So I found this recipe for banana caramel cupcakes over on Annie's Eats shortly after I started this blog. It's been saved in my "to make" list for a long time. I've even printed out the recipe a couple of times but somehow I never got around to making them. Then a couple weeks ago I had some very ripe bananas that I threw in the freezer. A couple days later, I remembered this recipe and decided to make them for my husband to take into work since he had to go be there on a Saturday. Now every time I buy bananas, I hope there are some extras I can use to make these again.
These banana cupcakes are great with or without the frosting -- the cupcake is so moist, essentially like really good banana bread in cupcake form. Add a caramel cream cheese frosting to the top and it's a decadent treat. Drizzle them with a little chocolate sauce and not only do these taste awesome, but they look great too.
Just a note, Annie's recipe has a Swiss meringue buttercream frosting that is probably awesome but I didn't try it on these because I currently have a battle with SMBC because it never works, every single time I try it, it curdles. She even admits that it's a bit of a process in her post. Someday soon, when I have a bunch of time, I will get it to work. I'll let you know if its better than this cream cheese icing -- which I think is perfect with these cupcakes.
Chocolate Banana Caramel Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup plus 2 T buttermilk
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (I had 2 ripe bananas but that only came out to about 1 cup so I added 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce too)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners (this made 24 full size cupcakes plus about 10 mini cupcakes for me). Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Cream together butter and sugar medium high speed for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each until incorporated. Add the mashed bananas and beat on low to incorporate. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, alternating with 1/2 the buttermilk, mixing on low until just incorporated, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
Use a scoop to fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake about 20 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool about 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup caramel (see recipe below)
Pinch of salt
Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing until incorporated. After 3 cups, add cooled caramel and salt and beat until well blended. Add additional powdered sugar if necessary to reach desired consistency. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes as desired.
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
Combine butter, cream and sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stirring constantly, heat to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
In a microwave safe bowl, heat the cream about 1 minute, add chopped chocolate and let stand 1 minute. Stir until melted. Cool about 5 minutes and transfer to a squeeze bottle to drizzle on cupcakes.