Ah, Cheerios.  Who didn’t eat Cheerios when they were a kid?  I think it’s the only cereal I would eat besides Frosted Flakes.  Yup, was a sugar fiend even in my childhood.  These cupcakes from The Balanced Baker are made with crushed Cheerios, peanut butter and banana.   A breakfast cupcake for everyone!

Banana Nut Cheerio Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 mashed overripe banana (1 large)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 scant cup sugar

For the filling:

  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed peanut butter Cheerios cereal

For the buttercream:

  • 8 ounces egg whites (from a carton is fine)
  • 12 ounces sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons caramel sauce


Instructions:

For the filling:

  1. In bowl, with mixer on medium speed, mix powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla until blended.
  2. Shape mixture into 24 balls using heaping measuring teaspoons. (Balls will be sticky and don’t need to be perfectly shaped.)
  3. Roll in crushed Cheerios cereal. Place balls on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet; set aside.

For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with 24 paper liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, 1/4 c. at a time, beating on medium speed until light and fluffy and scraping down sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  4. In a small bowl, combine banana, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  5. Add in flour and banana mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour, and mix on low speed until just combined.
  6. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Insert a Cheerio covered peanut butter ball into the center of the cupcake and push down to cover with batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool completely, then frost with buttercream.

For the buttercream:

  1. Add egg whites and sugar to a heat-safe bowl. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk lightly until the mixture reaches 140 degrees F and the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Pour hot whites into a room-temperature bowl and whip with a wire whip until double in volume on medium-high speed. When the mixer stops, the meringue should not move around in the bowl. Meanwhile cut up butter into 2-inch pieces. (The butter should be slightly moist on the outside but cold inside.)
  3. On your mixer, remove the whip and attach the paddle. Add half the butter into the bowl immediately and pulsate the mixer several times until the meringue has covered the butter completely. To pulsate the mixer, turn it on and off in a jerky motion. This forces the butter on the top to the bottom of the bowl. Add the balance of the butter and pulsate mixer several times. Slowly increase the mixer’s speed, starting with the lowest speed and increase the speed every 10 seconds until you reach a medium-high speed.
  4. Continue beating until the mixture begins to look light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Reduce speed to low. Add vanilla and caramel and continue to beat on low speed for 45 seconds. Then beat on medium-high speed for an additional 45 to 60 seconds.
  5. Leftover buttercream can be placed in plastic containers with lids and kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost completely (several hours) and rewhip before using.

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