A few weeks ago we celebrated baby Tula's first birthday. It's so hard to believe that her first year went by so quickly, but we were more than happy to celebrate her with a big batch of Banana Cupcakes!
I'm pretty committed to the idea of simple when it comes to entertaining so I did my best to make her first birthday party special, but also easy. I was extra emotional about the milestone so the last thing I wanted was to be stressed out about the food at her party, particularly the cake. Her favorite foods include dairy (cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, and more) and fruit (particularly blueberries and bananas), so I used that as my inspiration for her cupcakes. I knew that using a base of mashed bananas would provide natural sweetness and going with a simple cream cheese frosting seemed like a must—it would have pleasant creaminess without needing cups of powdered sugar to pipe perfectly. And I knew she'd love it given her adoration of dairy!
This banana cupcake recipe has minimal added sugar, but was sweet enough to be enjoyed by the range of ages that came to her first birthday party. And while I have to be honest and say that the cake base does veer towards muffin territory (it's not as light as my Lower Sugar Vanilla Cupcakes), no one seemed to mind much—especially not the birthday girl.
So if you have a little one with a special day coming up and you're looking for a lower sugar dessert option, these Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting are a great option.
Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Be gentle when combining the wet and dry ingredients to avoid over-mixing the batter. (If you want to serve these as muffins, simply omit the frosting.) You could try using whole-wheat pastry flour if you prefer.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 12
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 1/2 cups very ripe (with brown spots) banana, mashed well
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
- Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together the butter, banana, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl.
- Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry with a spatula. Fill the prepared cupcake liners with batter, filling each about half full. Bake 24-26 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and cool fully.
- Pipe or spread on Cream Cheese Frosting and finish with a blueberry, if desired.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat together 1 package cream cheese (softened at room temperature), 2 tablespoons butter (softened at room temperature), 2-3 tablespoons honey, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with a hand-held mixer. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.