Archive for the ‘Dessert’ category

Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake

February 10, 2011

So Valentines Day is just around the corner, so what better way to celebrate than chocolate!  Chocolate is a girl’s best friend so whether you are alone on Valentines Day (in which case I would eat at least half the cake with a glass of wine and a chick flick) or have a hot date (in which case I would do the exact same thing except maybe the chick flick), this cake won’t disappoint!  The cool thing about this cake is there’s a little surprise once you slice into it-a white chocolate layer between layers which provides an interesting contrast.  With a different filling, icing and cake batter I suggest baking the cake layers a day before and it will make your life a little easier.  And also for those of you who are single or on one of those all so important initial Valentine’s Day dates, this cake might just take it to the next level 🙂

Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake

adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes

  • butter for greasing pans
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups hot, strongly brewed coffee
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar

White Chocolate Mousse:

  • 4 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Sour Cream Chocolate Icing:

  • 12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

Heat oven to 350F. Butter bottom and sides of 3 (9-inch) cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment or wax paper. Butter top of linings.

For batter, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Put chopped chocolate in heat-proof bowl. Pour milk and coffee on top. Let stand 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool slightly. With mixer, beat eggs, mayonnaise, and vanilla. Gradually beat in sugar. Add dry ingredients and coffee liquid alternately in 2 or 3 additions, beating until smooth. Divide batter among pans.Bake 25-28 minutes, or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks 10-15 minutes. Unmold cakes. Peel off paper lining and cool completely, 1 hour.

For mousse, melt white chocolate with 1/4 cup cream, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Beat remaining 3/4 cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. Whip egg white with sugar until fairly stiff peaks form. Fold beaten egg white into white chocolate cream. Then fold in whipped cream.

For sour cream icing, melt chocolate with butter and corn syrup on very low heat. Remove from heat and whisk until smooth. Whisk in half-and-half and sour cream.

Place one cake layer flat-side up on cake stand. Cover top with half the mousse, leaving 1/4 -inch margin around edge. Repeat with second layer. Set third layer on top. Use enough of the icing to thinly cover top and sides. Don’t worry if cake shows through. This layer seals in crumbs. Refrigerate cake 30 minutes to set. Cover cake with remaining icing, swirling with back of spoon or offset spatula.


Triple Lemon Layer Cake

January 12, 2011

Snow!  It’s everywhere around here…or now it’s more like ice, but seeing how I hate the cold and don’t like to go out in either, it’s all the same to me!  Same in the since that it’s cancelled our first two days back to class so I’ve had some fabulous time to chill in the apartment and cook.  Now this cake is an excellent summer cake, however sometimes after craving stews and pastas and all the other comfort foods that cold weather makes me crave, it’s nice to have a more refreshing dessert.  I love lemon in just about any dish whether is sweet or savory, but I have to say that I could have a bowl full of the lemon curd from the recipe and lick it clean after I was done.   Make the curd the day before so it can chill and then it will make the cake process a lot easier-it’s always easier to make layer cakes in shifts!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Triple-Lemon Layer Cake
Adapted from Fine Cooking

9 1/4 ounces (2 1/3 cups) cake flour;
more for the pans
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lightly packed finely
grated lemon zest
6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
completely softened
1 cup whole milk
room temperature
5 large egg whites
room temperature
1/4 teaspoon creme of tarter

Lemon Curd
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
grated zest of three lemons
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp.

8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter,
completely softened
2 tablespoon lightly packed finely
grated lemon zest
3 ½ cups sifted confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Make the lemon curd first so it can chill.
Whisk together the whole eggs, yolks, sugar, lemon juice , and lemon zest together in a medium bowl. Transfer to a small non-reactive saucepan. Gently heat the mixture, whisking until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. make sure not to boil the mixture. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a heatproof bowl. Stir in the butter and cover the curd with plastic making sure the plastic touches the curd. This should prevent a skin from forming on the curd. Refrigerate until cold.


Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8 by 2 inch round cake pans. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Pulse 1/4 cup of the sugar with the zest in a food processor until well combined.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and lemon sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 1 ½ minutes). Add the remaining sugar and beat until smooth (about 1 ½ minutes). Beat in a quarter of the milk just until blended. On low speed, add the flour mixture alternatively with the milk in three batches, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula; beat just until blended.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer (with clean beaters or a whisk attachment) on medium speed just until foamy. Add the creme of tarter, increase the speed to medium high, and beat until the whites form stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. Add a quarter of the whites to the batter and gently fold them in with a rubber spatula; continue to gently fold tin the whites, a quarter at a time , being careful not to deflate the mixture.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake until a pick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Let cool in the pans 10 minutes. Run a table knife along the sides of the pans and carefully invert each cake out onto the rack. Flip them right side up and let them cool completely.
With the palm of one hand pressed on top of a cake layer, cut each in half horizontally, using a long serrated knife. Put one of the cake layers on a serving plate, cut side up. With an offset spatula or a table knife, spread a generous 1/3 a cup on top of the cake layer. Lay another cake layer on top, spread it with another generous 1/3 a cup, and repeat with third cake layer.  Top with the fourth cake layer.


