Banana Chai Cupcakes

Whenever I make something, anything, Boy’s the first (and sometimes the only) taste-tester. Part of it is obligation, I’m sure. Somewhere in that rulebook of relationships I’m sure it says something about trying every creation your Other makes without regard to how fat it will make you, how much you hate the idea of carrots, or how you’re already so full the thought of another bite makes you queasy.

(Incidentally, I throw the relationship rulebook card out there quite often. It contains other rules such as: Don’t go to the gym too much more often than your Other for they will feel whale-sized and Once the proper amount of facial scruff has been identified adhere to such guidelines for all date-like events especially when they involve your Other’s closest friends and Always order dessert even if you’re full because your Other is too embarrassed to order that molten chocolate something-or-other by herself. And yes, 75% of rules in the rulebook involve food or the aftermath of food. That’s just how the world works.)

Anyway..

Boy’s become quite the taste-tester. He used to strictly adhere to the Only say positive things when she asks ‘how do I look’ or ‘how does this taste’ or ‘can we watch Millionaire Matchmaker’ but now he has evolved into giving his opinion every time – positive or negative, but always in a I’m still scared of you so I’m saying this in the nicest way possible way. (He legitimately likes watching Millionaire Matchmaker though. Completely hooked.) So when I made these cupcakes for him in an impromptu birthday surprise and he sang their praises, I knew I had done well. He had an exam that week and was too stressed to do much beyond studying but the cupcakes were a welcome treat. He even asked, “Do I have to share these [with my 3 male roommates who will surely gobble them up before I get home tomorrow]?” Obviously I told him he could do with them as he pleased. Said cupcakes remained holed up in his room for the remainder of their lives which was not very long at all.

So when a friend asked if I’d help her bake for her sister’s wedding shower, I knew I wanted her to try these and made them this past weekend. Win number two. They’ll be perfect for the shower.

Banana Chai Cupcakes

from Only Creative Opportunities

Makes 24.

Ingredients

3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. McCormick’s chai spice blend
3/4 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 4-ounce jar banana baby food
3 small bananas, chopped

Frosting:
1 1/4 c. light brown sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F.

[I halved the recipe this past weekend but the full recipe is posted.]

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chai spice and set aside. Cream the butter, white, and brown sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition. Add the vanilla, buttermilk, and baby food. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the chopped banana.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes for five minutes in the tin, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Wait in anticipation and make the frosting!

Whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, and powdered sugar, then set aside. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the sugar mixture and vanilla. Continue beating until frosting is desired consistency, chilling in refrigerator if necessary.

I just garnished it with some brown sugar for kicks. Delicious!

– Sharlene

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