Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Banana Pecan Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream

It's fast approaching exam time of year, so I have a little MCQ for you:
What's the difference between a cupcake and a muffin?
A. The name?
B. The icing?
C. The ingredients?
D. All of the above?

What do you think?

For me, if they have a pretty swirl of icing I'd be reluctant to call them muffins. But it's more than that.
"Muffin" conjures up a mental and gustatory picture of something chunky and coarse-crumbed - and I've made my fair share of those ; )
Whereas cupcakes are lighter, and finer ... Cinderella's golden carriage vs. the pumpkin...
 : )

So, whether you call these muffins or cupcakes...this is how you make them...

Banana Pecan Muffin/Cupcake

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
125g butter, melted
3 ripe bananas, mashed
100 ml vanilla or plain yoghurt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract (I use Vanilla Girl vanilla - so just a few drops)

Preheat oven to 180'C
Line muffin tray with cupcake cases (12-15)

Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon together. Add sugar. Combine all dry ingredients with a whisk.
Add pecans. Make a well in the middle.
Pour bananas, melted butter, yoghurt, egg and vanilla into the dry ingredients.
Mix until just combined.
Spoon into prepared pans.

Bake at 180'C for 20-22minutes. Remove from muffin pans, and allow to cool.

While the above are baking, start preparing your icing - if you want to liberate them from their muffin-dom, that is!

Maple Buttercream Frosting (adapted from Martha Stewart)

6 large egg yolks
2 cups pure maple syrup ... ok...I used maple flavoured golden syrup. I don't have the real thing : (
350g butter, cubed

In an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the yolks until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

Meanwhile bring the syrup to boil in a medium saucepan over med-high heat. Cook it for about 15 minutes. (If you have a candy thermometer, it should reach 115'C).

With the mixer running, pour the hot syrup slowly down the side of the mixing bowl into the yolks.

Beat until the bowl is only slightly warm to the touch.

Swap over to the paddle attachment, and beat in the butter, one piece at a time.
Continue to beat until the icing is light and fluffy.

Use immediately.

Hope they pass the test!


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