Supposedly, Elvis Presley was my first crush.
My parents love telling me stories of how when I was two years old, I would sit in utter rapt attention, my eyes fixed in a mesmerized gaze, anytime the literally-larger-than-life rock icon would appear on the television screen. It seems I had some strange obsession; perhaps it was the groovy music, his shimmery and bright outfits, or maybe it was that fantastic charisma that he oozed, but my little toddler brain was magnetically drawn to him.
Funny enough, I don’t remember my crush on Elvis; but then again, I suppose I don’t remember much about being two. As I grew older, music was definitely something that I absolutely adored. I loved music from before I can even remember, and bought my first single, “The Tide Is High” by Blondie, on vinyl, at age 5—that totally dates me. But I never actually remember getting “into” Elvis, even as I got older.
It just makes me chuckle, though, to know he was my first little crush, or at least the first person to introduce me to the sparkly-ness of celebrity, music and artistic performance; which, I guess, makes perfect sense. And I suppose I would also say that in a way, he serves as inspiration for these little cupcakes, which just happen to contain the two main ingredients of his his well-known favorite food, peanut butter and banana sandwich—kinda cute, right?
Well, I kind of felt like making some cupcakes again, only this time, I wanted to come up with a sort of cheeky offering that’d be a little unique. A moist banana cake is so very delicious, and so I thought I’d like to use that as my cupcake “base”; and then the obvious flavor companion for that would have to be peanut butter, and so a nice, fluffy and rich cream cheese-based peanut butter frosting would do the trick as the topper.
So considering that flavor pairing, what other name besides “Velvet Elvis” could I possible give to these sweet little peanut buttery and banana-y cupcakes?
If Elvis were still around (and some people say he still is, don’t they?), I think he’d probably try his hand at making these, or at least have his personal chef make ’em for him. In my humble opinion, these moist and decadent cupcakes go way beyond the peanut butter-n-banana sandwiches that he supposedly loved to enjoy, and into a whole other realm; the realm of cake. And that’s one of my favorite realms, one definitely worth going bananas (and nuts!) over.
(Oh, I love puns…)
So, here’s to you, Elvis; if you’ve “left the building”, you may want to consider coming back in for these.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
“Velvet Elvis” Cupcakes with Moist Banana Cake and Rich, Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting, sprinkled with Sweet Buttered-Toffee Peanuts
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes 22-24 cupcakes
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
• ¾ cup brown sugar
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• 4 eggs, room temp
• ½ cup sour cream, room temp
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
• ¼ cup buttered-toffee (or honey roasted) peanuts, finely ground
-Preheat oven to 350°, and line 24 cupcake tins with papers, then lightly mist them with cooking spray.
-Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl, and set those dry ingredients aside for a moment.
-Next, to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the mashed bananas, along with the brown and granulated sugars, and mix until combined.
-Add in the oil, the eggs, the sour cream and the vanilla, and mix those in until incorporated.
-Finally, add the dry ingredients to the batter in 2-3 increments, and mix those in just until well-blended, but do not over-mix.
-Pour the batter into your prepared paper-lined baking cups, filling them about half-way, and bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean.
-Turn the cupcakes out and allow them to completely cool; then, frost liberally with the Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting, and garnish with a sprinkle of the ground buttered-toffee (or honey roasted) peanuts.
Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
• ½ cup unsalted butter, softened (you could use salted if you’d like that hint of savory)
• ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
• 4 ½ cups powdered sugar
-With a hand-held mixer, cream the cream cheese, butter and peanut butter together; next, slowly add the powdered sugar in increments, and beat until fluffy and well-blended; place into fridge to set just a little bit, if needed, or frost cupcakes immediately.