Banana Cupcakes with Browned Butter Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Moist and tender banana cupcakes bursting with banana flavor, without being gummy or dense! Pipable and not too sweet browned butter cinnamon cream cheese frosting, makes them extra special. This will most likely become your go-to banana cake recipe!
I’m going bananas for bananas lately! So much so that my husband so innocently asked me if it was banana blogging season.
With two banana recipes in a row, in a time were I’m experiencing sporadic blog post syndrome, the man’s got a point. First there were these Banoffee Pie Cups (Can I get an Mmmmmm?) then comes these fluffy banana cakelets.
One thing I love about bananas though, is that it knows no season. Always there, sticking around through winter’s chill and summer’s heat. Reliable, like a good friend. Constantly available and year round acceptable.
Unlike pumpkin for instance. And don’t get me started on ripe mango…oooohh the tease! Comes and goes before you even get a chance to get excited that its in season. Mango is not a friend, its that hot crush that throws a smile at you for a moment, and then looks away, leaving you hanging in there with deep despair. (It’s a national Egyptian complex ?)
But bananas…simple, inexpensive and a kitchen staple, just milk and eggs at every house I know.
Its beauty is showcased in its effect on baked goods- the instant moisture, the round flavor, the effortless sweetness and the signature speckled crumb.
And these cupcakes are the perfect homage to the humble yet magical fruit.
They are also brought to you by: The three blackened, overripe bananas sitting on my counter, on the verge of going bad. They were staring me in the eye, begging to become the star of something delicious.
Enter these perfectly banana-y cupcakes!
“Imagine the most divine banana bread you have ever tasted in the form of an extremely moist and flavorful cake. This is it! It’s the best banana cake recipe we’re ever tried.” -Elisa Strauss, Confetti Cakes Cookbook. I couldn’t have said it any better.
This banana cake recipe, adapted from Confetti Cakes Cookbook by the ever so talented Elisa Strauss, has been my go-to recipe for well over 6 years. Before that, I’ve been plagued with my fair share of either flavorful but gummy and dense banana cakes, or fluffy but lacking flavor and often dry ones. Until a good friend suggested that I try Elisa’s recipe and haven’t looked back ever since.
The first time I tried this recipe was in full cake form, for my husband’s birthday (he loves anything banana flavored). I was making him a pair of Birkenstock shaped cakes (well…he’s a devoted Birkies wearer) and as I was sculpting it, I snacked on the trimmings. I remember being so impressed with the fluffiness that I had never experienced in a banana cake before, that I had immediately made a mental note to crown this recipe my go-to from hereon after.
It is everything you wish to be in a banana cupcake/cake.
Super banana-y and aromatic ✔️
Forever moist ✔️ (Thanks to sour cream in the batter)
Tender and fluffy ✔️
Not gummy and dense ✔️
Versatile. Can be made into both cakes or cupcakes ✔️
Delicious enough to be enjoyed without a smear of frosting ✔️
But really…why would you do that?! Especially when the frosting is that divine!
Ultra creamy, super fluffy, whipped cream cheese frosting, speckled with browned butter bits and kicked up with cinnamon.
This frosting is where its at! I even dedicated a special post with a step-by-step tutorial for it (over a year ago), just so I could sing praises about it to my heart’s content. The incredible thing about it is that you don’t need to pile in the powdered sugar to stiffen it up. Soupy cream cheese frosting is often a problem to many, but not any more! I use a special technique that I discuss in detail in that post, that allows you to use juuuuuuust enough sugar to sweeten it up, while maintaining a stable, pipable quality. The result is a creamy, melt-on-your-tongue frosting without that dreaded sugar grit.
The browned butter adds an incredible, toffee-like, nutty depth of flavor that is just soooooo good and marries swimmingly with the banana flavor. However, feel free to skip browning the butter if you just want straight up cream cheese frosting. But give it a try… at least once. It’s takes the cream cheese frosting we all know and love to another dimension of deliciosness.
Cinnamon in a welcomed kick of spice that I simply love to pair with bananas, but again, you could omit if you don’t feel like it.
As you already probably know, the secret to successful banana baked goods is RIPE bananas. I can’t stress this enough. Regular bananas of medium ripeness, the kind that are good enough to snack on, will result in flavorless, dense cupcakes that lack balanced sweetness. So pick the ugliest bananas lying around. The mushier and more speckled the better. Not rotten though, definitely not rotten? I love to freeze bananas once they reach their maximum point of ripeness, so I could have them on hand anytime I’m in the mood of baking something banana-y. Just peel and store them in zipper lock bags before you freeze them. Your future self will thank you later. Don’t forget to thaw before using!
So as you can see here, my bananas are beautifully spotted throughout with golden mushiness. That’s sweetness and flavor baby! I prefer to puree my bananas in a food processor to an extra smooth consistency as opposed to mashing them your a fork, because I don’t like bits of fruit in my final cupcakes. But…whatever floats your boat.
This, my dear friends, is what puts the BANANA in the banana cake!
The batter tastes like banana milkshake, so try your best to scoop it all up without licking the bowl clean.
Bake until the cupcakes spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few cooked crumbs attached. Allow them to cool completely before frosting.
To get that mile high frosting look with that rim of bits of yumminess, here’s what to do. Using a small offset spatula, cover the entire surface of the cupcake with a smooth layer of frosting. Make the frosting fuller around the sides and flat on top.
Roll the sides of the cupcake in a plate full of toffee bits or crushed nuts (I used toffee bits), pressing lightly to adhere.
The flat, bare surface is where you’re going to add your swirls of frosting.
