HUMMINGBIRD CUPCAKES WITH DRIED PINEAPPLE FLOWERS
Adapted from Martha Stewart and Joy of Baking
Makes 32 cupcakes
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3-4 medium sized bananas)
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup unsalted butter (57 grams), room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese (227 grams), room temperature
1 pound (454 grams) (about 3 2/3 cups) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sweetened coconut, toasted
32 pecan halves, toasted
Dried pineapple flowers (recipe follows)
Toast the Pecans:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center of oven.
Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant.
Let cool and then chop finely.
Make the Cupcakes:
Line cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon.
Lightly beat the eggs in a small cup...
In a large bowl, mash the bananas...
add oil, eggs, vanilla extract, pineapple and finely chopped pecans. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until combined.
Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, approx 22 to 25 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the Frosting:
In the bowl of your mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and cream cheese (make sure they are room temperature), on low speed, until very smooth with no lumps. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Frost the Cupcakes:
Once cupcakes have cooled, frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with dried pineapple flowers (recipe below), or toasted coconut flakes (toast in 350 degree oven for 6 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently) or pecan halves if desired. Serve cupcakes at room temperature.
Make the Dried Pineapple Flowers:
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line two baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper.
Using a sharp knife, cut pineapple crosswise into very thin slices, almost translucent. I had a dull knife so mine were not thin enough.
Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days.
The pineapple flowers make a dramatic cupcake topper...