adapted from Cupcakes by Pamela Clark
6 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon allspice
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup mashed banana (about 1 1/2 medium bananas)
1/3 cup sour cream or vanilla yogurt
3 tablespoons milk
1) Line a muffin pan with paper liners - for about 12 cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350F.
2) Beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
3) Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, allspice, and salt. Add gradually to the butter mixture. Add the mashed banana, sour cream (or yogurt), and milk. Mix until everything is combined (don't over-mix).
4) Divide batter amongst 12 lined muffin cups, bake for 15-18 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened, but still chilled.
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1) Over a double boiler, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt-- continue cooking/whisking until the mixture registers 160 F on a candy thermometer (I don't have a candy thermometer, so I just cook the mixture for a few minutes, until it feels quite warm to the touch). Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat for about 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature (feel the side of the bowl, when it feels neutral to the touch, you're ready).
2) Begin adding butter gradually, one tablespoon at a time. Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Continue to beat for another 5 minutes until the mixture is creamy and all butter is incorporated. Frost cupcakes using an open star tip.
* Can be stored in the refrigerator for about 1 week, or in the freezer for about 2 months. To use again: Set frosting out on counter for several hours until it has reached room temperature. Then re-whip as necessary to restore to desired consistency.
Drizzle with Chocolate Ganache, if desired.
Chocolate Ganache Drizzle
1 square semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1) Heat the heavy whipping cream in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Let cool for about 30 seconds then add the chocolate. Let sit for 2-3 minutes, then stir until smooth. Drizzle over frosted cupcakes. Top with chocolate jimmies.