Fit a piping bag with a closed star tip (I used Wilton 1M), then fill it with the remaining frosting. Pipe the frosting directly on top of the bare flat top. Start by applying pressure in the center then moving twice in a circular motion and finishing off in the center.
Using a squeeze bottle or piping or zipper lock bag filled with dulce de leche or caramel sauce, pipe a small dollop in the center of the frosting. I used dulce de leche that I had left over from this post.
And there you have it folks…some incredibility delicious banana cupcakes that will fill your house with the most intoxicating aroma!
Whether baked into little cupcakes or a full size cake, this recipe is guaranteed to please.
You know that line of gumminess that often runs through the crumb of banana bread/cakes? Non of that over here! Only cake-y fluffiness allowed.
And will you look at that whipped airiness of frosting creaminess?
That’s what I’m talking about.
Head over to my Instagram account to see a video of these cupcakes getting all frosted!
For the Banana Cupcakes:
- 1 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons (7 1/2oz/ 212g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1/2 cup (4oz/ 114g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 1/4 cup (8 3/4oz/ 248g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (4oz/ 113.4g) sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 very ripe large bananas, about 300g peeled (1 1/4 cups pureed)
For the Frosting: *(see note below)
- 1 cup (8oz/ 227g) unsalted butter
- 3 1/2 cups (14oz/ 397g) confectioners sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups (1 lb/ 454g) cream cheese, cold straight from the fridge
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, more or less to taste
- Toffee bits or crushed nuts of your choice (optional)
- Dulce de leche or caramel sauce (optional)
To make the cupcakes:
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- Line 2 standard muffin pans with 18 to 20 cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon (if using) to combine. Set aside.
- Peel the bananas and puree them in a food processor until smooth, or mash with a fork if you don't mind a few bits of bananas in the final cupcake.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large bowl and a handheld mixer), beat the the butter until smooth and creamy; about 1 minutes.
- Add in the sugar and beat on medium speed until lightened up in both color and texture; 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping thoroughly between each addition.
- Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until well combined.
- Set the mixer to lowest speed, then add in the flour mixture in two batches, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat slowly until just blended; do not overmix.
- Add the banana puree and beat until just combined; do not overmix. (Tip: Overmixing can result in rubbery, dense cupcakes, so avoid it all costs)
- Preferably using an ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners until 3/4 full.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they spring back to the touch and and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few cooked crumbs attached. Do not overbake.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Frost with the cinnamon browned butter cream cheese frosting (recipe below) in your preferred method and amount. To frost as shown in the pictures, use a small offset spatula, to cover the entire surface of the cupcake with a smooth layer of frosting. Make the frosting fuller around the edges and flat on top. Roll the sides of the cupcake in a plate full of toffee bits or crushed nuts, pressing lightly to adhere. Fit a piping bag with a closed star tip (I used Wilton 1M), then fill it with the remaining frosting. Pipe the frosting directly on top of the bare flat top. Start by applying pressure in the center, then moving twice in a circular motion and finishing off in the center. Using a squeeze bottle or piping or zipper lock bag filled with dulce de leche or caramel sauce, pipe a small dollop in the center of the frosting.
- Store in an airtight container until serving time. Store leftovers in airtight container in the fridge, allowing them to come back to room temperature before serving.
To make the frosting: (Click here for a step-by-step tutorial)
- Place the butter in a light colored skillet or saucepan over medium heat until melted.
- Continue cooking, swirling the pan constantly and stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the butter is dark golden brown a has a mezmerising nutty aroma.
- Transfer to a small bowl, cover and place in the freezer for about 45 minutes or until its solidifies but is still soft and pliable. If it get too solid and cold, give it a quick zap it the microwave to loosen and bring it back to room temperature. Just make sure its not warm one bit.
- Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or handheld mixer.
- Beat the butter for about 1 minute until creamy.
- Add the confectioners sugar, salt and vanilla and beat for about 5 minutes until lightened in both color and texture.
- Add one piece of cream cheese at a time, one after the other, mixing well after each addition so there are no lumps.
- Continue adding the cream cheese until its fully incorporated.
- Beat for about 2 minutes to lightened it up being careful not to overbeat or you might risk getting the frosting too soft from the heat of the beaters. The frosting is now ready to use.
- Banana cake in general, taste best when it has had time to rest and develop its flavor. For best results, bake the cupcakes one day in advance and let them rest in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container. Bring back to room temperature before serving.
- This recipe will make an amazing three 6-inch round cakes. Double the recipe to make three 9-inch round cakes.
- The frosting recipe will make 4 cups of frosting, which will generosity top the cupcakes with enough frosting to dramatically pile it high as shown in the pictures. It will yield a 1:1 frosting to cupcake ratio. For a more moderate amount of frosting enough to yield a 1:2 frosting to cupcake ratio, make 3/4 of the recipe. If you like a little swirl of frosting on top of your cupcake, then make only half the recipe.
Cupcake recipe adapted from Confetti Cakes Cookbook by Elisa Strauss, with a few minor changes like adding salt and cinnamon to the batter. According to the original recipe, this amount of batter should yield 12 cupcakes but I got 18. I also halved the recipe. You can get the full original recipe here.
Cinnamon Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting recipe adapted from Pipable Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting; a Cleobuttera original.
Measurements Note: All recipes of this site have been developed using weight measurements. Although US volume measurements have been included for your convenience, it is highly encouraged that you weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale to get the best possible results. Due to the sensitive nature of baking, kitchen scales are proven to yield more accurate and consistent results than measuring cups. Enjoy!
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