These Banana Cupcakes boast seriously sweet banana flavor and a deliciously creamy Cream Cheese Frosting. And they are so easy to bake up (even a day ahead!). They’re perfect for a first birthday—or any special occasion.

healthy-banana-cupcakes-on-cake-stand

Banana Cupcakes

When we celebrated my middle kiddo’s first birthday, I wanted to make her a kids birthday cake recipe or cupcakes that included some of her favorite foods. She loved banana and she loved dairy, so Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting it was!

I also wanted to make them with less sugar than a standard cupcake, so I worked on this recipe for the occasion—and still make them many years later.

The cupcake recipe is packed with real bananas for flavor and moisture. The bananas also provide the majority of the sweetness. You can use either honey or maple syrup for the rest of the sweetness in this banana cupcakes recipe.

You also have the choice of using all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour.

(You may also like First Birthday Smash Cake, Blueberry Yogurt Cake, and Healthy Banana Cake.)

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Easy Banana Cupcakes Recipe

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.

You can bake these banana cupcakes the day before the party and they’ll stay moist and won’t dry out. They’re similar to my Banana Bread Muffins, but are decidedly a little more treat-like.

(You may also like my Banana Cake.)

Ingredients You Need

To make this recipe, you’ll need to have the following ingredients on hand.

ingredients in banana cupcakes on counter.
  • All-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour: You can use either of these options as you prefer.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: This combination ensures that the cupcakes rise nicely and bake through to a tender interior.
  • Cinnamon and vanilla: I love the flavor of banana, vanilla, and cinnamon, so I use ground cinnamon in this cupcake recipe.
  • Unsalted butter: This adds richness to the cupcakes. Melt it and let it cool slightly first before adding it to the rest of the wet ingredients.
  • Maple syrup OR honey: Either one of these will work. Avoid honey for kids under age 1.
  • Very ripe bananas: You’ll want to use bananas with brown spots for the best flavor and natural sweetness here.
  • Eggs: I use eggs in this recipe to add tenderness. Feel free to use an egg replacer if you prefer.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: This simple frosting is a perfect flavor and texture combination with this cupcake recipe.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at how to bake up a batch of these banana cupcakes at home. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.

how to make banana cupcakes step by step
  1. Stir together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside. (photo 1)
  2. Measure out your banana slices. (photo 2)
  3. Add the wet ingredients to a blender. Blend smooth. You can also use well mashed bananas if you prefer. (photo 3)
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together gently to make a uniform mixture. (photo 4)
  5. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared cupcake liners. (photo 5)
  6. Bake! (photo 6)

TIP: Once the cupcakes are totally cooled, you can pipe or spread on Cream Cheese Frosting and finish with a blueberry, if desired.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make these without gluten, diary, and eggs?

Here’s the full scoop on adjusting this recipe for food allergies. Make these adjustments and otherwise follow the recipe as written.
To make these gluten-free: Use cup for cup gluten free flour blend in place of the wheat flour.

To make these egg-free: Omit the egg and add ½ cup milk. (Please note that the egg-free version of this is still delicious, but they are denser than when you use eggs.)

To make these dairy-free: Use melted and slightly cooled coconut oil instead of the butter.

Can I make these without a blender?

Yes, though you’ll want to mash the bananas very, very well with a fork so they are totally smooth and not at all lumpy.

Adding them to a blender with the eggs ensures that they are blended super smooth, it adds air to the batter (which helps them to be light and fluffy), and it avoids any lumps of banana in the final cupcakes—which, in my opinion, makes them taste more like a real cupcake!

cream cheese frosting ingredients on orange plate

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

To make the cream cheese frosting, you just need a few ingredients. I love the combination of cream cheese and banana cupcakes, and also that the frosting isn’t loaded with powdered sugar.

If you have a dairy-intolerance, you can substitute plain Greek nondairy yogurt for the cream cheese in the frosting. Simply let it sit in a mesh colander lined with cheesecloth for about an hour in the fridge to drain off any excess liquid. Or use a vegan cream cheese.

frosted-banana-cupcakes-on-cake-stand

How to Store

You can make these up to a day ahead. Let cool fully, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 24 hours.

You can freeze unfrosted cupcakes in a zip top freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

Best Tips for Success

  • Use very ripe bananas with brown spots for the best flavor.
  • Use a blender to combine the wet ingredients to ensure that there are no banana lumps in the batter. Or, mash the banana totally smooth with a fork.
  • Stir the batter together gently until just combined to avoid overworking it.
  • Remove the cupcakes from the pan as soon as you take them out of the oven. Let cool fully on a wire rack before adding icing.
  • If you have a dairy-intolerance, you can substitute plain Greek nondairy yogurt for the cream cheese in the frosting. Simply let it sit in a mesh colander lined with cheesecloth for about an hour in the fridge to drain off any excess liquid. Or use vegan cream cheese.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you make this recipe so please comment below to share!

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banana cupcakes on cake stand with first birthday hats

Favorite Banana Cupcakes

This naturally sweet cupcake is perfect for a first birthday—or any birthday there after. See the Notes section under the recipe for allergy-friendly variations. We love this with Cream Cheese Frosting.
4.96 from 49 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Calories 274kcal
Servings 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

Banana Cupcakes

  • cups all-purpose flour (or whole-wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (1 stick)
  • cup maple syrup or honey
  • 2 cups sliced very ripe bananas (they should have brown spots for the best flavor)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (softened at room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • blueberries for decorating, optional
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Instructions

To make the cake:

  •  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
  • Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Add the butter, maple syrup (or honey) banana, eggs, and vanilla to a blender. Blend on high for about 30 seconds or until completely smooth.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together gently with a spatula until just combined.
  • Evenly divide the batter among the prepared cupcake liners with batter. Each will take about ¼ cup of the batter. The cupcake liner will be just over half full. 
  • Bake 20-22 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.

To make the frosting:

  • Beat together the cream cheese, butter, honey, and vanilla with a hand-held electric mixer.

To frost the cupcakes:

  • Pipe or spread the frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Add a blueberry on top of each if desired.

Notes

  • Gluten-free: Use cup for cup gluten free flour blend in place of the wheat flour.
  • Egg-free: Omit the egg and add ½ cup milk.
  • Dairy-free: Use melted and slightly cooled coconut oil instead of the butter. Substitute plain Greek nondairy yogurt for the cream cheese in the frosting. Simply let it sit in a mesh colander lined with cheesecloth for about an hour in the fridge to drain off any excess liquid.
  • Use very ripe bananas with brown spots for the best flavor.
  • Use a blender to combine the wet ingredients to ensure that there are no banana lumps in the batter. Or, mash the banana totally smooth with a fork.
  • Stir the batter together gently until just combined to avoid overworking it.
  • Remove the cupcakes from the pan as soon as you take them out of the oven. Let cool fully on a wire rack before adding icing.
  • You can make these up to a day ahead. Let cool fully, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 24 hours.
  • You can freeze unfrosted cupcakes in a zip top freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake, Calories: 274kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 270mg, Potassium: 174mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 604IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 63mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

This recipe was first published May 2017.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I don’t know what mega side you guys in the US have for cupcakes, but here in the UK, as I tripled the recipe (to get 36 cupcakes), I ended up with more than 100 regular cupcake cases filled (not called « mini »)…

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