In a medium bowl, beat the butter and lemon zest with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners sugar in batches and beat until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice and beat for one minute. (You can make the frosting a couple of hours early and keep it, covered, at cool room temperature.)

Frost the Cake:

Up to a few hours ahead, spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake, filling in any gaps as you go. Chill until the frosting firms up a bit, about ½ hour. Spread the remaining frosting decoratively over the top and sides of cake. Garnish as you like.

New York Cheesecake

October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!  Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays growing up.  The process of figuring out the costume and applying the make up while some delicious stew was simmering on the stove is one of my favorite memories.  Now I’m not going out to trick or treat anymore but I get just as excited to carve a pumpkin, watch a scary movie and pass out candy while cooking a wonderful fall dinner.  Now this post should therefore be about some type of stew that simmers all day while you prepare for all the little goblins coming to your door, but since I made cheesecake this past week I thought I would go ahead and share that instead.  I’m not a huge cheesecake fan but I made this specifically for someone this past week and became a convert for cheesecake.  It was so creamy and tasty that it became one of those desserts that you just need one more bite, and one more, and one more……

New York Cheesecake

adapted from cooks illustrated

For the crust:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 additional tablespoon, melted, for greasing the pan
4 ounces (approximately 8 whole) graham crackers, broken into rough pieces and processed into fine, even crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar

For the cheesecake:
2½ pounds (5 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
⅛ teaspoon salt
1½ (10.5 ounces) cups sugar
⅓ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks plus 6 large eggs, at room temperature

To make the crust, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with ½ tablespoon of the melted butter. In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, 5 tablespoons melted butter, and sugar. Toss with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Transfer the crumbs to the springform pan and use the bottom of a ramekin to firmly press the crumbs evenly into the pan bottom. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around the edges, about 13 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while preparing the filling.

Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium-low speed to break up and soften it slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape the beater and the bottom and sides of the bowl well with a rubber spatula; add the salt and about half of the sugar and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl; beat in the remaining sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl; add the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl; add the egg yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl; add the remaining eggs 2 at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl between additions.

Brush the sides of the springform pan with the remaining ½ tablespoon melted butter. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any spills in case the pan leaks. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake 10 minutes; without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until the cheesecake reads about 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center, about 1½ hours. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool until barely warm, 2½ to 3 hours. Run a paring knife between the cake and the springform pan sides. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours.

To unmold the cheesecake, removed the sides of the pan. Slide a thin metal spatula between the crust and the bottom of the pan to loosen, then slide the cake onto a serving plate. Let the cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve. (Use a long, thin, sharp knife that has been run under hot water and then dried for slicing. Wipe the blade clean and rewarm between slices.)

Almond Basket with Blueberry Sauce

June 21, 2010

As someone who has yet to take a formal baking or pastry class, I tend to shy away from attempting a lot of breads, desserts, and other sweets. However, when my family’s favorite restaurant recently closed their doors after decades of serving the Charlotte market, they also took away our favorite dessert – an almond basket with cinnamon ice cream, fresh raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, and homemade whipped cream. In order to keep the entire family from going through withdrawal, I decided to take a stab at creating my very own almond basket. After reviewing numerous recipes online, I thought I had the gist of it. In order to be safe, however, I decided to pretty much double the quantities of ingredients called for in many recipes, just in case I messed up a few of my first attempts (which, I did…see below).

But once I got the hang of making the almond baskets, they were pretty straight-forward. Thrilled with my results, I continued making almond baskets like a mad-woman, until at one point, I looked at my kitchen table, and counted 26 almond baskets. At that point, I decided to drop the spatula and slowly back away from my oven. I am now trying to find new and creative uses for almond baskets – I think my best idea so far is “edible yarmulke.” Better go to the patent office first thing tomorrow morning.

