot, it’s liable to run down the sides.  However, if it cools down too much, it won’t spread easily enough.  So feel free to reheat it a bit if it’s gotten too stubborn and resistant, or let it cool down if it’s gone a little free-spirited with itself.  Finish by sprinkling the top with a few grains of sea salt.

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You can get wasabi paste at any Asian markets.

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We love golden syrup! Great for baking, but also delicious on toasts!

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If you don’t feel like making caramel topping, you can just use a good quality caramel sauce.  We love this caramel sauce from Trader Joe’s (just briefly microwave until the sauce is spreadable).

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My opinion:  Another Marian Keyes recipe for adults!!  Both of my children weren’t too thrilled with these cupcakes; one showed outright distaste claiming she can taste the wasabi, and another was impartial to it but preferred not eating it.  However, once again the adults LOVED it!  I loved the fluffy and dense cake, the subtle wasabi flavor which gave a deeper taste to the cake combined with the salted caramel sauce made this a pure winner!  I really think the combination of wasabi and white chocolate were wonderful!

Berry Topped White Cupcakes

I am going to deviate a bit today and post something that was made yesterday (hopefully my 8 other posts in queue will not revolt!).   For the past few months whenever we have Early Dismissals from school I have been giving baking lessons to my daughters (ages 14 & 12) and one of their friend.  They weren’t quite interested in cooking/baking even a year ago, but now that they are showing active interests I grabbed onto the opportunity.  When I was their age I used to hover around the kitchen to see what my mom was cooking & baking, but she would always shoo me away because she didn’t want to be bothered teaching me (understandably so since she was a single mom who worked 2 jobs).  I kind of resented that and took it upon myself to learn how to cook through experimenting and making lots of mistakes.  I also want my kids to experiment in the kitchen, however, I wanted to make sure I at least teach them the basics.

Anyway, today’s post is something like a “guest post” – because my 14 year old daughter and her friend took some time to bake these delicious cupcakes!  The recipe is from Taste of Home.

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Makes: 22 cupcakes

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk

Frosting:

  • 4 ounces  cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Assorted berries
  • Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In another bowl, cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
  •    Beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Fold a fourth of the egg whites into batter; fold in remaining whites.
  •    With a spoon, gently fill foil- or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  •    For icing, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice. Frost cupcakes. Top with berries.

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My opinion:  These are really delicious! The cupcake itself is like Angel Cake (but a bit more dense and moist); we really liked the frosting too! Since it combines cream cheese and butter it tastes and feels lighter plus a hint of lemon juice is refreshing.  More than the cupcakes, it gave me greater pleasure to see the girls feeling more comfortable and confident as they tackled new challenges each time and seeing smiles on their faces!  Job well done girls!!

P.S.  The serving plate I used was designed and made by my friend and her husband!  They run a nice tableware store Antshop in Yokohama, Japan.

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Cupcakes

I always appreciated and loved Red Velvet Cakes;  my only problem was the red dye in the recipe.  In the past I have substituted the red dye with shredded beets and its juice, but the color didn’t quite come out as nice; I can get “natural” red dye from organic stores, but I seriously don’t want to spend close to $10.oo for it.  So, I made a compromise with myself – I will only make Red Velvet Cake once in a while and put less red dye in it, or I can just omit the red dye and not take any photos of the end product!  Today, I ended up using red dye, but less of it.

Since Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and my husband’s birthday is only 1 day after Valentine’s I thought I would experiment with few Red Velvet recipes.  Today’s recipe came from here and it’s pretty simple to make.

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Note: Even though the original recipe says it’ll make 8 cupcakes I squeezed out 9 cupcakes.  The ingredients below are for 8-9 cupcakes, I doubled this to make 1-1/2 dozen cupcakes.

Filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons lightly beaten egg (break egg, mix with fork, measure) – if you double the recipe you can easily use 1 egg yolk.
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Batter:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoon all purpose flour (5 oz)
2 teaspoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or regular vinegar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon red food coloring (I put slightly less)
3/4 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 8 muffin cups with paper liners.

