People make banana baked goods for one of two reasons: one, they love banana treats and will wait patiently for their bananas to ripen in order to use them; or two, their bananas did not get eaten while they were in the edible range and they hate to throw away totally usable bananas. While I am frequently subject to a bunch of declining banana I truly am a member of the former group. I am a big fan of banana bread, banana muffins and these sweet little banana cupcakes!So, what exactly differentiates a banana cupcake from a banana muffin? Good question! As I was working on this recipe I had to think extensively on what a good banana cupcake should look and taste like. The following are the list of criteria I came up with:
- Fluffy: I guess this would be the major defining characteristic of a banana cupcake. It should have a lightness to it that is not typically found in a banana muffin or bread.
- Tender: muffins are usually tender (or they should be) but it is often accompanied by a heaviness. I wanted these banana cupcakes to be both light and tender.
- Moist: yes, banana bread is generally moist but often too heavy moist to be called a cake. Here I wanted the crumb to be light, tender and moist.
- Flavorful: banana bread is usually characterized by massive amounts of banana that flavor the sturdy loaves. I was seeking a full caramelized banana flavor but that was soft and mild enough to marry with a variety of tasty buttercreams.
The banana cupcake recipe that resulted is light and moist and a soft beautiful golden color thanks to a dose of lemon juice that preserves the pale hue of the bananas.
- I pureed the bananas with lemon juice, sour cream and brown sugar. Pureeing the banana allows it to distribute evenly for a soft, light crumb and consistent flavor throughout. The acid in the lemon juice prevents the browning of the bananas and adds a bright flavor to the cupcakes. The sour cream and brown sugar add rich flavor and moisture to these cupcakes .
- I used a combination of all-purpose flour and cornstarch to gives the cupcakes a soft, light texture similar to that produced by cake flour.
- I used all butter in this cupcake for a rich, warm flavor and lighter texture than that produced by oil.
- I included both granulated and brown sugar for a pale, mild sweetness with caramel background notes.
I frosted these cupcakes with an incredible Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream that is based on a milk chocolate cream chesse ganche that is delicious. I used Luker Cacao Noche 40% Milk Chocolate. If you don’t think you like milk chocolate you need to try this one. It is like a dark milk chocolate with the milky sweetness you suspect followed by deep, rich undertones. Truly amazing! In fact I am eating a piece right now. Yum! Thanks Ayi from Pastry Portal for sending your incredible products!
The cream cheese and milk chocolate meld deliciously with the banana flavor in these cupcakes without overwhelming it. The flavors layer in your mouth in a delightful way!
Whether you have bananas that need to be used or are just willing to wait for their development give these cupcakes a try!
- 2 large ripe bananas (9 ounces or 255 grams total weight)
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) lemon juice
- 4 ounces (113 grams) brown sugar- ½ cup
- 8 ½ ounces (240 grams) sour cream- 1 cup
- 7 ounces (198 grams) unsalted butter, softened- 14 tablespoons
- 7 ounces (198 grams) granulated sugar- 1 cup
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 15 ounces (425 grams) all-purpose/plain flour- 3 cups
- ½ ounce (15 grams) cornstarch- 2 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) baking soda
- ½ teaspoon (3 milliliters) salt
- 2 ounces (57 grams) cream cheese, softened
- 2- 3 tablespoons (30-45 milliliters) hot water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ounce (28 grams) corn syrup, glucose syrup or golden syrup*
- 4 ounces (113 grams) high quality milk chocolate (I used Luker Cacao Noche 40% Milk Chocolate)
- 8 ounces (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened- 2 sticks/1 cup
- 1 ounce (28 grams) high quality cocoa powder (I used Pernigotti)- 2 tablespoons
- 6-8 ounces (170-227 grams) confectioners/powdered sugar- 1 ½ -2 cups to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C) and line cupcake pans with 24 paper liners.
- Puree the bananas, lemon juice, brown sugar and sour cream until smooth. I used an immersion blender to do this but a blender or food processor would also work well.
- In a mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar on low for 1 minute until well blended and smooth. Add vanilla extract and blend on low. Add the eggs one at a time and beat on medium until blended. This mixture will look curdled but it is normal.
- Sprinkle in the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and mix on low to barely incorporate. Add half of the banana mixture and mix on medium for 30 seconds until blended; scrape down bowl. Add the remaining banana mixture and mix on low until well blended, about 30 seconds. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes and then mix on low for 10 seconds.
- Divide batter between the liners using a ¼ cup ice cream scoop filling 2/3 full and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then move to a cooling rack. Cool completely before icing or store in an airtight container. The cupcakes can be frozen unfrosted. Makes about 24 cupcakes
- Whisk together softened cream cheese, 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) hot water, vanilla extract and corn syrup. Set aside.
- Heat the chocolate in a microwave safe container at 30 second intervals on high until melted and smooth. Whisk in cream cheese mixture until smooth. If the mixture starts to separate or seems excessively stiff add the extra tablespoon of hot water and whisk until smooth. This will depend on the type and quality of chocolate used. Cool the mixture to room temperature.
- Beat the butter and cocoa powder in a mixer bowl on high for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in the chocolate mixture. Once all the chocolate mixture is added beat for 2 minute on medium-high speed. Add the powdered sugar using the lesser amount for a less sweet icing and the greater quantity for a sweeter buttercream. Beat for 1 minute on medium-high until light and fluffy. Use the frosting relatively soon or you may need to rebeat it to refresh the texture of the buttercream. Makes about 4 cups.
- *If you cannot access these products you can leave it out and adjust the sweetness as needed with additional confectioner’s sugar.