Yellow things I made (and may or may not like)

A follow-up to Green things I like.

Lemon mousse.
A summer dessert with great potential that fell flat on its face. The texture was spongy not fluffy, more like Jell-O dessert-in-a-box than gourmet. Even the fresh lemon zest and juice lacked zing. If I didn't know better, I'd think it was lemon extract.

Verdict? Epic fail.
(although I'm still convinced it's a good idea, in theory)

Banana Mocha Cupcakes.
The product of too many overripe bananas, these cupcakes were the underdog victor. Shelve those thoughts of dense loaves and think airy chiffon instead. A rich mocha frosting elevates banana from dilettante to sophisticate.

Verdict? Unexpectedly delicious.

Banana Mocha Cupcakes

Banana Cupcakes:
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 vegetable shortening at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 4 medium)
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper or silicone liners.

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

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy (about 3-4 minutes). Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs and beat just until combined.

Add the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on low.

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate the pans, and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before removing the cupcakes from the pan to cool completely.

Mocha Frosting:
3/4 cup butter
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup milk (approximately)
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over low heat and set aside to cool. In a small bowl, dissolve the espresso in the milk and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled melted chocolate, cocoa and vanilla. Beat in the icing sugar.

Add the milk/espresso mixture and beat until very cool and creamy. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk. If the mixture is too warm or thin to spread, set it over a bowl of ice and mix frequently with a wooden spoon until the desired consistency is reached.

Swirl or pipe the frosting, as you wish, onto the cooled cupcakes.

Sources: "Banana Cupcakes" in Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, p. 70. Mocha frosting based on "Chocolate Icing" in Bonnie Stern's Essentials of Home Cooking, p. 170.

Notes: I halved both recipes with no problems.