I love banoffee pie. There is something about the gooey sweet caramel, mingling with firm little chunks of fresh banana, sitting on a biscuit base and all topped with a soft, airy cream that sends me into oblivious rapture. There are times when I have had banoffee pie soooooo good, that I have (totally spontaneously) replicated that famous scene out of ‘When Harry Met Sally’. You must know the one I mean …….. ‘I’ll have what she’s having……….’
I have been wanting to translate that deliciousness into banoffee cupcakes for a while now, and this week, I finally managed to get round to it.
There seem to be endless versions of banoffee cupcakes spattered across the pages of the Internet. Some use banana sponge, others have banana topping, some have cream and some have butter icing. Some use caramel cake and some use caramel topping, or filling or both. All look and sound wonderful to a banoffee fan, but none of them were quite where I wanted to be. This is my version…………………
I didn’t want them to be too sugary-sweet (so steered clear of a frosting top) and I wanted to combine what I always consider to be the bits that make me go ‘Mmmmmmmmmm’, – fresh banana, light fresh whipped cream, rich caramel with that subtle ‘childhood-memory provoking’ condensed milk tang and of course, a hint of chocolate.
I was dreading having to boil cans of condensed milk to make my caramel. I have an acute aversion to the process after a very dear friend of mine (who has since, sadly died of cancer) caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to her kitchen and nearly put her son in hospital by forgetting it was on the stove and causing a massive and very sticky explosion. Thankfully, I discovered that Carnation now make the condensed milk already boiled into caramel. What a relief…… Thank you Carnation!
Given that it is the Macmillan Cancer Support World’s Biggest Coffee Morning tomorrow (27th September 2013), raising funds for Cancer support (hope you’re joining in!), these seem a thoroughly fitting tribute to her memory…………
My cup cakes are made with a gluten free banana cake base dotted with chocolate chunks to give an unexpected extra chocolaty bite, against the soft, slightly chewy, bananary sponge. I also cored the cakes to hide a surprise dose of fresh banana and caramel. Sneaky huh? I was worried that the banana would go brown once cut, but it seems that smothering it in caramel and encasing it inside the cake keeps it incredibly fresh! I used a whipped cream and Mascarpone topping sprinkled with a little grated dark chocolate, which not only looks both simple and fantastic, but tastes really fresh and light and perfectly offsets the sweetness of the caramel and cake.
These cupcakes feel delightfully grown-up but with a hint of childhood thrown in. But beware, they are very, very moreish…………………
Banoffee Cupcakes (makes 24 cupcakes)
1 batch of chocolate chip banana cake mix made into cupcakes as from the recipe in this post.
1 tin of Carnation Caramel, or alternative thick caramel sauce.
1 very fresh banana
500 ml double cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
grated chocolate sprinkles
- Pre-heat the oven to 180⁰ C / 350⁰ F / Gas 4 and prepare cupcake trays with cupcake cases.
- Make and bake chocolate chip banana cupcakes using the recipe from this post. Once cooked set aside to cool.
- When the cupcakes are cold, core an even-sided hole out of the centre of each using a cupcake corer or a sharp knife, being careful not to cut through the bottom of the cake and trimming and reserving the top piece to cap the cupcake once filled.
- Peel and cut the banana into small pieces and mix with the caramel in a medium-sized bowl.
- Using a teaspoon, fill the hole of each cupcake with caramel-banana mix and close the hole with the reserved piece of cake top.
- Whisk the cream, Mascarpone and icing sugar together in a bowl until it is thick and holds its shape well.
- Pipe or spread the cream on top of each cupcake generously.
- Decorate with chocolate sprinkles.