Prepare filling first. With a mixing spoon, beat together softened cream cheese and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and stir until smooth. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a second mixing bowl, stir together oil, sugar, vinegar, egg, red food coloring, vanilla and sour cream. Mix very well, then add flour mixture and stir just until blended.

Measure out approximately 1/3 cup red mixture and set aside. Divide remaining red mixture among the 8 muffin cups – each cup should be a little over 1/3 of the way full. Spoon cream cheese mixture over red mixture, dividing evenly between all cups. Drop small spoonfuls of reserved red batter on top of cream cheese mixture, making a bulls-eye pattern.

Bake for 20-23 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Carefully remove lift muffins from cups.
Best serve slightly chilled.

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Please excuse the look of my muffin tin, it’s time to buy new tins, but I’ve been trying to make the most out of this.

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My opinion:  I baked this for my children’s after school snack, and they each had 2 cupcakes and wanted more (they ended up splitting the 3rd one).  A bit different from your traditional Red Velvet (not as sweet, and you don’t have the heavy cream cheese frosting or butter frosting), but still incredibly delicious!  You know, coming to think about it, this will be a great picnic dessert because it’s not messy to eat and it travels very well!!

Nutella Brownie Bites

It’s been a bit crazy around here lately… I haven’t had the energy nor the time to try out new recipes or even do some Christmas baking.  My mind thrives on having some creative stimulation, thus I used to paint when I was younger and now cooking and baking.  In the midst of this crazy busyness I still wanted to bake something really easy and simple (mostly for my children), so when I saw Nutella Brownie Bites recipe I almost jumped for joy!!

People, are you ready, you basically need 3 ingredients, yup,  you read it right, THREE!!  However, since I like complications, I added 1 more ingredient and made it into 4 ingredients!!  Ok, I like to shout “let them eat brownies!!”

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Makes 12 cupcake sized or 24 mini cupcake sized bites:

  • 1 cup nutella
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 Tb all purpose flour (or ½ cup plus 2 Tb)
  • ¼ tsp salt (optional)
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a regular (not a mini) 12 cup muffin tin or 24 mini cup muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Mix together eggs and Nutella in a medium bowl until smooth. Add in flour and mix until just combined. Evenly spread into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle each with a few chocolate chips, if desired.
  3. Bake 12 minutes for regular cupcake or 7-8 minutes for mini cupcakes.

Note: Microwaving the Nutella slightly will make it easier for mixing.

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My opinion:  Super easy and just the right amount of sweetness.  I guess you can add some sugar, but I highly discourage it.  I may have over-baked mine, but still came out moist and delicious!  I think I will try this recipe using the Biscoff Cookie Spread next time, I have a feeling my family will love that too!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Many times life isn’t easy.  Life gives you so many unexpected hardships and joy, but in all that we still need to find courage to go on.  No matter what is going on in life you still need to follow the daily routine (especially when you have children) – we still need to take care of the children, clean, cook, go to work, etc, etc.  I can’t get into all the details, but it has been a difficult month (with multiple life changing situations happening).  In the midst of these events I still had to bake something for my children’s school…  For some reason this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins spoke to me and I’m so glad I baked these. 

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Makes 24 muffins (I was able to make 30):

Filling:

8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

Muffins:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I didn’t have this so I used allspice instead)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar (I used 1-1/2 cups)
2 cups pumpkin puree (a 15 ounce can roughly comes to 2 cups)
1-1/4 cups vegetable oil

Topping:

1/2 cup sugar
5 Tablespoons flour
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

**I had plenty of the filling and topping left over even after making 30 muffins

Combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. 

Line muffin pans.  In a medium bowl combine the first 7 ingredients for the muffins.  Whisk to blend. 

In another bowl combine the last 4 ingredients for the muffins and mix well.  Add these into the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

Make the topping by combining sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend.  Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. 

Fill each muffin liner with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner.  Drop in a dollop of cream cheese mixture and add a little more pumpkin batter.  Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture.  **don’t overload because it won’t look pretty when they rise if they have too much batter and filling. 

Bake in a 350F oven for 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.  However, these muffins are good at any temperature!!

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My opinion: Once again a huge hit among the children and adults!  Not overly sweet, but the right balance of spices. I love all the texture differences between the muffin, cream cheese filling and the topping.  I was asked to bake this again this weekend!

