And no, I’m not talking about Harry Potter’s.
Exactly a year ago today, Wei and I published our very first post on this little blog of ours. I remember it like it was yesterday: making pestos together as the smell of roasted garlic filled the warm kitchen, and trying to figure out the best angle to photograph each other’s hands as we mortared and pestled and crushed garlic. We shared Wei’s camera and she taught me all about how to take pictures like a pro. Then we ate a lot of pasta covered in fresh pesto, and pressed “Publish” for the first time.
Since then, it’s been quite a ride. We’ve had to figure out how to build a blog from scratch by ourselves (to be honest, we’re still figuring it out). We’ve eaten at some great places, cooked and baked dozens of dishes ourselves, precariously balanced blogging with work and school, and through it all have learned that together, we have what it takes to nurture this blog baby. We were able to build something we’re passionate about, one day at a time, for 365 days. And now this is our 65th post!
They just grow up so fast, don’t they?
These cupcakes have been on my mind for a while. I’ve always been a sucker for the classic Elvis sandwich: peanut butter, banana slices and crispy bacon. It’s perfect. The only thing missing, of course, is chocolate.
But don’t worry. I fixed that.
These banana cupcakes are generously filled with smooth dark chocolate ganache, topped with a peanut butter chocolate-swirled buttercream, and finished with chopped peanuts, crispy bacon bits, more chocolate, and banana. I dare you to resist these little guys.
A few things to note: I suggest making the ganache a day or two ahead of time so it has a chance to harden in the fridge.
You can make the buttercream the day before assembling the cupcakes to save time as well, but if you do I recommend omitting the peanut butter, storing the plain buttercream in the fridge, then letting it come to room temperature for at least 6 hours before re-whipping and using it. When re-whipping it, it may break down at first but it will come back together after 5-10 minutes and be as smooth and silky as ever. Add the peanut butter at this point for best results – the extra fat will help bring it all together again.
Chocolate Elvis Cupcakes
Yields 20 cupcakes
6 oz semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon hazelnut liqueur (optional)
from The Pastry Affair
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 overripe bananas (1 cup mashed)
3/4 cup buttermilk
Peanut Butter Frosting:
adapted from Joanne Chang
1 cup milk
1/4 cup AP flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoon smooth, all-natural peanut butter (use what you have)
4 oz semisweet chocolate
2 oz (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
6 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked, drained, and chopped into 1/4” pieces
1/4 cup peanuts, roughly chopped
Make the ganache: heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until barely simmering, then pour over chocolate. Let sit for 10 seconds, then whisk gently until you have a smooth ganache. Whisk in the hazelnut liquour. Refrigerate until needed so it can be a scoopable consistency.
For the cupcakes:
Line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, add eggs and vanilla, one at a time, until totally incorporated. Slowly add the mashed bananas. Then alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, adding roughly a third of each at a time. Once everything is mixed in, scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is combined evenly, and mix on low for a few more seconds.
Scoop batter into prepared cupcake pans, leaving about 1/4” for them to rise. Scoop small spoonfuls of the chilled ganache into the center of each cupcake, gently pressing down each scoop. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and it bounces back after pressing it with your finger. Cool for a few minutes on a wire rack, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely.
While the cupcakes are baking, begin making the frosting:
Combine the milk and flour in a medium saucepan and whisk together. Cook over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes, until it thickens and the flour is cooked. Remove from heat, transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes or so to help it cool. Once cooled to room temperature, use the paddle attachment to mix in the sugar on low speed. Then slowly add the softened butter, 2 Tablespoons at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and salt. Continue to beat on medium-high speed for 8 more minutes, until the buttercream thickens and becomes smooth and satiny. Add the peanut butter and mix until homogenous.
In a small saucepan or microwave on low, heat the butter and chocolate until just melted. Remove from heat and whisk until combined. Set aside to cool.
In a pastry bag fitted with a piping tip, or a ziplock bag with a hole cut out of the corner, spoon about 1/4 cup of the chocolate glaze around the side, and about 1 cup of peanut butter buttercream to fill the bag. Twist the top of the bag closed, hold it sturdily in your dominant hand, and in one swift motion pipe the buttercream in a circular motion atop the cooled cupcakes, using your other hand to guide the tip.
Sprinkle each cupcake with chopped peanuts, a handful of bacon pieces, and drizzle with the leftover chocolate glaze. Finish each with a slice of banana. Store covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.