Makes 24 cupcakes
For the Banana Hazelnut Praline:
- 1 cup hazelnuts, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. corn syrup
- 1/2 cup banana chips, crushed
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
For the Banana Cake:
- 4 large, not overripe bananas
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/4 cups canola or grapeseed oil
- 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 large eggs, beaten
For the Nutella Buttercream:
Make the Banana Hazelnut Praline:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Immediately remove from the pan onto a dish; wipe the pan clean with a dry towel.
Place the water, granulated sugar and corn syrup in the pan, stir to combine and return to the stove. Increase the heat to medium-high. Cook without stirring until the sugar begins to turn a golden caramel.
Immediately turn the heat to low and add the hazelnuts, banana chips and salt and stir to coat.
Spread the praline on the parchment-lined baking sheet to cool. When cool, break the praline into pieces with your hands, or pulse into small pieces in a food processor.
Make the Banana Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans with 24 baking cups.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the bananas, granulated sugar and brown sugar and mix on medium-low until well combined, about 1 minute.
With the mixer running, slowly pour in the oil and vanilla. Continue mixing until combined. Stop the mixer, remove the bowl and paddle and use the paddle to scrape the insides of the bowl, making sure everything is fully incorporated.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and add to the batter.
Reattach the bowl and paddle to the mixer and mix on medium until just combined, then add the eggs and continue mixing until the batter is smooth, about 10 to 20 seconds.
Remove the bowl and paddle from the mixer and, once again, use the paddle to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, ensuring that everything is well mixed.
Scoop the batter into the prepared baking cups, filling them 2/3 of the way.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The cupcakes are done when the centers spring back when you touch them.
Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let cool completely while you make the buttercream.
Make the Nutella Buttercream:
For French buttercream (recommended): Prepare the recipe as directed
. Once the butter is added, add the Nutella and cocoa powder and mix on high to combine.
For American frosting: Prepare the recipe as directed
, reducing the sugar by 1/2 cup, replacing the mascarpone with the Nutella, and adding the cocoa powder. Once combined, taste for seasoning.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip with the Nutella buttercream and pipe onto each banana cupcake.
Place pieces of banana hazelnut praline on the top of each cupcake.
From Robicelli's: A Love Story, with Cupcakes: With 50 Decidedly Grown-Up Recipes (Viking Books Studio) by Allison and Matt Robicelli
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