Elvis is famously known for his penchant for butter fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. If you’ve never had one, it’s an alluring combination of buttery caramelized bread sandwiching a gooey melted layer of peanut butter and fresh bananas. The melding of crispy fried carbs with the sweet tropical banana and nutty peanut butter is a match made in heaven and it’s no wonder that it was one of the King’s favorite foods.
In this updated homage, I made a batch of moist banana cupcakes, which are topped with a satiny smooth peanut butter buttercream that’s rich and creamy but not too sweet. Like the sandwich they’re based on, the sweet banana cupcake and nutty frosting complement each other perfectly. But I couldn’t just stop there. If you remember the sandwich, it’s fried in butter…
I briefly contemplated doing something crazy, like battering and frying the whole cupcake, but the angel in my head (also known as my cardiologist) overruled the devil and I ended up with something that kept truer to the sandwich this cupcake was based on. I fried some large white bread crumbs in butter, then sprinkled the crispy, golden brown morsels over the buttercream for a crispy finish.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
For the cupcake
1 very ripe banana
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 whole eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons very soft, unsalted butter
For the buttercream
8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup Smooth Operator peanut butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the butter-fried breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup panko
pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. Mash together the banana and lemon juice until smooth, then whisk in the eggs. In the bowl of an electric mixer, use a fork to whisk together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using the paddle attachment, beat in the butter until well incorporated. Add the banana and egg mixture and mix until just combined.
3. Fill the cupcake molds about 2/3 of the way full and put the pan in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to prevent the cupcakes from overcooking and becoming dry. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
4. For the buttercream, add the butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Turn it on to the slowest speed possible until the sugar is incorporated, then turn it up to the highest speed, and whisk until the frosting is light and fluffy (3-4 minutes). Use a knife to spread the buttercream on top of each cupcake, or load a piping bag with the cream and pipe it on top of each cupcake.
5. In a small frying pan, melt the butter over medium high heat until the sizzling has subsided. Add the panko and a pinch of salt and fry until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, tossing to brown evenly. Drain them on a paper towel lined plate and let them cool completely. Sprinkle the butter fried bread crumbs on top of the finished cupcakes and enjoy!