I know know I have made a rod for my own back by feeding my work colleagues of a Monday morning. They're getting brave & cheeky now & telling me what they'd like me to make... luckily it was a variation on what was already brewing in my brain. Somebody even donated a forlorn looking battered banana to the baking fund!
So, I had a pile of bananas that had to be eaten or binned & I hate waste, so I thought I'd make some muffins. But then I had a brainwave... cupcakes. Recently we got a gift in work - two boxes of very pretty cupcakes all the way from the UK. All fur coat and no knickers. They tasted of nothing at all, the sponge was stale and the icing was absolutely vile. I couldn't even finish half of one, and I wasn't alone. That was my cue... I was going to make some kick-ass cupcakes.
I started off by using my basic Banana Chocolate Muffin recipe - which I doubled due to the giant bunch of bananas and while they were cooling, made the chocolate caramel buttercream icing. This turned them into Funky Monkey Cupcakes!
Fill the muffin cases to just below half & bake for 13-14 minutes. When cool, slice off the domed tops to create a flat surface for the icing.
Now here comes the good stuff... this icing is fantastically good because it contains real chocolate and fleur du sel caramel - two of my favourite things. This quantity covers 34 cupcakes with some to spare as a chef's treat (well, you can't waste those decapitated cupcake tops, can you...). It's also incredibly easy if you make it in a large food processor with a cover, otherwise you'll be choking on clouds of icing sugar!
Chocolate Caramel Buttercream Icing
300g softened Butter (make sure it's really squidgy)
700g Icing Sugar
1tbsp Cocoa (I use Green and Blacks)
100g Chocolate, melted & slightly cooled
2 tbsp Fleur du Sel Caramel
Mix the butter, cocoa and icing sugar together until it becomes light and fluffy.
Add the melted chocolate and mix well. Add the caramel and mix again until everything is very well combined and the icing is a gorgeous brown colour.
Now it's application time. You can smooth it on with a palette knife or be all posh & use a piping bag like I did to create lovely cupcake swirls all over the top. As they contain butter, I'd recommend storing them somewhere very cool (the fridge is an ideal spot). They won't last too long though.