small batch banana split cupcakes.

If you thought that the next cupcake I was going to share with you wasn’t going to be stuffed, iced, drizzled, sprinkled, topped, and finished with a cherry – you obviously don’t know me at all.

Especially because these cupcakes were made for me, by me, on my birthday.

So I was definitely going to go all out.

And if you don’t know already, we’re pretty big fans of ice cream in this household. So some sort of ice cream was definitely required.

I remember when I was younger, on hot summer days, my parents would take us to one of the many local ice cream shops to have ice cream for dinner. I’ve done this for Audrey a time or two, but for some reason local ice cream shops aren’t really a thing in our corner of North Carolina – unless you consider the chain establishments like Dairy Queen. Thank goodness we’re back in Pennsylvania, though. You know – for all those ice cream dinner dates.

And I vividly recall the last destination before we finished a day of riding rides at Knoeble’s Amusement Park was always the ice cream stand. And I also recall the jealousy that appeared when our relatives would join us and order extravagant ice cream dishes like the waffle ice cream sandwiches and banana splits as large as my head. And though that jealously was strong when I was younger, as I’ve gotten older I completely understand why my parents wouldn’t want to serve us an ice cream dish the size of my face. I mean, I definitely wouldn’t want Audrey ordering something like that – would I?

But to be quite honest, even as an adult, I’m not sure I’ve actually ever eaten a banana split. Sure, the idea has always enticed me: three scoops of ice cream sandwiched between a halved banana, drizzled with sauces, and topped with nuts, sprinkles, whipped cream and cherries. I mean, who wouldn’t love that? But I can only imagine the type of stomach ache that would follow said dessert. Given the size and all.

And since I’ve been on such a cupcake kick lately, I thought what better way to get the flavor profile of a banana split than shoving it into a handheld treat. Plus, I don’t know if you’ve stepped outside lately, but since it’s been blazing hot, I wasn’t sure how long the ice cream variety would hold up.

And while I had no idea where to start, the first thing I knew for certain was that I wanted a banana cupcake. Unfortunately, I don’t have the best track record with banana cupcakes. They always end up super dense and muffin-like. That’ is the absolute opposite of what I want when I bite into a cake. But guys. I think I nailed it. This cake was so stinking light and fluffy. And it only got better when I stuffed it full of some banana crème custard.

So, if you’re looking for an ice cream – inspired cupcake, because it’s so stinking hot out actual ice cream will melt in minutes, then give this overly indulgent cupcake a shot. The best part? It’s a small-batch, so you won’t be stuck eating a dozen or so cupcakes – you’ll only have 6! And trust me, they’ll get eaten.

Small-batch Banana Split Cupcakes

makes 6 cupcakes

for the cake:

  • 1/2 c. + 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/3 c. mashed banana
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. milk*
  • 1 egg

for the banana crème custard:

  • 1/2 c. mashed banana
  • 1/2 c. milk*
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

for the vanilla buttercream:

  • 6 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp. milk*
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

for the chocolate ganache:

  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

for the whipped cream:

  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • toppings: rainbow sprinkles, maraschino cherries with stems

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin with 6 cupcake liners.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy. Add the banana, milk, and egg and mix until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the ingredients in the bowl of the stand mixer a little at a time. Mix together until just combined, being careful not to over mix. Divide the batter among the 6 cupcake liners and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (or with a few crumbles on – you just want to make sure there is no wet batter).

Remove cupcakes from the muffin tin and allow them to cool on a wire rack.

While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the banana crème custard. Place all of the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, cooking until the mixture starts to bubble and whisking constantly so nothing burns. Continue to cook (for about 5 minutes) until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. When cooled, use a cupcake corer (apple corer/knife/frosting tip) to remove the center of the banana cupcake. Fill with custard.

To prepare the vanilla buttercream frosting, cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract, mixing at a low speed until combined, and then increasing the speed to high allowing the frosting to become light and fluffy. To pipe the frosting, use a large round frosting tip. Start in the center of the cupcake, and squeeze out frosting into a large dollop.

Next is the ganache. Place the chocolate chips into a small bowl and set aside. Place the heavy whipping cream into a microwave-proof dish and microwave until hot (about a minute). Pour the hot heavy whipping cream over the chocolate chips and mix until the chocolate chips are melted and everything is combined. Allow the ganache to cool slightly (you don’t want it piping hot, but you also still want it pourable) before spooning 1-2 tablespoons on each dollop of frosting. Add rainbow sprinkles all over the ganache. Refrigerate until chocolate has hardened.

Prepare your whipped cream by mixing together the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar. I used Pampered Chef’s whipped cream maker because it literally whips up some thick, creamy whipped cream in about 30 seconds, but whipping in your stand mixer will produce the same results. Pipe on cupcakes with a star tip. Or, use a store bought whipped cream.

Top these beauties with maraschino cherries with the stems. If you’re not serving them right away, store in the fridge and remove about 30 minutes prior to serving.

*I used unsweetened almond milk, but any milk would work.

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