I have been wanting to make these cupcakes for a LONG time. It’s one of those where you see the recipe or picture online and think, that looks good, I’ll try that. But you never really get around to it? Yeah, that was about two years ago. And lately it’s been circling again and tugging at me. So I was resolved to make them and picked up some plantains at the store. After waiting a week and a half for my plantains to ripen, it was finally time to make these things. And they were fantastic even without the frosting.
I didn’t know plantains could carry the flavor so well, but they did. I have only eaten them prepared as Tostones until now. I plan on making them again, maybe as a loaf or cake. I may have not waited until the plantains were fully black on the outside as recipes suggest, but I waited pretty long and they looked good enough to use.
Caramelized Plantain Cupcakes
- 3 very ripe plantains (peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. butter, melted
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (or 2tsp of lemon juice and rest of 1/2 cup with milk as substitute)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups caramelized mashed plantains
Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup Nutella
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Toasted hazelnuts, crushed
- 1 sliced and caramelized plantain
- Caramel sauce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. To caramelize the plantains, mix the melted butter and brown sugar to form a paste see below. And sprinkle the cinnamon over the plantains. Pour the mixture and toss the plantains until evenly coated. Throw them in the oven for 20 minutes. I took a potato masher and mashed them right in the same pan. (saves dishes) you can also use a fork.
They were sooo tender, and the smell that came out of the oven was heavenly! I could eat this alone.
While that was baking, I started to prep the cupcakes. In one bowl I combined the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl I started to cream the sugar and butter with a mixer. If the butter is soft enough, you may not need a mixer. I try to save dishes whenever possible, especially something that has several components to it. So when the butter and sugar is creamed, add your eggs, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and the mashed caramelized plantains. Slowly stir in your dry ingredients and mix until smooth. It may look a little lumpy but that’s ok. The pieces of plantain give a great texture later.
I had enough batter for about 18 cupcakes, filling the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350 for approximately 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
I didn’t get to make the frosting the same day. Time just got away from me, but I made it the next day and it was still delicious. A few cupcakes did disappear before the frosting was made.
Here I just took my mixer and whipped the cream cheese and Nutella, adding the vanilla extract and powdered sugar a little at a time. Be careful or you’ll wind up with a cloud of powdered sugar in your face! Not to mention your counters and any nearby appliances!
I wanted to top the cupcakes with some of the elements in them, so I sliced and caramelized another plantain in a pan with butter and brown sugar, and sprinkle of cinnamon.
And I also toasted and then crushed some hazelnuts. If you are needing a stress release, this is good therapy.
Because I was feeling ambitious, I also made a caramel sauce to drizzle that consisted of brown sugar, butter, a pinch of salt, a little bit of half and half, and a pinch of salt.
I didn’t get to take a picture of the actual decorating. I took a zip lock bag, cut the corner off one end, and placed a 1/2 inch diameter decorating tip in the bag. Then I filled the bag with frosting. With a steady hand, just work from the outside of the cupcake, towards the center. Place a plantain slice on top, sprinkle some hazelnuts, and drizzle some caramel sauce.
They turned out great! These cupcakes went fast. I will definitely be making them again!
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