Let me just start out by saying…I actually loathe banana. The taste, the smell–it just isn’t my thing. Ranks right up there with anchovies as an ingredient. But the Texan loves him some good ol’ fashion Banana Pudding, and it was his birthday…so…I didn’t make him that. But I made him these instead!!
I went with the store-bought cake and pudding mix (I was pressed for time–I needed to limit my exposure to the banana-ness), but for a similar made-from-scratch amazing recipe, please check out the one from The Baker Chick, which I kind-of-sort-of loosely followed. She makes some good stuff.
To make 24 cupcakes, you will require:
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 large box of banana-flavored pudding
2 very ripe bananas
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup coconut oil (or whatever oil you prefer)
1-1/4 cups water
6 oz (half a standard bag) of mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 standard-sized Nilla Wafer Cookies
24 mini-sized Nilla Wafer Cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (or whatever your cake mix box tells you to), and go ahead and drop in cupcake liners into your cupcake tins. The Baker Chick lines the bottom of the cupcake liners with either one large Nilla wafer, or several crumbled mini wafers in order to give the cupcake a nice little wafer crust. This is a great idea. Full disclosure: I forgot to do it. Learn from my mistakes.
In a small bowl, mash up your bananas.
In a mixer, blend together your cake mix ingredients as directed on the package (usually eggs, water, and oil), only substitute the mashed bananas for the eggs. I chose to use coconut oil as my oil (warmed it a bit first so that it was liquified). Once everything is blended, add half a bag of mini chocolate chips and mix thoroughly.
Go ahead and spoon the mixture evenly into your cupcake pans (you want to fill each liner just over halfway or so). Pop them in the oven for 15-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centers of the cupcakes come out clean. Let the cupcakes cool on the counter.
Pudding time! In a stand mixer, mix the pudding as per the instructions on the box. Which is basically mixing the mix with three cups of milk. Let this set up for at least five minutes or so, and then stick it in the fridge.
In the center of each cupcake, cut out a nickel-sized cylinder (I just used a butter knife and winged it, even though I know there are fancy tools out there just for this sort of activity) down to the cookie crust. Once you’ve hollowed them out, fill the gaping cavern with about a tablespoon or so of pudding–enough to fill it completely but not overflow too much onto the cupcake surface. Set the leftover pudding, as well as the pudding-filled cupcakes, in the fridge for safe-keeping.
To make the topping: chill the bowl and whisk attachment of your stand mixer in the fridge or freezer for a bit. Once they’re good and cold and back on your mixer, add your heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla into the bowl and whip just until soft peaks form. Now add 1/2 cup of the reserved banana pudding and blend until the whipped cream is pretty stiff. Fill a piping bag and pipe the topping onto the cupcakes like frosting. Top with a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips and one mini wafer for a little cupcake flair.
It’s best to serve these immediately, or keep them in the fridge until ready to serve. Warning: your fridge is going to smell like banana. I’m just sayin’.