This is the first banana cupcake recipe I have seen with caramel, sort of an interesting twist.  Not only is there caramel (and bananas!) in the buttercream frosting, but Taste and Tell added a special caramel filling.  There are bananas in the mix which means these are almost healthy, right?

Caramel Banana Cupcakes

Makes about 18 cupcakes

Ingredients
  • 12 ounces (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • One bag (5.5 oz) soft caramels
  • 4¼ cups powdered sugar
  • caramel sauce, for topping, if desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 12-count muffin tins with 18 liners.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 4 oz. (1 stick) of the butter with 1 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Add ¾ cup of the bananas, the baking powder and ½ teaspoon of the salt and beat until smooth. Add in 1 cup of the flour and mix just until combined. Add in 6 tablespoons of the milk and the remaining ¾ cup of flour and mix until combined.
  3. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually mix in the remaining ¼ cup of sugar on high speed and continue to beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until no white streaks remain.
  4. Fill each of the cupcake liners about ¾ full. Cut 9 of the caramels in half and add one piece to the center of each cup of batter. Bake in the preheated oven until the top springs back when touched, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
  5. While the cupcakes are baking, add the remaining caramels to a heavy saucepan. Add the remaining ¼ cup of milk, ¼ cup of bananas and ¼ teaspoon of salt and cook over medium heat until the caramels are melted.
  6. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and ¼ cup of the powdered sugar until thick, about 3 minutes. Slowly beat in the caramel mixture, then transfer the mixture back to the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cool.
  7. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the remaining 8 oz (2 sticks) of butter at high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the cooled caramel mixture, then slowly beat in the remaining 4 cups of powdered sugar. Beat on high until light and fluffy.
  8. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and drizzle with caramel sauce, if desired.

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