Banana Cupcakes: Buttercream vs. Cream Cheese?

The best part about taste testing a recipe for cupcakes is that you can get a dozen opinions. This week for my magazine recipe review I decided to bake the banana cupcakes with honey-cinnamon frosting from the March issue of Everyday Food. I was intrigued by idea of the spiced buttercream. In my experience, most banana cakes are slathered in sugary cream cheese concoctions, of which I'm not the biggest fan. (Is that a horrible thing to admit as a foodie? What's your take on cream cheese vs. buttercream frosting?)

Initially, I was concerned that my cupcakes would lack complexity and depth. Only white sugar was called for, not dark brown, and the bananas I had on hand were ripe but not overly so (I prefer to bake with bananas that are spotted and mushy). But it turned out that my fears were unfounded. The cupcakes were moist, tender, and full of banana chunks. They puffed up perfectly and had lovely, golden tops. And the frosting? A surprising blend of spicy and sweet, thanks in large part to the subtle hint of honey.

As with any buttercream, the amount of confectioners sugar needed can vary, and I ended up using about 1/2 cup more than was called for. Other than that, I made no adjustments to the recipe. And based on the happy reactions of eleven of my friends (I saved the biggest one myself, of course!), I won't the next time I bake them either.

About the author: Lucy Baker is a graduate student in the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College. Before returning to school to pursue an MFA, she was an assistant cookbook editor at HarperCollins. She lives in Brooklyn and is currently obsessed with all things fennel.

Banana Cupcakes with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting

Adapted from the March 2008 issue of Everyday Food

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Banana Cupcakes: Buttercream vs. Cream Cheese?

About This Recipe

This recipe appears in: Ice Cream Cupcakes Half Banana Holder

Ingredients

  • For the cupcakes:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar (I used about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Procedures

  1. 1

    To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°F. Fill a muffin tin with paper liners. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in the butter, bananas, eggs, and vanilla and mix well. Divide batter evenly between the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

  2. 2

    To make the frosting, beat all ingredients in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.

  3. 3

    Spread the tops of cupcakes with the frosting and serve.

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