I like to refer to this cupcake as “The Elvis.” It’s a banana cupcake with fluffy peanut butter icing and topped with candied bacon.
Despite what your first thoughts may be, which are likely along the lines of this recipe sounds rich, or heavy – it’s actually quite light and airy in texture. We separate our eggs, beating the egg whites to soft peaks and fold them into the batter which helps give this cupcake its very tender crumb.
This recipe makes approximately 16 cupcakes.
What you’ll need for the cupcakes:
- 3 Ripe bananas * – see note below if your bananas are not ripe
- 2 cups of sifted Cake Flour (I know, I’m not big on sifting either, but this recipe needs the flour sifted to keep the texture light)
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
- 3 Large Eggs, separate
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
What you’ll need for the Peanut Butter Icing:
- 1 cup smooth style Peanut Butter
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
- 2 cups Confectioners Sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons Cream (can use milk if you prefer)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
What you’ll need for the Candied Bacon:
- 6 slices Bacon
- 1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
* Note: If your bananas aren’t ripe, preheat your oven to 400F and put your unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. This will soften them and bring out the sugars that bananas develop when they ripen naturally. Let them cool for a while, until they are no longer hot to the touch. The peels will darken, this is perfectly normal.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.
Cream together your butter, sugar, and vanilla until pale and fluffy. About 3 minutes.
While you are creaming your butter mixture, this would be a good time to sift your cake flour together with your baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Also, if you haven’t already… separate your eggs, and mash your bananas. I prefer to use a potato masher, but you can just as easily use a couple of forks, or if you’re feeling especially adventurous – your hands! Just… make sure they’re clean first. Or don’t. 🙂
Once your butter is “fluffy,” add in your egg yolks. Most folks would recommend one at a time, but honestly, when it’s just yolks, you can add them all at once without dire consequences. Your mixture will probably “break” once you add the bananas anyway.
Don’t forget to scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl from time to time.
“Breaking” refers to the “curdled” look that butter gets when you add watery ingredients to it. This happens to the best of us, and it almost always “fixes” itself once you mix in your flour.
Once your egg yolks are incorporated it is now time to add the bananas. Beat to combine, scrape down the bowl if necessary.
Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the sour cream. Scrape down your bowl to ensure everything is incorporating, and be careful not to over-mix.
In a different bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk your egg whites to soft peaks. It helps if your bowl is very clean and if your egg whites are at room temperature. Room temperature egg whites reach max volume a lot faster than if they were cold.
Take your beaten egg whites and add them to your cupcake batter, gently folding it in. You want to make long strokes with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, avoid fast mixing. You don’t want to knock the air out of your egg whites.
Take a handy-dandy ice cream scoop, or a 1/4 cup measure, and fill your paper liners 3/4 of the way full with batter.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the cupcake tin to a wire rack to cool completely.
Time for the bacon!
Bump up the heat in your oven to 400.
In a small bowl combine your maple syrup, brown sugar, and red pepper. Take your strips of bacon and plop them in the bowl and give them a good coat. To make life easier, line a baking sheet with foil and place a cooling rack on top. Once your bacon is coated, lay it on the wire cooling rack and place in your oven. Bake for abooooout 15 minutes. You’re going to have to keep an eye on yours and be the boss of it though. 15 minutes worked for me, my strips were the normal cut. Thick cut bacon will of course take a bit longer.
While your bacon is baking…. time for icing!
Mix together one cup of peanut butter, a stick of butter, 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar, 3 tablespoons cream, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat for about 2 minutes, until fluffy! If using cream, be careful not to mix longer than 2 to 3 minutes. If you find your icing is too thick or isn’t as fluffy or creamy as you’d like, add more cream!
Pop your icing into an icing bag with whatever tip floats your boat – or into a ziplock bag with the tip cut off. My only advice is to use a relatively light hand with the frosting – just don’t go overboard or you risk drowning the banana and bacon flavors.
By now you’ve taken your bacon out of the oven and let it cool a bit, and the sugars on the bacon will help it “crisp” as it cools. Take a knife or some scissors (I used scissors) and cut up the bacon for a delicious and lovely garnish!
These taste great the day made, but they taste even better the next! I recommend covering and refrigerating for up to 3 days. These taste amazing at room temperature or cold!