Continuing my exploitation of traditional British desserts, here’s one that does not date back as far as Victorian times, but rather the 70s by two gents who seem to have been conducting their own Epic Meal Time experiments. Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of bananas unless they are mashed up and blended into a fluffy batter and baked… so that’s exactly how I incorporated the rich banana flavour into this cupcake. Adding a layer of dulce de leche on top allowing it to seep into the cake was just the icing under the icing on the cake.
A History of the Banoffee Pie
Credit for the pie’s invention is claimed by Nigel Mackenzie and Ian Dowding, the owner and chef respectively of The Hungry Monk Restaurant in Jevington, East Sussex. They claim to have developed the dessert in 1971 by amending an unreliable American recipe for “Blum’s Coffee Toffee Pie” with a soft toffee made by boiling an unopened can of condensed milk for several hours. After trying various changes including the addition of apple or mandarin orange, Mackenzie suggested banana and Dowding later said that “straight away we knew we had got it right”. Mackenzie suggested the name “Banoffi Pie”, and the dish proved so popular with their customers that they “couldn’t take it off” the menu.
The recipe was published in The Deeper Secrets of the Hungry Monk in 1974, and reprinted in the 1997 cookbook In Heaven with The Hungry Monk. Dowding has stated that his “pet hates are biscuit crumb bases and that horrible cream in aerosols”.
The word “Banoffee” entered the English language and became used to describe any food or product that tastes or smells of both banana and toffee. A recipe for the pie, using a biscuit crumb base, is often printed on tins of Nestlé’s condensed milk.
Mackenzie died from cancer on 29 May 2015 at the age of 71.
Banoffee Cupcakes (makes 12-14 regular cupcakes, or 48 mini cupcakes)
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¾ cup salted butter, room temperature
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup mashed ripe bananas
½ cup milk
Dulce De Leche Icing
½ cup butter; softened
½ cup shortening
4 cups powdered sugar
¾ cup dulce de leche
1-2 tbsp water or milk
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Cream butter and add egg white, egg, vanilla, mashed bananas and milk and mix on medium speed just until smooth. Do not over mix. Gradually incorporate flour mixture.
Fill cupcake liners a little more than half way and bake for 18 minutes. Allow to cool for 1 minute, then remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.
Prepare the Dulce De Leche frosting: Combine butter and shortening and mix until smooth. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add dulce de leche and mix until smooth. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add water or milk, if needed, until desired consistency is reached. Spread a thin layer of dulce de leche on top of each cupcake.