Thursday, June 3, 2010

Carl Sagan Cakes

Fresh banana cakes filled with peanut butter creme, topped with fudge frosting, walnuts, & love

I wasn't sure what name to give to these cupcakes so I decided to name these delicious cakes after one of the most inspiring astronomers and personal hero of mine, Carl Sagan. These cupcakes were a big hit! I listened to the song 'A Glorious Dawn' by Symphony of Science (which features Carl Sagan!!) while baking these cakes.

Check it out:

Banana Cake (courtesy of Martha Stewart):
1 1/2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 c mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas)
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Creme Filling:
1/3 c powdered sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/8 tsp vanilla extract

Fudge Frosting:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 c butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c walnuts (for decoration)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line about 18 cupcake cups with paper baking cups.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. In the well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir just to incorporate flour mixture (do not over-mix, which was hard for me!)
3. Divide mixture evenly among baking cups; smooth surface.
4. Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. Immediately remove cupcakes from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

5. To fill the cupcakes with the peanut butter filling: use a star tip attached to a pastry bag and plunge it about 3/4 of an inch deep into the top of the cake. Gently squeeze the pastry bag to fill the cupcake until you feel it expand slightly, withdrawing it slowly as you squeeze.

6. Frost the cupcakes and add a sprinkling of walnuts.

'Let It Be' by Benny Benassi was a perfect follow up song to 'A Glorious Dawn' as well as frost to.

Peanut Butter Creme Filling:
In a medium bowl, beat the peanut butter with the butter until creamy. Add the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla to the bowl and beat until light and fluffy (approximately 2 minutes). Spoon the filling into a pastry bag and fill the cupcakes once they have cooled.

Fudge Frosting:
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from head and let cool to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (~ 1 minute). Add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy (~2 minutes). Add the vanilla. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is smooth and glossy (~ 2-3 minutes).

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