In high school, on Friday and Saturday nights, we would drive. We would drive from Clinton to Old Saybrook and back. We would stop at the marina, the beach, the woods, the gas station. Sometimes there was a party, in the woods behind Marty’s, or under the power lines, or at Tim and Charley Something’s house. Occasionally we would go to a movie, or play miniature golf in the summer, or travel to New Haven to see a band at the Tune In or Toad’s Place. Some nights all we did was drive in a loop on Route 1, listening to music, making plans for the future just beyond our headlights. Places to stop along the way went in and out of favor, or depended on who you were with.
As a last resort we would end up at the diner to sit for hours, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and eating toast and pie. Our diner, like all diners, had a beautiful, shining case of revolving desserts. Meringues and eclairs and elaborate cakes with synthetic cherries on top. I never did care for a fruit pie. I could go a thousand years without strawberry rhubarb or key lime. What I liked was chocolate banana cream -gooey and cloyingly sweet. I would get a slice of pie, because it seemed obscure, and endless cups of coffee, despite preferring tea. Eventually we would have been seen by enough people to make the location a legitimate alibi. Either that, or too many weird theater weirdos would show up. We were also theater weirdos but slightly cooler in the high school hierarchy. So we would get back in the cars, driving too fast or too slow. We would try to buy booze or, failing that, find a safe basement or rec room in which to watch movies. We were so restless. So silly. So innocent and strange, but not as jaded or as strange as we thought.
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
For the frosting:
- 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon whipping cream
- Peanut butter chips, for garnish
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 12 cupcake tins with butter and flour.
- In a large bowl combine cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium size mixing bowl combine yogurt, sour cream, vanilla extract, and water. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time and beat thoroughly after each. Incorporate dry ingredients and yogurt mixture into batter until just combined, alternating.
- Ladle batter into prepared tins and bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins then use a knife to remove them to a baking rack and let them cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
- In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat stir sugar into 1 tablespoon butter and dissolve. Add vanilla and banana slices, stirring, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and mash into a smooth paste with a potato masher or other implement. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream butter and confectioner’s sugar. Add whipping cream and banana mixture. Whip up until smooth and creamy and frost cupcakes once cooled. Top with peanut butter chips, if desired. Just before serving, add slices of fresh banana.
- Serving Size: Makes 12 cupcakes