I love making cupcakes. I made these for a friend's baby shower, and they were a total hit. I was even told they tasted better than Kara's (a local favorite).
Just what is a banana-stuffed french toast cupcake, anyway? This idea was inspired a little bit by the most epic brunch I have ever had: banana stuffed french toast, ordered in as room service after my first marathon, eaten in bed. Epic, I tell you.
So I decided to bring a little brunch into dessert...
My original idea was actually to half slice open the cupcake top and stuff the banana into the cupcake like sandwich filling, but I didn't fill my pans enough, so ended up just placing the banana on top of the cupcake, under the frosting. I think this actually made frosting them easier than an opened-up cupcake would have been; but, that's something you might want to try for a little more wow-factor. Another possibility here is to scoop out more of the middle of the cupcake and stuff banana chunks in. But no matter what your banana-stuffing choice, the flavors of maple, banana, and vanilla are definitely reminiscent of a yummy french toast treat.
Recipe adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World's golden vanilla cupcake
Makes 24 mini cupcakes plus ~3-5 regular sized ones, or ~12-16 large cupcakes
- 1 cup soy or almond milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tsbp cornstarch
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond or caramel extract
- dash of cinnamon
- 1/2 cup vegan non-hydrogenated shortening (I used Earth Balance shortening, in sticks)
- 1/2 cup vegan nonhydrogenated margarine (again, Earth Balance)
- 3 and 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, plus extra
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp maple extract
- 1/4 cup plain soy or almond milk
- 1 large ripe banana, sliced
- Maple syrup or maple agave syrup
- Optional: vegan caramel sauce or extra maple syrup for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 350 and either grease muffin pan or add cupcake liners to the pan.
- Whisk together soy milk and vinegar in a small bowl or cup and set aside.
- Mix flour, cornstarch, baking powder and soda, salt, and cinnamon in bowl and set aside.
- Cream the margarine and sugar in large bowl with a mixer at medium speed, about 2 minutes until fluffy. Beat in extracts, followed by the soy/vinegar mix and flour mix, alternating in batches.
- Fill cupcakes almost to the top of the pans (slightly more than 3/4 of the way) and cook for 20-22 minutes if using a large muffin pan, or about 10-12 minutes if using a mini-muffin pan, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- For frosting, beat the shortening and margarine together until fluffy. Add sugar & beat well. Add extracts & soy milk, and beat for another 5 minutes or so until fluffy. Scoop into a pastry bag for frosting.
- Assemble the cupcakes: Scoop out 1/4 tsp (or 1/2 tsp for large cupcakes) of the cupcake and discard (or, um, eat). Add to this little whole some maple syrup or maple agave syrup. Place a thin slice of banana and then frost. Drizzle with caramel or maple syrup if desired, and/or sprinkle with a little cinnamon-sugar.
These cupcakes were delicious. I like providing options to my "customers," so I left some cupcakes without bananas (I have a friend who doesn't like them!) and used a mix of large and mini cupcakes - since people sometimes have an aversion to committing big at parties. Variety is always good!
Personally, I thought the cake was just a tad dense- not too much so, especially with the banana and maple filling, but they just weren't as light and fluffy as my previous vegan cupcake (so you could always use the batter of that cupcake here). Also, the cookbook has an oil-based version (as opposed to the margarine base) that is another option here.
Speaking of my previous cupcake, in the past, my vegan frostings have been a little melty. Meaning, they don't stand up that well after hours sitting around at a party. This frosting, however, which used part shortening, stood up wonderfully. I also took a note from Cadry's Kitchen, who provided some wonderful advice on vegan frosting, to add a little extra powdered sugar to help stiffen it up. This definitely helped! (Although also of course made the frosting very sweet... which my friends loved, but you could always cut back a bit on the margarine as needed).
I also was planning on swirling or drizzling the frosting with either a caramel sauce or maple syrup, but held off since I thought the frosting was sweet enough as is. But that's another add-on you might want to do here to up the breakfast-inspired ante!