Inspiration came today in the form of some wonderful, moist and very flavorful banana cupcakes. This recipe is fairly easy to put together with most items easily found in a well stocked kitchen. It can be made into either a 2 layer cake, a 9 x 13 sheet cake, or as I did, 24 cupcakes. The addition of toasted coconut and the rum are optional flavor elements, but I think they both really added a special dimension to this delicious recipe.
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. dark rum (optional)
1 1/2 cups very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup toasted shredded coconut (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Prepare pans with cupcake liners or grease and flour cake pans and set aside.Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and beat at medium speed for a couple of minutes, then add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition, followed by the vanilla and rum. Lower the speed and add the bananas. Still on low speed, add the flour mixture and liquid alternately, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until everything is well incorporated then stir in the coconut by hand with a rubber spatula. Divide the mixture evenly into the pans. For cupcakes, use a 1/4 cup measure to get 24 even sized cakes. Bake cakes for about 45 minutes or cupcakes for about 20 minutes until they are a deep golden brown. A thin knife inserted into their centers should come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a cooking rack and cool. Frost with a cream cheese icing. I cheated and used a prepared icing which was a fine addition to these moist little cakes.