I couldn’t help myself.
I’ve had a busy week. I sold my house. Considering I am moving to New England in just three and a half short months, this is a huge relief, and it’s especially a huge relief because it seems like every other house in the neighborhood is for sale as well. So cross your fingers that all goes well, and closing is the final straw for a series of events that have been a very long time coming.
So what do I do? I pull out the big guns in the “recipes I have been meaning to try for a very long time” arena. Bananas Foster has always been one of my favorite desserts (I mean, come on, who doesn’t love a good solid flambé table-side? Or, even better, in your own kitchen?). So this was a dessert I wanted to tackle in my celebration of (hopefully) not being a homeowner for much longer and for the very beginnings of a new start out East. I have my medical boards coming up, so after a long day of intense studying, some culinary therapy was in order. And, there is nothing better to me than spending an evening in the kitchen, trying something adventurous, and listening to some new music. Ahhh, heaven.
Now, I will not lie. These are complicated. I added to the complication by deciding to create a Swiss meringue cinnamon rum buttercream. I would have gone for a cream cheese based frosting, but I was slightly concerned that the sweetness of cupcakes (especially having real Bananas Foster in them) combined with an in-your-face, thick, sweet frosting would be way too much. I love Swiss meringue for its subtle sweetness and heavenly texture. Light as air, but full of flavor in the form of cinnamon and rum. I thought it was a great compliment for the cupcakes. The best part about this dessert? The fact that you actually get to make Bananas Foster on the stove! I got to flambé for the first time. Just make sure you have a long match for this, and be careful! It can be super intimidating, I know, but you can do it!!!!
Bananas Foster Cupcakes with Cinnamon Rum Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Servings: approximately 32 cupcakes
For the actual Bananas Foster:
3/4 cups (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 firm but ripe bananas, sliced into 1/4-inch thick cross-section slices
2 tablespoons spiced rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the rest of the cupcake:
3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon spiced rum
3/4 cup sour cream
For the Cinnamon Rum Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
5 large egg whites
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 sticks (yes, I know, I know….) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons spiced rum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Special equipment: a candy thermometer
1. For the Bananas Foster: Over medium heat in a large sauté pan, combine the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, stirring frequently.
2. Once the brown sugar is completely dissolved, add the sliced bananas and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes, making sure to evenly coat the bananas with the butter “sauce”.
3. Add the rum and vanilla to the pan.
4. Turn off the heat (especially if you have a gas flame), and very carefully, using a long match, light the rum near the outer edge of your pan.
5. Shake the pan and flame very gently from side to side. The flame should only last about 10 seconds, at the most.
6. Once the flame is out, stir the mixture to evenly coat the bananas, and set aside.
7. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
8. Line your cupcake pan with the desired liners.
9. In your standing mixer using the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, mixing well until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
10. Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.
11. Add the eggs to the butter/sugar mixture, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
12. Add the vanilla and rum to the wet ingredients to the wet ingredients.
13. Very carefully (it will still be hot) and with the mixer off, add the Bananas Foster mixture to the standing mixer bowl. Resume mixing at low speed until mixed well.
14. Add the flour mixture and the sour cream in thirds, mixing alternatively with each other. Mix the batter until well combined.
15. Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake pan.
16. Bake the cupcakes until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes total, rotating the pans halfway during the baking process.
17. Cool the cupcakes completely on a wire rack before frosting.
18. For the Cinnamon Rum Swiss Meringue Butter Cream: In a heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, lightly whisk the egg whites and granulated sugar until well-combined. Using your candy thermometer, heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until the temperature registers 140 degrees (this took me about 20 minutes or so.)
19. Once hot, pour the mixture into your standing mixer (make sure your mixing bowl is room temperature) bowl and, using the whisk attachment, whisk until the whites have doubled in volume, about 5 minutes or so. The mixture should be thick and creamy in consistency, and it should not move around the bowl once the whisk stops moving.
20. Remove the whisk attachment and attach the paddle.
21. Add half of the butter pieces, and, stopping and starting your mixer in 1-2 second pulses, pulse the mixture until the butter pieces are all evenly coated with the meringue.
22. Add the remaining half of the butter pieces and pulsate the mixer several more times.
23. Starting with the lowest mixing speed, mix the meringue for about 10 seconds, increasing the speed of your mixer consecutively, at each speed for about 10 seconds, until you reach a medium-high speed.
24. Continue mixing at a medium-high speed until the butter is completely melted and the mixture is light and fluffy, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
25. Add the rum and cinnamon and mix at medium-high speed for another minute or so.
26. Refrigerate the frosting for about 10 minutes to firm up a little before piping. ***Leftover frosting can be frozen for up to 3 months.
27. Pipe as desired (I used my go-to Wilton 1M tip) onto the cupcakes.