This year I decided that I would have a New Year's resolution that I could stick to. I thought about it for a while and eventually landed on baking. So with my trusty mixer and collection of pans, I set off on a 52 week baking adventure. It's been a fun journey and there have been some ups and downs, but we've finally arrived at week 52.

This week I had a bunch of bananas slowly rotting on my counter. Normally, I would turn this sort of thing into a loaf or two of banana bread. However, I wanted to end this series on a more spectacular note, and plain old banana bread just wouldn't cut it. So I brainstormed and came up with Banana Cupcakes with a Dulce de Leche filling and Chocolate Buttercream frosting. They came together quickly, and were a real treat to my sweet tooth. To get the recipe, read more

Note: If you don't like dulce de leche, then try your own variation with peanut butter, chocolate or simply omit.

Gooey Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream
A recipe in progress by YumSugar

Makes 18

3 overripe bananas plus 1 more for decoration
splash of milk (optional)
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
dulce de leche filling, recipe follows
chocolate buttercream, recipe follows

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a food processor, puree bananas until smooth. Depending on your bananas, you may need to add a splash of mixture so that the consistency is nice and smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk or sift flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together. Set aside.
  4. In a mixer or large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until well mixed, and airy.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before proceeding.
  6. Stir in vanilla, followed by banana puree.
  7. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Scoop an even amount of dough into each cup. I filled them to the top and had enough for 19 cupcakes.
  8. Bake for about 16 minutes. A wooden skewer inserted in the middle willl come out clean and tops are a light brown in color.
  9. Remove cupcakes from oven and cool in tins for two minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.
  10. When cupcakes are completely cooled, cut a cone shape from the center. Set aside.
  11. Spoon enough dulce de leche to fill the cavity you have created.
  12. Top with cone piece, to create a nearly seamless look. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.
  13. Spoon some frosting on top of each cupcake, spread out with a spatula.
  14. Top each cupcake with a thin slice of banana.

For filling:
1 14 oz-can sweetened condensed milk

  1. Fill the bottom of a double boiler (or pan if using bowl/pan method), halfway with water. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to medium. Pour milk into the top of the double boiler (or bowl if using/bowl/pan method). Heat until milk has thickened and has become a dark caramel color. This will take about 2 hours. Every 30 minutes give it a stir and replenish water on bottom if necessary. When finished, remove from heat and cool completely.

For frosting:
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk

  1. In a small bowl or mixer, cream butter.
  2. Mix in cocoa powder (you can add more or less depending on taste).
  3. Mix in vanilla.
  4. Mix in half of powdered sugar, followed by half of the milk.
  5. Mix in the rest of the powdered sugar. Blend well. Add the rest of the milk and mix completely. If your frosting is too thin, add more sugar (or cocoa depending on taste). If it is too thick, add more milk.