Happy birthday to meeee!
I turn 26 today. Probably not the most exciting age, but still one I hope will bring good things.
25 was a great year. It wasn’t full of huge changes or excitement, but I’d like to think I started spending more time on things I enjoy over the past year. I’m definitely feeling happy at the end of 25, so I can only hope 26 brings more of the same!
No big celebrations planned for 26. In case you don’t know, I kind of dread being the center of attention, so I sometimes find my birthday a bit embarrassing. Weird, I know. Last year Nate threw me a surprise party, which was amazing – I was SO surprised! – but I asked him pleeeease not to do that this year, because I just can’t handle it! My last surprise party before that was my 16th birthday, so hopefully I have another 10 years or so before the next one. On the 9 birthdays in between, I prefer just a romantic dinner with my sweetie!
Something else I think I’ll want on my birthday for the next 9 years? These cupcakes.
Peanut butter cupcakes with a banana buttercream frosting. If that doesn’t make your heart skip a beat, I’m not sure what will.
I have been on a huuuuge peanut butter kick recently. Recently, like for the past year. Peanut butter dolloped on my oatmeal, spread on my fruit, melted over vanilla ice cream and a brownie (what?), and blended into my smoothies and salad dressings. And these cupcakes are pretty much my ultimate peanut butter lovin’ creation.
As they should be; it took me THREE batches of cupcakes and FOUR batches of icing to perfect this combination. (Well, one of the batches of cupcakes was because I managed to double everything except the flour… details.) These cupcakes aren’t fussy or anything, it’s just that I wanted to make sure I had the perfect cake+icing combo to celebrate my birthday. At one point I tried to use a peanut butter frosting with the peanut butter cupcakes. I thought it was delicious, but was informed by Nate that we might as well be eating peanut butter straight from the jar. I told him not to be silly… these are much healthier than straight PB! Kidding. But I’m glad I listened, because these cupcakes and this soft buttery banana icing are meant to be together.
And as a compromise, I snuck a little extra smear of peanut butter onto each cupcake before I iced them.
But OMG the frosting. Let’s not forget to talk about it. It is buttery, banana-y bliss. I wasn’t too sure how a banana would fare in a frosting, but it turns out the answer is VERY WELL. As long as you use a ripe, fresh banana. First I tried using an overripe banana I had defrosted from my freezer (cause those are delicious in smoothies and banana bread), but it turns out that was the wrong choice. (Remember how I had to make four different frostings?) But use a fresh banana here and I promise you’ll want to bathe in this frosting. For real.
Also, I should mention that it seems to keep well. I was a little nervous about it turning brown as bananas tend to do while the cupcakes sat in my fridge for a few days, but that wasn’t the case. Just as purdy as on day one!
Wishing I could reach into my computer and grab that little cupcake right now. It’s my birthday, so I can totally lick the frosting off, right?
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2/3 cup milk (I used plain unsweetened almond milk)
- 1 ripe banana, mashed (not overripe!)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Peanut butter
- Finely chopped toasted peanuts
- Preheat oven to 350 and place liners in cupcake tins.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar for several minutes until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
- In a separate medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture, alternating with the almond milk, beating well after each addition.
- Spoon batter into lined cupcake tins, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out with moist crumbs, 18-20 minutes. Remove and cool completely before frosting.
- While cupcakes cool, make frosting. With a hand mixer (or stand mixer if you have one!), cream together the banana, butter, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Beat in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until you have a creamy and spreadable frosting.
- Once cupcakes are completely cool, spread each with a thin layer of peanut butter, about a 1/2 teaspoon (optional). Spread or pipe with icing and sprinkle immediately with crushed peanuts, if using.