Jelly Doughnut Cupcakes

This is the 2nd cupcake I made for my daughter’s Computer Fair display.  Unlike the Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes, this Jelly Doughnut is clean and fresh tasting (because you add some lemon zest) and very simple.  I found this recipe here. I personally prefer this cupcake over the s’mores cupcake (which is also very good), because I like my cakes simple. 

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Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
½ cup milk
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
good quality red jelly (any flavor)
powdered sugar

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour or line 6-8 wells in a cupcake pan. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, zest and milk beat well. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat until the batter is light and fluffy. Fill each well 2/3 of the way filled. Bake approximately 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the middle cupcake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and take a small corer, knife or melon baller and scoop out some of the center of the cupcake. Fill with jelly (I just spooned it in). Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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My opinion:  Tastes nothing like jelly doughnuts, but with it’s subtle citrusy taste, I think it’s a winner!  As I mentioned, I love simple and clean flavor, and this basically summarizes the cupcake.  Jelly in the center adds a nice flavor and texture as you’re biting into this cupcake!

Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes

This school year has been tons of baking for me – I hope my children will grow up and fondly remember me baking my buns off.  If it’s not Bake Sales, it’s some sort of celebrations after completing huge projects, and baking cupcakes for one of my daughter’s Computer Fair display (where she showcased her computer generated dessert shop model). 

Anyway, call me weird, but I am not a huge cupcake person;  I don’t like them because most often buttercream frostings are used (yes, my dislike for buttercream continues).  Cupcakes are pretty, but for me I like the efficiency of decorating a whole cake, not 1 dozen or few dozen individual cupcake…

For my daughter’s Computer Fair display, I didn’t have any say in which cupcakes I wanted or could bake.  It was a set menu (created by my daughter and her team member).  Ofcourse, most of them had buttercream frostings, so I chose 2 cupcakes which didn’t have buttercream frostings :  Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes and Jelly Doughnut Cupcakes.  This Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes came from here (so glad someone had a good recipe!!).

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Chocolate Cupcakes
(makes 24-27 standard sized cupcakes)
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (best quality available)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (best quality available)
3/4 cup boiling water

Directions-
1. Line muffin tin with paper liners. Heat oven to 350*F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for one minute.
4. Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don’t worry, this is right).
5. Fill liners 2/3 full with batter. (I usually put the batter into a large measuring cup with a pour spout, and then pour the batter into the liners.)
6. Bake cupcakes for approximately 22-24 minutes.
7. Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

Marshmallow Frosting
2 (large) egg whites
1 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions-
1. In a large heatproof bowl (the metal bowl of your electric mixer), combine the egg whites, sugar, water, corn syrup, cream of tartar and salt.
2. Set the bowl over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat mixture, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch (about 160*F), about 3 minutes.
3. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed, about 2 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, microwave 1 cup mini marshmallows 30 seconds to 1 minute, until puffed, and starting to melt.
5. Add marshmallows to mixture in electric mixer, reduce speed to low and add vanilla. Continue beating (on low) until the marshmallows are melted and frosting is completely smooth (about 3-4 minutes). Use frosting right away.

Assembly
Frost cooled Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow frosting. You used a large french tip (but I used my favorite method : put the frosting in a 1 gallon ziplock bag and snip off tiny corner piece from the bag and pipe the frosting).IMG_1035
If desired, use a kitchen torch (my husband has a propane torch so we used that instead) to brown the frosting.
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(my husband helping out by browning the frosting)

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Top frosted cupcakes with a piece of Hershey’s chocolate, and a piece of graham cracker.  You don’t have to use Hershey’s, but that’s what many people use for making real s’mores so I’m just sticking to the tradition.

*Note- The graham cracker gets a bit soft from the frosting. If it’s important to you that it be nice and crisp, I would try baking the graham crackers (in a single layer on a baking sheet) about 5 minutes in a 325*F oven to dry them out a bit.  This really works!!

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My opinion:
Both the adults and children loved this cupcake!!  The cupcake itself is very fluffy and nice.  The frosting is sweet, but not overly sweet (loved the texture of this frosting, just like soft marshmallows).  This is a fun cupcake to eat with the chocolate and graham cracker sticking out.

