Mariel here. When I was a wee middle-schooler, my best friend at the time used to love making sweet breads. Banana bread in particular was her forte and we spent many an afternoon whipping up a double-batch in the kitchen and then snacking on our own personal loaves while playing Donkey Kong or modeling the newest sweaters from J. Crew. Ahh, to be 13 again.
I haven’t done much banana-based cooking since those lazy adolescent days, but when I was assigned to the Cairns Manor blog for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I stumbled across a recipe for a Banana Cream Cheese Bread with Chocolate Chips. While I was eager to recreate her recipe, I’ve consumed enough banana bread in my lifetime to kill a chimp, so I decided to make cupcakes instead…since those are obviously totally different. I skipped the cream cheese filling and instead topped my cuppies with chocolate cream cheese frosting.
In the spirit of breakfast for dessert – or vice versa – I’d imagine someone, somewhere eats these pre-9AM (hello, bananas + cream cheese = breakfast). I say go for it, embrace your inner teenager. They may even leave you with a blemish.
Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 12 cupcakes
Ingredients for the Cupcakes:
1¼ cup of sifted cake-flour, not self-rising – $2.99
¾ cup of granulated sugar – stock
½ cup buttermilk (or you can sub in ½ cup low-fat milk + ½ tablespoons vinegar, whisked and left to sit for five minutes) – stock
2 large bananas, mashed + ½ banana for garnish
2 large eggs – stock
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract – stock
1½ teaspoon baking powder – stock
1/2 teaspoon baking soda – stock
¼ teaspoon salt – stock
6 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted – stock
Ingredients for the Frosting:
8-oz package of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature -$1.69
1 cup confectioner’s sugar – stock
¼-cup cocoa – stock
Directions assuming “well-stocked” kitchen: $4.68
Cost per cupcake: $0.39
Directions for the Cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. Dig a little well in the center of flour mixture. In that divot, mix together the butter, mashed bananas, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Use a wooden spoon to incorporate flour mixture but don’t over-mix. Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.
3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.
Directions for the Frosting:
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and cocoa. Frost the cupcakes when they’re totally cool and garnish – as desired – with slices of banana