Banana Pineapple Cheesecake Cupcakes

This is my most interesting baking adventure I had- and it happened just this past Thursday! I had a pile of brown bananas on the windowsill, in between perfect for baking and perfect for the garbage. So, what could I do? I thought about making banana bread but I really didn’t feel like making a loaf because they are just so boring. I decided on making some banana cupcakes. These cupcakes are special because they have more than just banana- they also have a pineapple cheesecake swirl. Banana and pineapple are one of my favorite food mixtures, so when I found this recipe from Flo Braker, I knew I had to try it.

There was no doubt in my mind that these cupcakes were going to be anything less than delicious. The banana cake batter and the pineapple cheesecake filling are both easy to put together, but man did it take lots of dishes. You then layer banana cake batter, followed by pineapple cheesecake, and top with more banana batter and bake. Because of the cake flour, these cupcakes bake up super light and fluffy.  I love how you can see the lighter swirl of cheesecake on the outside of the muffin, giving you just a hint of what’s inside.  The cheesecake filling is creamy and when you bite into a tiny chunk of sweet pineapple, you get a burst of flavor.  It is just perfect in combination with the light banana cake. If you are not familiar with this mixture of pineapple and banana, it might sound gross. You can take it from me that it is the complete combination of sweet yet tangy. This recipe truly brings out the best of the two fruits put together.

Are you trying to figure out what to do with your brown bananas too? I think you just found it. 

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Banana Pineapple Cheesecake Swirl Cupcake

Yield: 15 cupcakes

Pineapple Swirl Filling:

  • One 8-ounce can of crushed pineapple
  • 6 ounces  cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Banana Cupcakes:

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 medium bananas or 3 small)
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature

Before baking:  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly coat a 12-cup standard muffin pan with nonstick spray, then flour the cups, tapping out the excess flour. Or, butter and flour the cups. Or, line the muffin pans with fluted paper or foil liners.  Repeat with a second muffin pan, preparing only 3 cups and spacing them evenly around the pan. Spacing the cups promotes even baking when not all of the cups are filled.  Have all ingredients at room temperature.

To make the pineapple swirl filling:

  1. Drain the pineapple in a sieve over a small bowl. Press the pineapple against the sieve with the back of a spoon to release as much of the juice as possible. Drain the pineapple further on a few sheets of paper toweling. Discard the liquid.  
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a handheld mixer), beat the cream cheese on very low speed until smooth.
  3. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Add the egg and salt, mixing just until the ingredients are blended and creamy. 
  5. Gently twist the paper towels around the crushed pineapple to absorb any additional juice, and then stir in 1/3 cup of the pineapple. Save the remainder if you have any for another use.

To make the banana cupcakes:

  1. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. 
  2. Put the mashed bananas into a medium bowl, add the milk and vanilla and mix together with a rubber spatula. 
  3. In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended, about 3 minutes.
  4. Beat in the egg just until incorporated.
  5. Add the banana mixture (it will look curdled but that’s okay; it won’t after you add the flour mixture) and beat on medium-low speed until it is incorporated.
  6. On the lowest speed, add the flour mixture in two or three additions, mixing just until smooth after each addition.
  7. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the cupcake batter into each prepared muffin cup, spoon 1 tablespoon of the pineapple filling over the batter and then top each with 2 more tablespoons of the banana batter.  
  8. Bake the cupcakes until they are golden and spring back without leaving an impression when gently pressed, 22 to 24 minutes.  I would start checking at about 17 minutes. 
  9. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Gently tap the pan on the counter to see if the cupcakes release from the side.  If not, trace around each form with a small knife to free the cupcakes. 
  10. Invert a rack on top of the cupcakes, invert the cupcakes onto it, and carefully lift off the pan.  Place the cupcakes right side up on the rack and let cool completely.

According to Flo Braker, these freeze beautifully.  Place them in a sturdy covered container, label with the contents and date, and freeze up to 10 days.  Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour.  I put some in the freezer, so I guess I will have to test this.

Source:  Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker

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