Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Banana-Nut Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Servings: Makes 16 cupcakes
Let's hear it for the all-American maple tree. Its leafy canopy shades us in summer and gives us a glorious show in fall. The rest of the year, syrup from its spring sap sweetens pancakes and waffles. Maple flavoring pairs beautifully with walnuts, as in these moist cupcakes.

1 (14-oz.) package Banana Quick Bread and Muffin Mix
1 cup buttermilk* (see note below)
1/4 cup oil
3 tablespoons real maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
3 tablespoons real maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple extract or flavoring
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1. Heat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 16 muffin cups with foil or paper baking cups. In large bowl, combine all cupcake ingredients except walnuts; stir 50 to 75 strokes with spoon until mix is moistened. Stir in 1/2 cup walnuts. Spoon batter evenly into lined muffin cups.

2. Bake at 400°F (200°C) for 16 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool 30 minutes or until completely cooled.

3. In small bowl, combine all frosting ingredients except confectioners' sugar and walnuts; beat at low speed until smooth. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until mixture is of spreading consistency. Frost cooled cupcakes. Immediately sprinkle with 1/4 cup walnuts. Store in refrigerator.

Makes 16 cupcakes

To substitute for buttermilk, use 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice plus milk to make 1 cup.

Date: January 30, 2004