Disclaimer: I cannot be held responsible for the frenzy these cupcakes will unleash. You have been warned. Proceed now to the best cupcake recipe ever.
If I were to start explaining these cupcakes as banana cupcakes, I would be doing them a disservice. Those who have experienced them are quick to come to their defense. “They are most certainly NOT JUST banana cupcakes!” Yes, although these treats start with a banana cupcake base, they are something completely other. This recipe is a banana, chocolate, peanut butter and bacon gift from the gods. And that’s why it’s called the best cupcake recipe. AKA: The Aretha.
I first developed this recipe for my friend, Chinua Hawk, who was preparing for an album release party. He wanted to provide treats for his guests (as if his singing wouldn’t be enough!), so he asked if I’d be up for baking a variety of cupcakes. I knew immediately what I wanted to do; I would bake 3 different cupcakes based on the 3 biggest influences in Chinua’s music!
Here are the three powerhouses that were represented:
- “The Donnie” (Hathaway: classic, velvety… Red Velvet)
- “The Whitney” (Houston: beautiful & unique… grain-free, diabetic-friendly chocolate w/coconut frosting)
- “The Aretha” (Franklin: soulful & bold… recipe below)
All the flavors were hits, as their names would suggest. Even the grain-free offering was devoured, which was provided for guests who wouldn’t be able to enjoy a regular cupcake. But that night, a star was born… errr…. reborn, and her name was Aretha. Everybody went nuts over this little number, and since then it has been deemed THE best cupcake recipe by almost everyone who has eaten it. It’s also one of my most requested flavors when I’m baking for events of any kind. The banana cupcake gives it a perfect base that can hold up to the boldness of the other flavors, while milk chocolate ganache provides a lovely little surprise as a filling. The creamy, rich peanut butter frosting topped with a mini peanut butter cup is awesome, but the kicker is the pig candy! It’s no wonder this cupcake gets icon status, much like Aretha herself.
Please, please make The Aretha. Even if you aren’t a banana cupcake fan. Even if you have no respect for peanut butter (see what I did there?). Even if none of these flavors “speak to you” individually. Somehow, they all come together to form the best cupcake recipe, a magical, powerful flavor force. All that’s left is to face the music. 🙂