Brown Sugar Banana Cupcakes

You know, thing about kids, they are not organized.  They also think you’re a magician or something, that you’re able to conjure up things.  I keep on telling my kids to tell me ahead of time when they need to bring something into school (whether that may be snack food for parties, school supplies for projects, etc).  Anyway, to prove my point about them not being organized, my oldest daughter tells me, “oh, by the way mom, I need to bring some pastries into my literature class tomorrow, can you bake something?”  I’m rolling my eyes as I’m typing this.  I roll my eyes so much I’m afraid my eyes will be stuck. 
Unless I’m truly desperate I don’t like to just buy stuff.  I had some very ripe bananas so I decided to bake some cupcakes, heck, why not?!
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This recipe will give you about 12 – 16 cupcakes, or 48 plus mini cupcakes. 
1-1/3 cups flour
1-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line cupcake tins.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Sift them well.
Whisk egg and add sugar, mix until smooth.  Stir in vanilla, sour cream and butter.  Mix well.  Add the dry ingredients and mashed bananas. 
Fill the cupcake tins 3/4 full and bake for about 15-18 minutes. 
Note:  I made mini cupcakes.  I also filled the cupcake tins 1/4 full, added guava paste (mango butter jam will go well too), added additional 1/4 batter on top of the guava paste.  Just to decorate I added plantain chips on top. 

My opinion: There are so many variations in banana cupcake (cake/bread) recipes.  This recipe was moist and fluffy (I know, odd combination, but so good), brown sugar added a depth to the flavour, and just enough banana flavour.  Needless to say, it was a huge hit at my daughter’s literature party.

Caramelized Plantain Cupcakes with Guava Paste Filling

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!
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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. 
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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. 
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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. 

Lemon Cupcakes with Limoncello Glaze

You must be sick of me complaining about this muggy heat, but I’m sorry, you’ll have to hear the same old complaining again, “It’s so HOT!!!”  We’ve been having heat waves, this is when the temperature stays in the 90F’s (32C) for 3 days or more, and quite honestly, I lost count of how many days we’ve been having over 90F temperatures… 
Cooking and baking are my creative outlets, and I’ve been feeling pretty dampened by this heat; so today, I put on a full blast of A/C and started baking.  I’ve been meaning to bake this cupcake for a while, and at this point, no use waiting until the temperature cools down.  I’ll be posting a couscous dish later on today, for now, here’s my limoncello cupcakes!  This was adapted from the Bon Appetit’s June 2006 issue.  Instead of the strawberries as topping, I put blueberries and lemons (since I didn’t want to venture out in the hot). 

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Makes 18-20
Cupcakes:
2 cups cake flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup finely grated lemon peel

Glaze and Topping:
3/4 cup (or more) powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons limoncello or other lemon liqueur
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel

18 -20strawberries OR 18-20 blueberries and 18-20 lemon wedges quartered (or any other fruits)

For Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 18-20 standard muffin cups with paper liners.  Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl.  Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy.  Beat in eggs 1 at a time.  Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions.  Beat in lemon juice and lemon peel.  Divide batter among liners.  Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 18 minutes.  Transfer cupcakes to racks. 

Glaze: Stir 3/4 cup powdered sugar, butter, limoncello, lemon juice, and grated lemon peel in small saucepan over low heat until butter melts and glaze comes to simmer.  Whisk in additional powdered sugar by tablespoons if glaze is very thin.  Spoon 1 teaspoon warm glaze over each warm cupcake.  Cool cupcakes completely. 

Arrange fruits atop each cupcake.  Drizzle remaining limoncello glaze over.  Let cupcakes stand until glaze sets, about 2 hours.  You can prepare this 1 day ahead.   Cover and let stand at room temperature. 

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What a delectable treat this is!!!  It’s not too sweet, cupcake is moist, and the icing is wonderful!!  When you bite into it, different lemon flavours just pop into action (lemon peel, lemon juice and limoncello), plus I put that lemon wedge and that adds to the flavour explosion!  Love it, absolutely love this!!