I am currently typing this at the airport terminal as a last-minute attempt to share something with you before I take off for two weeks. Three of us in the department are being sent to a week long statistics summer course at Penn State and the prep has been a scramble. It’s amazing just how many things you can get done before a trip that are not actually on your to-do list. I’ve been very productive and still haven’t managed to write a single word of the report that’s due upon my return; funny how that happens.
I’m really looking forward to the trip though, and – as a bonus – I’m taking a detour home to Vermont for a week on the way back. It’ll be great to see family and friends again, not to mention my old food haunts and (of course) the climbing gym! The hardest part of traveling will definitely be keeping to a strict work schedule the whole time, but once I get into the swing of things writing-wise I can usually churn things out pretty quickly. I just have to start the darn thing. So, enough chatting! Let’s get down to business…
These cupcakes are another miraculous creation by the Post Punk Kitchen and are little servings of peanut-butter-banana heaven…okay, maybe not so little: I love to make my cupcakes in jumbo pans so you’re getting less of a “cupcake” and more of a “personal-sized cake” complete with a small mountain of frosting. However you choose to make this – mini to jumbo to full sized cake – you won’t be disappointed. We all know I’m a bit biased (see Jimmy Carter Smoothy and Buckeye Ice Cream), but even if you’re not a huge peanut butter fan I’m confident that you’ll love these and no one will ever be able to tell their vegan unless you let it slip!
PB&B Vegan Cupcakes
(very slightly adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World!)
For the Cupcakes…
½ C overripe mashed banana
1¼ C AP flour
¼ t baking soda
1 t baking powder
½ t salt
¾ C sugar
1/3 C vegetable or canola oil
2/3 C soy, almond, or rice milk*
1½ t vanilla extract
½ t almond extract
* Note: I’d recommend them in that order. The soy and almond milks have a creaminess the rice milk lacks and the soy milk will provide a more neutral base.
For the Frosting…
½ C margarine (Earth Balance is awesome), softened
4 T shortening
2/3 C creamy peanut butter**
2 T molasses
3 t vanilla extract
1½ – 2 C confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 – 4 T soy milk, more as needed
banana chips, vegan chocolate chips, chopped peanuts for garnish as desired
** Note: Use organic if possible (better flavor) and I love the brands that give you the “just peanuts” option (i.e. no salt , sugar, or added oil). If you’re using peanut butter with added salt, sugar, and/or oil, just omit the salt in the recipe entirely and reduce the amount of oil and sugar to taste.
1) Preheat oven to 350°F (325 if making jumbo) and prep pans with cupcake liners. Blend banana in a food processor or mash with a fork until completely smooth.
2) In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar together and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, soy milk, vanilla extract, almond extract, and mashed banana. Make a hollow in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet banana blend. Fold the wet mixture into the dry until just incorporated (don’t overmix! Small lumps are fine) and fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way. Bake 20 – 25 minutes (35 – 40 for jumbo) or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Completely cool before frosting.
3) In the last 10 minutes of the cupcakes cooling time, whip up the frosting: with an electric mixer, cream together the margarine and shortening until smooth. Add peanut butter, molasses, and vanilla and beat again until very smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until incorporated – frosting will be very thick! – and taste, add more sugar if desired. Finally, dribble in soy milk while beating until frosting is pale, fluffy, and spreadable.
4) Frost the (completely cooled) cupcakes generously with PB frosting and top with banana chips, chopped peanuts, and/or banana chips as desired. Will maintain their shape without refrigeration (in reasonable temperatures) so these babies also travel well and will keep for 3 days.
I’m really stuck now. I can’t decide which I love more: the Cookies ‘n Cream Vegan Cupcakes or these. Both are so good I could easily eat a whole batch alone, but both are two very different flavors… so I guess it’s a tie. These PB&B Cupcakes have a delicious banana-bread like base with a fluffy peanut butter frosting that manages to be packed with flavor without being cloying sweet. I also love the toppings which make the cupcakes fun to eat and add texture. These are definitely going on my favorites list and will be made as often as my workout schedule allows, haha.
Overall Enjoyment: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