But I digress…

An almond basket can be served 1,000 ways. I had some blueberries in the fridge, so I decided to make a sauce that my Advanced Culinary professor taught us, and simply serve it over some vanilla bean ice cream. Fresh Raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries would all be great additions to this dessert. This dessert has a great presentation, is delicious, and will wow your guests, no matter what the occasion. Give it a try – you will be surprised how easy it is to make almond baskets!!

Almond Basket with Blueberry Sauce (scroll down for blueberry sauce recipe)

Almond Basket (yields 8 – 4 ½” baskets)
1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. heavy cream
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet/sheet pan with parchment paper; set aside. Gather several bowls of similar diameter and place them near your work area to use as molds for the baked almond rounds. The bowls I used were about 4 ½” diameter, but you can use any size you have on hand.

Combine almonds, butter, sugar, flour, heavy cream, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small sauce pan over low heat. Stir until the butter and sugar have melted, then remove from heat. The batter should be off-white/pale yellow in color.

Using a tablespoon, drop the batter onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Leave about 4” between each drop of batter, as it will spread out quite a bit during the cooking process. If you use approximately 1 Tbsp of batter per round, you will end up with approx eight 4.5” basket.

Right before going into oven:

Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, or until bubbly and golden-brown.

When the rounds are this color, remove from oven:

While the rounds are in the oven, invert the 4 bowls (to use as molds) on your work station. After the rounds have finished cooking, remove them from the oven. Let the rounds cool just until they begin to harden around the edges, then carefully but quickly transfer each round to your molds. To form a basket, drape one round over each of the bowls that were previously set aside, being sure to press each part of the round against the bowl, so that it will take the shape of the bowl while it cools. **This batter will harden very quickly, so it is imperative to transfer the rounds to the bowls as soon as you are able to handle the mixture without tearing it or burning yourself**

You may need to practice on a couple of the rounds before you get the hang of it – this is what happens if you try to transfer a round to the mold before it has set up enough:

The almond baskets will harden fairly quickly. After the baskets have cooled (it only takes a couple of minutes), transfer them to parchment paper to hold, if you will be using them the same day. If you are preparing the rounds ahead of time, they can be stored for up to 2-3 days in an airtight container.

To serve: Fill almond basket with vanilla bean ice cream, top with blueberry sauce, and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately.

*Alternative fillings/toppings: ice cream, sorbet, fresh berries, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, fruit sauce, caramel, fresh berries, chocolate candies, etc.

Blueberry Sauce (yields about 1 quart)**
recipe courtesy of Chef Tessia Harman

1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups water
½ cup orange juice
1 ½ tsp. orange zest
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (remove stems – – only use the leaves) (optional)
2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier (optional)
1 Tbsp butter


In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar, water, orange juice, orange zest and cornstarch to a boil.

Add 1 cup of berries, fresh thyme leaves (opt.) and Grand Marnier (opt.).

Reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce has thickened and reduced slightly (about 10 minutes).

Add remaining berries and cook 5 more minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in butter until dissolved, and serve. Can be served hot or cold, and can be refrigerated for up to a week.

**Can be served with a wide variety of foods, including pancakes, waffles, French toast, ice cream, sorbet, cheese cake, angel food cake, pound cake, etc.


-It is not necessary to grease the outsides of the bowls that you will use as the molds for the baskets – the butter in the almond batter recipe keeps the batter from sticking.

-I recommend baking 3-4 rounds at a time. While baking, the batter spreads out much more than one would think. Making batches of 3-4 at a time batch prevents over-crowding on the cookie sheet, which causes the batter to run together. It also allows you to transfer each of the rounds to the molds before the remaining rounds harden on your work station.

-You may need to adjust the amount of batter you use to make your rounds depending on the diameter of the bowls you have.

Happy Memorial Day!

June 1, 2010

I love having Mondays off!  The work/home life balance should always be four days working and three days off!  I normally feel the need to plan a trip over long weekends but with how busy everything seems to be lately, I decided to relax in town which was exactly what I needed.   I think everyone else has been just as busy with wedding season so a lot of people had our same idea and stayed around.  Ricky and I went to two new restaurants with groups of people, saw Sex and the City, and grilled out last night and watched Nascar (only out of the corner of my eye, I haven’t quite managed to get into that despite living in Charlotte!).  My patriotic contribution to the weekend was cupcakes!  A little red, white and blue made out of butter, sugar and yumminess to top off a fantastic three days!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.  In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.   Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla.  Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk.  Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.

In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well.   Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter among the cupcake cups. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 pound cream cheese, chilled
  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

To make the white chocolate cream cheese frosting, place the very cold cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Start beating at low speed just to get the ingredients blending, then beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the melted white chocolate and the vanilla and beat on medium speed just to blend.

