So there it sat: the small banana ripening at warp speed, too ripe too fast, meaning all it was good for was banana cake. But I only had the one. And I wasn't in the mood for banana cake. No, what I wanted was chocolate. Deep, dark, mind-altering chocolate.
I also had some leftover light coconut milk, and I had no idea what to do with it until I looked over at my banana. Bananas and coconut go well together, I thought. So does chocolate and coconut as I'd discovered when I tried Marcel Desaulniers Cocoa Coconut Cake from his I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas. Oh boy, were those good. Soooo good. Even without the fudge sauce.
I had happened across a chocolate banana cake recipe at Anna's Table only this morning. I went back to it. I went back to Desaulniers' recipe. Hmmm. What if I married the two? And even better, I had some leftover pumpkin seed butter centres in the freezer from a Toronto Star Christmas cookie recipe (they were supposed to be peanut butter but I'm not a big fan, shocking I know). I could add those.
With all that in mind, I developed my recipe for Chocolate Coconut Banana Cupcakes then decided a more accurate title would be Cocoa Coconut Banana Cupcakes, though harder to pronounce.
I taste tested the batter. Not bad. I tried adding the pumpkin seed butter centres before and after I'd filled the muffin cup with the batter, and I tried a couple without. Although dropping a small amount into the batter makes for some rather startling visuals, it makes for a tastier cupcake. And adding it in either before or after makes the cupcake rise higher than not adding it at all. How much you drop in is up to you. Note that it is sticky and not easy to get off the spoon or fingers. Next time, I'll probably use a measurement closer to a teaspoon. But for a subtle addition, a half teaspoon or so works well.
So here it is!
Preheat oven to 350F
Put regular sized cupcake liners in a cupcake pan.
1¼ cups whole wheat cake and pastry flour
6-7 T cocoa (less than ½ cup but more than ⅓ cup)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
Pinch salt (less than ⅛ tsp)
½ cup sugar
1 small mashed banana
2T canola oil
¼ cup buttermilk (I used Harmony organic)
It won't be liquid like a cake batter at this point but crumbly.
½ cup canned light coconut milk
½ T coconut extract
Beat for 1 minute till fairly smooth. Scrape down with a spatula and beat for a few seconds longer.
I adapted the pumpkin seed butter centres from the Toronto Star recipe by stirring together the seed butter and icing sugar until it became a firm paste. The proportions were not the same as for peanut butter, and I stupidly didn't write down what they ended up being! But if you mix about ¼ cup of the seed butter with two tablespoons of icing sugar and then keep increasing the sugar content, you'll get the right consistency.
Then mix a couple of tablespoons of this pumpkin seed butter and icing sugar mix with about the same amount of batter. Mash together. It will not be smooth.
Portion 1 ice cream scoop batter per cupcake. Drop a half teaspoon or up to a small teaspoon of pumpkin seed butter mix in middle. It will not sink.
Bake 20 minutes on the top-centre rack, turning round halfway through the baking time. If you don't have a toothpick, test by pressing gently on the cupcake. It will spring back when done. Makes 12. Using my handy-dandy iPod Diet app, I worked out that these are about 157 calories each. Well worth it, I say!
Enjoy! And please share how yours turned out.