Banana Cupcakes + Nutella Frosting

Thanks for all of the kind words of support & concern for Shaun's severely damaged finger. To give you an update, he had a good follow up appointment yesterday and is on the mend!

So yesterday's post was a pretty big hit and I'm so excited to add some of your book recommendations to my reading list! If you have any others, please send them on! Meanwhile I'm reading the sequel to The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and am already hooked!

Meanwhile this past weekend, we had quite a few parties to attend. And we all know that parties equal devising fun dishes to share. I love coming up with new ideas for parties!

After I spotted some pesky overripe bananas in my fruit bowl (yet again), I had a small stroke of genius. Why not use those guys in a cupcake? And while I was at it, I wanted to create a pretty fabulous frosting to bring it all together but would also add a bit of fun. Nutella frosting was born!

These cupcakes were very easy to make and turned out like mini banana breads topped with sweet frosting. Can you imagine anything better? These cupcake are very moist but not overly sweet while the frosting satisfies a serious sweet tooth with an unexpected flavor twist!

Banana Cupcakes + Nutella Frosting
*Adapted from Gina Neely
For the cupcakes:
2 C all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
4-5 large, very ripe bananas, peeled, and mashed
For the frosting:
6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
2/3 C Nutella
3-4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 C confectioners sugar (depending on the level of sweetness you want)

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Gather up your ingredients.

Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners. I used my new fancy red ones that my friend Lindsey gave me as a holiday gift!

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Meanwhile in another bowl, peel and mash the bananas. I find that a fork works best for getting ‘er done, followed by a good mix with a wooden spoon.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer) beat together the butter and sugar until combined. Beat in the sour cream and the vanilla extract. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.The mixture will look a bit curdly, but don't despair! It will turn out fabulously.

Add the dry mixture to the wet a little at a time until the mixtures are completely combined. Stir in the bananas until just mixed in.

Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 way full. I had particularly tall liners so I intentionally only did them about half way. I planned to nest the frosting in the liner atop the cake. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven to a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:
While the cakes are a’coolin’ make the frosting. And feel free to break out some crackers or bread for Nutella sampling in the process.

Beat the butter until smooth. Add the Nutella and vanilla extract. Beat in the sugar, one cup at a time, adding milk 1 tbsp at a time to thin out and make spreadable. Now frost those babies! Decorate however you want. I loved these tall liners so much and how I was easily able to nest the frosting inside without sacrificing the amount of frosting I wanted to use. It turned out so pretty and sophisticated looking! Oh and by nesting the frosting, I didn't have to stick my fingers in the frosting to move them into my cupcake carrier. A win for all!

We brought these cupcakes to Shaun's uncle's 60th birthday celebration and also to our Superbowl party. They were a huge hit! The flavor combination was so unexpected and fun change up from standard chocolate and vanilla (not that there's anything wrong with those!)! So what do you think? What are your favorite flavor combinations? And bonus question, have you ever baked with Nutella?

La Creperie on Palm Beach

As the summer is rapidly winding down, so are my avid posts about my favorite - and albeit indulgent - Aruban eats. It seems like our vacation was mostly eating, but I assure you, there was plenty of lounging time too. As I sign off from my Aruba travelogue for 2010, I'm dishing up one more sweet eat. It's La Creperie, a tiny hut in the Paseo Harencia serving up both sweet and savory crepes.

I'm always facinated by how crepes are made and I feel confident that if I had this nifty set up in my own apartment kitchen, I could dish 'em up just like the pros do.

Plus, then I'd get to use this mini rake/hoe contraption which is necessary to spread the batter around the hot plate. Let's face it, it really looks like a lot more fun then your standard spatula, don't you think?

Ever since our trip to Germany and Paris in 2006, I have developed an unhealthy obsession with Nutella. So when presented with the option to consume it warm and inside a crepe, who am I to turn it down? Enter my Nutella and strawberry crepe.

Though my first choice was Nutella and banana, I guess I got there late and all of the bananas were gone, leaving only strawberries behind. While I always love a good berry (and anything with Nutella), I'm sorry that I didn't get to try the banana as I'm confident it would have been tops.

But this one was pretty fantastic as well, bursting with warm Nutella and fresh strawberries. In the words of Ina Garten, how bad can that be?

Psst...for more Aruba fun, check out Madame Janette's, Dushi Bagel, Moka's Red Velvet Cake, Dutch Pancakes, and How to do Happy Hour!