December 02, 2009

Banana Nut Cupcakes

Art Smith was Oprah's personal chef for years, he is now the proud owner of Table 52 in Chicago. Going eat at his restaurant is on my "things to do before I kick the bucked list." He is on my top ten list of favorite chefs, and I have quite a few of his cookbooks. The recipe below is adapted from Art's Hummingbird Cake, I like to call it "Banana Nut Bread on Crack." I love cupcakes, so I have turned his cake recipe into cupcakes. I guess it makes me fill special to have my own personal little cake instead of a piece of someone else's cake. As a child I was never good at sharing, I guess my little flaw has followed me into adulthood. So yes, I turn many cake recipes into cupcakes for everyone. I like to make these the day before because they become moist, dense, and flavorful if you let them sit in the refrigerator overnight. They are still excellently amazing if you eat them right out the oven, but this is one of those recipes that is better the next day.
Banana Nut Cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped ripe bananas
8 ounce can (1 cup) of drained crushed pineapple
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 pound confectioners' sugar (about 4 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

This recipe will make about 18 cupcakes, so take you pans out and place 18 cupcake liners in each individual cup. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift all the dry ingredients into one large bowl (flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt). In a different bowl, stir or whisk all the wet ingredients (bananas, pineapple, oil, eggs and vanilla) until they are combined. Do not use as electric mixer, you want small chunks of banana and pineapple in your mixture, not a glob of mush. Pour into the dry mixture and gently fold together with a large spatula just until smooth. After the dry and wet ingredients are combined, fold in the pecans. Spread evenly into the lined cupcake pans.
Bake until each cupcakes turns slightly golden brown on the top, this usually takes 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to wire racks and let cool.

Now the best part of these little buggers - the icing. Use an electric mixer on high speed to mix the cream cheese and butter (it is easier to work with cheese and butter when both are at room temperature). On medium/low speed, gradually mix the confections sugar, once all the sugar is added then add the vanilla.

Spread a generous amount of icing on each cupcake. Store cupcakes uncovered in the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving. Enjoy!!

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