I bought bananas a few days ago with the best of intentions to eat every last one. Life got in the way, however, as did some chocolate chip cookies, crunchy cheese balls, and lots of garlic bread. This morning I noticed that the bananas were starting to turn brown and getting a sweet smell. Normally I’d peel them, throw them in the freezer, and use them to make chocolate chocolate chip sour cream banana bread later. (I will share that recipe, I promise. Or you can jump the gun and go visit Alice at Savory Sweet Life. I won’t blame you if you can’t help yourself. It truly is amazing stuff.) This morning, though, after a night of very interrupted sleep due to C, and a lack of chocolate chips, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a recipe for spice cupcakes with banana buttercream frosting from Baking with Basil. It sounded like a wonderful way to make our home smell like fall and to use up a browning banana.
I managed to get these whipped up during C’s 2-hour nap (2 hours! Do you know how amazing that was?) and took some over to our friends who had just had a baby. They inhaled them, as did my husband and I. Even C got to taste some of the frosting. My husband didn’t think I was looking, but I was. Moms have eyes in the back of their heads, you know.
This spice cake is heavenly. I altered the spices a bit to accommodate what I had (I know that I’m not the only one who bakes in her pjs and refuses to go to the store!). I’ll admit that I hesitated at the banana in the buttercream at first (the main reason I picked this recipe – to use up a banana!) but the flavor isn’t overwhelmingly banana. It’s just plain good.
Spice Cupcakes with Banana Buttercream Frosting
adapted from Baking With Basil
preheat oven to 350
I used silicone baking cups. Spray them before baking and the cupcakes will remove easily.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 t cinnamon
3/4 t ground cloves
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups applesauce
Stir together all dry ingredients. Add butter, buttermilk, vanilla, and applesauce and beat for 2 minutes until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.
To achieve a nicely domed cupcake: Fill the liners 3/4 full and put in preheated oven. Immediately lower heat to 325 and bake for 30 minutes. I know it sounds crazy, but this method produces a nicely rounded cupcake that is incredibly moist. After baking allow them to cool in pan for five minutes on a cooling rack and then remove. Before baking more cupcakes make sure to return your oven temperature to 350. It sounds like a lot of extra work and a very long baking time, but this produces the best cupcakes I’ve ever had.
Banana Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 large mashed banana
1/2 t lemon juice
dash of salt
3 cups powdered sugar
Beat the butter until fluffy then add the salt and beat a minute more. Mash the banana in a small bowl and mix in the lemon juice to prevent browning. Alternate beating the banana and powdered sugar into the butter. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes, keeping in mind that the frosting is mostly butter and will droop in a warm kitchen. Sprinkle cinnamon on top.
These are delicious. I know you have a languishing banana in your kitchen, so put it to good use.