Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Double Feature

Summer always brings with it plenty of occasions for baking and celebrating, from holidays to birthdays it seems like there is forever something requiring your attention. Since I have been on a baking spree at home lately I thought I should at least take the chance and blog about some of my creations. So far this month I have made Deep Fried Peanut Butter, (which will surely make an appearance here soon) Chocolate Mug Cake, Mexican Churros, Chocolate Zucchini Bread, and Potato Latkes. Despite the perpetual mess my kitchen has been I found the time to experiment with savory cupcakes, something that has long been on my baking bucket list. The company I work for has employees whose respective birthdays fall every month, this prompts us to have a "Food Day" about once a month. We chose a food genre and bring food from home and munch on the offerings throughout the workday. For my manager's birthday we all decided on Italian food. My roommate and I tackled Lasagna Cupcakes and Honeyed Banana Cupcakes with Nutella Ganache for dessert. Both of these recipes presented challenges, on a personal and emotional level. The Lasagna Cupcakes required wonton wrappers, and after two trips to specialty grocery stores we finally made the trek to the Asian district and found the sought after wrappers in the frozen section of a very putrid smelling Asian market, my nose may never recover after that odyssey. The Honeyed Banana Cupcakes proved to test my limits in other ways...after removing them to a plate on the kitchen counter I returned to my movie in the living room, unbeknownst to all of us in the house the dog decided that they didn't need to be left alone to cool by themselves. Twenty minutes later I found myself at the local market buying the same ingredients for a second time and the dog had been banished to the garage after a sound tongue lashing by her owner. Needless to say, after a long night our duo of cupcakes were ready for their debut, in addition to everyone at work loving them we now have a new favorite meal to add to our nightly repertoire at home.

Lasagna Cupcakes

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef or Italian sausage
  • 1 can preferred pasta sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend, plus more for topping
  • 1 8oz. container ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 pkg. wonton wrappers, available at most Asian markets
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a small pan saute the garlic and onion in the olive oil, add the ground beef and cook through. Once the meat has browned add the can of your desired pasta sauce and salt and pepper if needed then set aside. For the cheese filling, mix together the ricotta and Italian cheeses adding the seasoning at the end. Be sure the wonton wrappers have thawed and grease the inside of the cupcake pan, this helps them come out much easier. Place a wrapper on the bottom of each opening, ladle a small amount of the meat mixture on top, layer another wrapper at a 90 degree angle from the first and smear the cheese mixture on top. Place another wrapper at the opposite angle and top with a small dollop of the meat mixture and top with a few shreds of the Italian cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges of the wrappers have browned slightly and the cheese has melted. This is a great option for potlucks and easy for kids to help you with too!

Honeyed Banana Cupcakes with Nutella Ganache
(Adapted from

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 large extra ripe bananas, smashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the Nutella ganache:

  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 2 -3 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add the bananas, butter, vanilla, honey, and eggs. Whisk together until well combined, the batter will be a bit lumpy. Spoon the batter into your desired cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For the ganache, add all of the ingredients into a microwave safe bowl and melt on high for thirty second intervals, stirring in between. Once the cupcakes have cooled use a spoon and drizzle the ganache over the top, or you can dunk them into the chocolate and coat every bite in gooey goodness.

1 comment:

  1. Amy, the lasagna cupcakes look awesome and easy. Do you think your two nieces will enjoy making them? Mom