Banana Pudding Cupcakes
The cupcakes might be my favorite cupcakes ever. Is it because they made two of my colleagues freak out at me with their eyes as we resumed our staff meeting after a cupcake break? Maybe. Is it because they're particularly easy to make but super impressive? Probably. Is it because they're half pudding half cupcake? Most likely.
All that aside, I really love banana desserts, and I really love pudding, so there was no way around loving these. They've actually been on my "to make" list for over a year and I never found quite the right occasion - but enter the birthday of a fellow theatre company staff member who also likes banana desserts and it was a go!
This is a pretty tasty base yellow cupcake recipe for sure - it's one I use consistently, and one you'll find all over the great blogs (Cook's Illustrated, Brown Eyed Baker, etc.) The pudding mix is no-bake, and uses just the right amount of classic (vanilla instant pudding powder) and new-age (cream cheese! banana extract!) pudding ingredients to turn into one of the most decadent and delicious puddings I've ever tasted. You will have leftovers, and you should put it straight into the freezer if you don't want to binge banana pudding within 24 hours, because you won't be able to resist it. Top it all with the traditional cool whip (or make homemade whipped cream if you want to be all fru fru about it) and watch people's eyes bug out of their heads upon first taste.
Adapted from Spicy Southern Kitchen
MAKES 12 cupcakes with leftover Banana Pudding
180g AP Flour (1.5 cups)
200g Sugar (1 cup)
1.5 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 stick butter, room temperature & cut into Tablespoons or smaller
4oz sour cream (1/2 cup)
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
14oz sweetened condensed milk (1 can)
6oz whole milk (3/4 cup)
3.4oz instant vanilla pudding mix (1 box)
1 ripe banana, diced
optional: 1/4 teaspoon banana extract
18 whole Nilla wafers
1 large container frozen whipped topping (e.g. cool whip), **thawed**
Stand mixer w. paddle attachment
1 cupcake tray & 12 cupcake liners
Large cookie/ice cream scoop
2 pastry bags, 1/2" circular pastry tip, & decorating tip of your choosing for the cool whip
Thaw your whipped topping if you haven't yet! Most will need 24 hours in the fridge.
Head your oven to 350F and line a 12-cup cupcake tray with liners.
In your stand mixer, mix on low until combined: 180g AP flour, 200g Sugar, 1.5tsp Baking Powder, and 1/2tsp Kosher salt.
Add your 1 stick of cut-up room temp butter, 4oz sour cream, 1 egg, 2 egg yolks, and 2tsp vanilla. Start mixer on low, then mix on medium-high until fully incorporated and a smooth batter forms, about 1-2 minutes.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and remix 10-20 seconds on medium high as needed to make sure batter is fully mixed.
Scoop one scoop of batter into each cupcake liner, then distribute any leftover batter evenly amongst the liners.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a gentle finger press in the center of a cupcake doesn't leave an indent, and the cupcake springs back. Start checking then at 16 minutes, and once they look like they might be done, only bake then 1 additional minute at a time before checking by touch again until they are.
Let the cupcakes cool, and wash your mixer bowl & paddle (or grab new ones).
Making sure your 8oz cream cheese has come to room temperature, beat it in your mixer on medium high until smooth.
Add 14oz sweetened condensed milk, and beat for 2-3 minutes pausing to scrape down the bowl as needed.
Add 6oz whole milk and 3.4oz instant vanilla pudding mix, beating on low - then medium high - until mixed completely.
At this point if you want to make super banana-y banana pudding you can add 1/4tsp of banana extract. This is not traditional, as traditional banana pudding is vanilla pudding with bananas mixed in, but I really loved it. Either way...
Add your diced banana and mix on medium-high for 10 seconds until incorporated into the batter.
Once your cupcakes are cool, use a paring knife to core out the center carefully so as not to cut all the way through the bottom. If you have anything that can then press down on the bottom of the cupcake to make some extra room for the filling, do it! I used the pestle from a mortar & pestle set I have and it was perfect. If you don't have anything similar, you can use your fingers.
Crumble 1/2 Nilla wafer into the bottom of each cupcake (you should have 12 left).
With the 1/2" round tip, fill one of your pastry bags with the banana pudding, then fill each cupcake with pudding and pipe a flat layer of pudding on top of the cupcake (as pictured above).
With your second pastry bag outfitted with the decorating tip of your choice, fill it with whipped toping and pipe on top of the cupcakes.
Top with 1 Nilla wafer each, or crumble them on top - whatever floats your banana boat! (Sorry I couldn't resist).
Serve at room temperature. Will keep chilled for up to 48 hours. Leftover banana pudding will keep in the fridge for 1 week, and I'll let you know what happens when I eventually take it out of the freezer!