Happy Experiment – Double Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

I came up with this recipe back in August, but haven’t had a chance to make it again until now. I wanted to recreate my results before I posted it, since the recipe was a total experiment. Those don’t always turn out the second time (or sometimes even the first time).

I had a lot of brown bananas when I came up with the recipe. I had succumbed to the ridiculously low price for a bag of overripe bananas at the grocery store. Of course, when I got home, I realized that I had more bananas than I knew what to do with. I made a double batch of banana bread and still had a bunch of bananas left over.

My brother and sister-in-law were in town that week, so I decided on banana cake, since we would have extra help eating it. I started with a recipe for banana cake that my mother clipped from the newspaper eons ago. There is no indication what paper, or what year. I ended up changing it so much that the only resemblance to the original is the fact that it has bananas in it. I exaggerate, but not much.

Mom never put an icing on this particular cake – she usually sprinkled chocolate chips and pecans on top right before she put it in the oven. I decided to take that one step further and make the cake chocolate too. I reduced the flour and sugar and replaced them with the same amount of cocoa. I also substituted half of the remaining flour with white whole wheat flour. I added vanilla, doubled the bananas and stirred chocolate chips into the batter, as well as sprinkling some on top.

The cake was a success, except somehow Rich ended up not getting any. He has been asking for me to make it again ever since, so he could try it. When I made it again, I decided to make cupcakes, for easier serving. I like the cupcakes better than the cake and probably will always make cupcakes with this particular recipe. I did include baking directions for the large cake so you can choose which to make. Which do you prefer – a cupcake or a piece of cake?

Double Chocolate Banana Cupcakes
From the Cook’s Life
Makes 18-24 cupcakes OR one 9 X 13 cake

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (4-5 medium bananas)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour (can substitute all-purpose flour)
½ cup natural cocoa powder
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pans and set aside.

Beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat again until well combined. Add bananas and mix well.

Mix all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to banana mixture and stir gently to combine. Do not beat. Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups about half full for shorter cupcakes, or about three quarters full for taller cupcakes. You will get about 24 shorter cupcakes, or 18 taller ones.

Divide the remaining chocolate chips among the cupcakes, using 3 to 4 each.

Bake cupcakes for 10-15 minutes, until tops spring back when touched lightly. Do not overbake or cakes will be dry.

Cool cupcakes about 5 minutes before removing from pans to cool on racks.

Cake Variation:
Spread the batter into a greased 9 by 13 inch pan, leveling the top. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips over the cake. Bake 25-30 minutes, being sure not to overbake the cake – bake only until middle is set and springs back when touched lightly. Let cake cool in the pan on a rack.

 Download the recipe here.

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