Special equipment: a piping bag fitted with tip
For the cake batter: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F; line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.
Mash the bananas in a bowl with a fork until a few small lumps are left. Fold in 1 teaspoon of the baking soda. Measure out 1/2 cup of this mixture and set aside.
Sift the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon baking soda into a large bowl and mix well. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the soy milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and mashed bananas. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry; don't over-mix or you'll get tough cupcakes (small lumps are fine). Fold in the dark chocolate.
Divide the batter among the cupcake liners and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting: Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, mix together the vegan butter and shortening until well combined, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the peanut butter and mix for another minute. With the mixer on low, slowly add the confectioners' sugar. Add the soy milk and vanilla and mix on medium for 2 minutes. If the peanut butter flavor is too subtle, add 2 more tablespoons to the frosting and rewhip; you want to try to avoid a heavy, dense or gritty frosting, so adding a little at a time and then whipping it into the frosting will avoid that!
For the ganache: Using a double boiler (or in the microwave), heat up the soy milk until it reaches a boil. Pour over the dark chocolate and wait a minute before stirring.
To assemble: Put the frosting in a piping bag and apply to the top of each cupcake. Drizzle with the ganache. Dip the banana chips in the ganache, and then dip into the popping sugar. Top each cupcake with some of the banana chips.
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Nicole Braddock