Let’s Be Pen Pals

Hello friends,

Thanks for spending a few minutes here with me today. Writing my blog post each week is something I look forward to very much and I am so grateful you all enjoy it too. Thinking up new recipes and finding creative ways to style and photograph them challenges me to dig deep into my imagination, while also giving welcome mental relief from those delightfully mundane but oh so necessary chores we all need to do to keep our homes chugging along.

I am sitting here, finally able to snatch more than a few minutes alone, contemplating what to write next, while trying to ignore the little voice in my head telling me how uninteresting and dull my life is. Being a menopausal housewife who is terrible at menopause and housework doesn’t give one much confidence in the ‘Oh your life is sooo interesting’ department.

Putting washing away and constantly cleaning up after teenagers who should know better than to leave their mess all over my house and kitchen certainly doesn’t scream ‘kicking life goals’. But hey, that’s life right? Finding meaning in the mundane, joy in the journey and searching out those things that light up our eyes and bring sparkle to our existence. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure getting kid’s school uniforms clean before 7:00am Monday morning is a pretty significant life goal.

These cupcakes definitely bring a sparkle to my existence. I ‘d have to say that the peanut butter/ chocolate combo would have to be one of my favourites. Probably the ultimate comfort food partnership. Am I wrong?

I’ll say it right up front, these beasts hold nothing back and if you prefer savoury food to sweets, then they are not for you. There is nothing subtle or delicate about mile high frosting, decadent chocolate coating and obnoxious salted peanuts thrown on top of a tasty banana cupcake.

Banana, peanut butter & chocolate cupcakes


A fluffy banana cupcake topped with deliciously light peanut butter swiss meringue buttercream, dipped in rich dark chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup toasted desiccated coconut

Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 300 grams salted butter, cold, diced
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter Do not use natural peanut butter. It needs to be the standard, unhealthy one.
  • 600 grams (approx 3 family blocks) dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180 Celcius
  • Line two muffin trays with 16 cupcake liners
  • In a medium bowl, using a hand whisk, combine eggs, oil, sour cream, vanilla, water. Mix well.
  • Add mashed banana. Mix until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flour, sugar, bicarb soda, baking powder. Mix until well combined. Add toasted coconut.
  • Carefully pour wet mix into dry mixture and whisk until well combined.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, fill each liner until each is 2/3 full.
  • Bake in a moderate oven for 18 minutes or until firm to touch. Leave to cool on rack. Frost with swiss meringue buttercream. Freeze for twenty minutes then dip each cupcake into cooled melted chocolate. Refrigerate.

Peanut butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

  • Put egg whites and castor sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Hand whisk until well combined. Place bowl over a medium saucepan with an inch of water. Simmer on medium heat until sugar has dissolved and you can't feel any granules.
  • Place bowl onto the stand mixer. Whisk on high until meringue like stiff peaks form. Switch to paddle attachment, turn mixer onto low and add butter two or three cubes at a time. Mixture will deflate at first, then go soupy before curdling like scrambled eggs. Keep mixing. Eventually it will come together beautifully.
  • Turn mixer onto low. Add peanut butter a few tablespoons at a time until well combined. If buttercream looks a little soft, put the mixer bowl into the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes. Frost cupcakes.

Chocolate topping

  • Place a small bowl over a saucepan of water. Add chocolate and vegetable oil to bowl. Mix with spatula every few minutes until chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool slightly. Once cooler, put chocolate into a large glass or mug. Dip frozen cupcakes carefully into chocolate until the frosting is covered. Refrigerate cupcakes until chocolate sets.

By the way, if you spend more than five minutes in our home, there is one thing you will see that our family is not. And that is dull. With anywhere up to fourteen humans in our home, all with their own opinions and personalities, it’s a wonder we are all still alive. (I’m not joking). And uninteresting?? HA. Not a chance. My existence is so full, jam packed with life. I can’t actually remember the last time my life was dull, except perhaps that time I was vacuuming a whole packet of cracker biscuits out of our lounge. Now that I think about it, I wouldn’t mind a bit of dull, preferably alone with a pot of tea.

Well, that’s it from me. From one ordinary, average, blessed life to another.

Have a great weekend and if you are local, pop down to the Lennox market and say hello. I’d love to see you there.

Until next week,

Love Anna xx

Banana, peanut butter & chocolate cupcakes


A fluffy banana cupcake topped with deliciously light peanut butter swiss meringue buttercream, dipped in rich dark chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup toasted desiccated coconut

Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 300 grams salted butter, cold, diced
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter Do not use natural peanut butter. It needs to be the standard, unhealthy one.
  • 600 grams (approx 3 family blocks) dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180 Celcius
  • Line two muffin trays with 16 cupcake liners
  • In a medium bowl, using a hand whisk, combine eggs, oil, sour cream, vanilla, water. Mix well.
  • Add mashed banana. Mix until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flour, sugar, bicarb soda, baking powder. Mix until well combined. Add toasted coconut.
  • Carefully pour wet mix into dry mixture and whisk until well combined.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, fill each liner until each is 2/3 full.
  • Bake in a moderate oven for 18 minutes or until firm to touch. Leave to cool on rack. Frost with swiss meringue buttercream. Freeze for twenty minutes then dip each cupcake into cooled melted chocolate. Refrigerate.

Peanut butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

  • Put egg whites and castor sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Hand whisk until well combined. Place bowl over a medium saucepan with an inch of water. Simmer on medium heat until sugar has dissolved and you can't feel any granules.
  • Place bowl onto the stand mixer. Whisk on high until meringue like stiff peaks form. Switch to paddle attachment, turn mixer onto low and add butter two or three cubes at a time. Mixture will deflate at first, then go soupy before curdling like scrambled eggs. Keep mixing. Eventually it will come together beautifully.
  • Turn mixer onto low. Add peanut butter a few tablespoons at a time until well combined. If buttercream looks a little soft, put the mixer bowl into the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes. Frost cupcakes.

Chocolate topping

  • Place a small bowl over a saucepan of water. Add chocolate and vegetable oil to bowl. Mix with spatula every few minutes until chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool slightly. Once cooler, put chocolate into a large glass or mug. Dip frozen cupcakes carefully into chocolate until the frosting is covered. Refrigerate cupcakes until chocolate sets.

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