Use a pastry bag or cut a slit in a freezer bag and fill with icing to top each cupcake after they have been cooled.  I then used blue fondant to cut out the stars but feel free to use any type of decoration or nothing at all and they will still look great!

Almond Raspberry Layer Cake

May 23, 2010

Sorry for the delay in posts but as I said before, May is a busy month!  Lots of exciting things have been going on lately.  Last week I quit my job that I have had ever since graduating college to take the plunge and really pursue my passion-cooking.  I will start working with a catering company tomorrow and can’t wait to start getting the experience I will need to one day do something on my own.  On a side note, my sister and brother-in-law also celebrated the big 30th birthday on Saturday! My contribution to the party was the cake.  I had so much fun making it and was so glad I could do something like that for them on such a special occasion.  So Saturday we ate Mexican, drank margaritas, played a little cornhole and finished the night with cake.  Kelly and Jeff, good luck with the next decade, I love you both!  I, in the meantime, will still be enjoying my younger years 🙂

Almond raspberry Layer Cake

adapted from Sky High


4 1/2 cups cake flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup prepared almond paste (7 ounces)
2 2/3 cups sugar
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon almond extract
10 egg whites
1 1/2 cups whole milk

For icing:

1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
3 egg whites
3 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans, then line the bottom of each pan with parchment.

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium/large bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until combined. Add almond paste in small pieces. Once all paste is added, increase speed of mixer and mix until there are no large visible chunks of almond paste. The mixture will be very light and fluffy.

Mix in the almond extract, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides after each addition.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Dust about a third of the dry ingredients over the batter and fold in with a large rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in about half the milk. Fold in half the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk. Finally, fold in the last of the dry ingredients just until no streaks of white remain. Use a light hand and do not overmix. Divide the batter among the three prepared cake pans.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester stuck into the center comes out clean (this took more on the 30min side in my oven). Let the cakes cool in their pans on wire racks for about 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out on to wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners and let them cool completely, about one hour.

I prefer to freeze my cakes the day before because it makes working with the layers to decorate easier.  Just make sure to wrap them tightly in saran wrap if so and thaw completely before serving.

While the cake is cooling, make your icing. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of a small saucepan. Add the sugar and the water to the saucepan and turn on the stove to medium. Allow the mixture to boil, without stirring it, until it reaches the soft-ball stage (238 degrees). In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium until they’re frothy. Continue beating while gradually adding the hot syrup in a slow stream (try to avoid the beaters so you don’t splatter!). When all of the syrup is in, increase the speed of the mixer to high and beat until the icing is very fluffy and the outside of the bowl no longer feels hot to the touch. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the butter, 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time. If it looks like the mixture is curdling, don’t panic, just keep whipping! After the mixture looks like icing, add the almond extract and mix until just combined.

To assemble: Place one layer flat side up on a cake stand or serving plate. Pipe a border of icing around the the edge of the cake, which will serve as your barrier to keep the filling inside! Spread 1/2 cup of the raspberry preserves over the cake, right up to the icing border. Repeat with the second layer, using remaining preserves.

Add the third layer. Cover the top and sides of the cake with icing. If you have any extra icing, using a decorating tip to pipe a border.  I also made polka dots out of marshmallow fondant.  It’s easy to make and homemade marshmallow fondant tastes way better than store bought.  Use color gels to color your fondant and cut out circles and stick them on the sides of the cake by using a dab of buttercream on the inside of each circle.  Use your creativity here though, that’s the fun part!

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

May 4, 2010

I grew up listening to the Elvis Christmas album every year while we were in the car, while we decorated our Christmas tree, and unfortunately while my mom sung along (sorry mom, but believe me-not a good thing!).  I somehow came to love that album but not as much as I love Elvis’s signature combination of banana and peanut butter.  How could such a simple combination taste so good!  These cupcakes didn’t disappoint either and have now been added as one of my favorites.  I hope you enjoy it as much as Elvis did…and maybe turn on a little of his music to groove to in the process!

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

adapted from


  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 very ripe large bananas, peeled
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk


  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground)
  • Chopped lightly salted roasted peanuts (optional)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 12 standard (1/3-cup) muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Mash bananas with fork in another medium bowl until smooth. Mix sour cream and vanilla into bananas.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk and beat until well blended. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with banana-sour cream mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until blended after each addition. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups (generous 1/4 cup for each).

Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center of each comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack and let cool completely.

Sift powdered sugar into large bowl. Add cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until smooth. Spread frosting over top of cupcakes, dividing equally. Sprinkle lightly with chopped peanuts, if desired.