banana cupcakes with spicy ginger glaze

© Lydia,

I have a lot of love for bananas, I think they're amazing. I love the sweet, creamy texture from a perfectly ripe banana, right after a long swim, preferably still cold, and certainly no more than a week after the last of the green has gone and it's still lemon yellow. But I'm a little bit particular about them, I can't stand any bruising, or a banana that has gone golden yellow, the texture totally changes for me and I have a real problem with the furriness that creeps in. Incredibly fussy I know, but that's the way it is.

One of my favourite things to do with bananas in summer is to slice them and freeze them, and have ready-frozen chunks for use in smoothies, ice cream, or nibbling as is, and it's a great way of keeping bananas at the perfect age if I've ended up buying too much. I'm not much of a smoothie or ice-cream lover in winter though, and so my love for mashed banana as an ingredient in baking has grown, though I struggle a bit with the heaviness of a typical banana bread or banana muffins.

So here's my recipe for light and fluffy, deliciously moist and sticky, spicy ginger and banana cupcakes, topped with a seriously strong ginger glaze, for a sharpness that helps to keep the overall flavour out of the stodgy side of the spectrum.

© Lydia,

Lydia's Banana Cupcakes with Ginger Glaze - makes 12
150g (2/3 cup) butter
180g (generous 3/4 cup) caster sugar or light brown sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
180g (3/4 cup) mashed banana, about 2 bananas-worth
170g (1 1/4 cup) plain flour
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Ginger Glaze
200g (generous 1 cup confectioner's) icing sugar
2½ tbsp ginger juice, from a piece of fresh ginger approx 80g (3oz, 2x2x1 inch)

Preheat the oven to 170°C (375°F, Gas Mark 3) and line a muffin tin with 12 cases.
Cream the butter and the sugar till light and fluffy, then add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.

Sift the dry ingredients together, and add half to the wet mixture, mixing to combine.
Still mixing, add half the banana, half of the rest of the flour, then the rest of the banana and then finally the rest of the flour. The aim of this alternate adding, making sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated before adding the next ingredient, is to ensure the flour doesn't clump together, and that the sheer volume of liquid doesn't cause the mixture to curdle, both of which can require over-mixing to return to a smooth mixture important for even baking, and over-mixing can result in a tougher cupcake than would otherwise be obtained. Always end with the dry ingredient (I don't know why).

Fill the muffin cases about 4/5 full and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and you can hear a fizzing sound, the centre will spring back when pressed but it's stickiness can cause some of the cake to stick to your finger. More for you.

To make the glaze, peel and finely grate the fresh ginger then squeeze out the juice from the pulp by hand, and mix with the icing sugar to form the glaze. If you don't like your ginger so strong, do half and half juice with water.

Dip the tops of the cupcakes in the glaze and either allow to set or dig right in!

© Lydia,

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