These Banana Cupcakes boast seriously sweet banana flavor and a deliciously creamy 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 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.

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.

TIP: You can bake these banana cupcakes the day before the party and they’ll stay moist and won’t dry out.

ingredients in banana cupcakes

Ingredients You Need

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • cinnamon
  • salt
  • unsalted butter
  • maple syrup OR honey
  • very ripe bananas
  • eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • cream cheese

TIP: These will taste best if the bananas are super ripe with brown spots.

how to make banana cupcakes step by step

How to Make Banana Cupcakes from Scratch

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.

  1. Stir together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. (photo 1)
  2. Measure out your banana slices. (photo 2)
  3. Add the wet ingredients to a blender. Blend smooth. (photo 3)
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together gently. (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.

TIP: 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.

frosted-banana-cupcakes-on-cake-stand

Tips for Making the Best Banana Cupcakes

  • 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.
  • 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.

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

banana cupcakes on cake stand with first birthday hats

Best Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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.
4.8 from 10 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

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or whole-wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (1 stick)
  • 1/3 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)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • blueberries for decorating, optional

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!

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Comments

  1. Hi
    Need to make an egg free and gluten free version of this. Besides the modifications you have mentioned is there any adjustment required with the quantity of baking soda and/or powder to ensure better results?

    1. Not that I’m aware of—I think that there should be enough baking soda to deliver the expected texture with those modifications you mention. If you’re concerned, you could add an additional 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to the mix.

  2. Any estimation of how much BANANA MASH I should have to proceed with recipe?? Measuring awkward chunks of frozen banana is proving to be very imprecise ….Making these … NOW … for my little’s first birthday!

      1. The RDA is listed in kcalories, so you don’t have to multiply things. (If you google how this works, you’ll get a much more detailed explanation of it than I can offer—it can be confusing!)

  3. I didn’t notice anyone mentioning this, which is understandable, since the majority of people don’t deal with allergies regularly. It sounds like what you’re talking about when you say swap yogurt for cream cheese, is lactose intolerance. Yogurt is a dairy product, but you can get kinds that have extremely low levels of lactose, potentially none. For a dairy allergy, you need to avoid milk and milk products entirely. I’m sure the swap is helpful for anyone who is lactose intolerant. For a dairy allergy, though, there are vegan cream cheeses. Daiya, Miyoko’s, Kite Hill, Tofutti, and others, I’m sure. There’s also vegan yogurt, so maybe that would work as well. That said, your site is very cool, often I scroll through and gather neat ideas for myself, even though I’m a childless adult. Everyone deserves fun food. 🙂

    1. Hi—I think you maybe missed that I specified “dairy free” yogurt. Thanks for the comment of course!

  4. 5 stars
    First off I would like to say that I loved the recipe! I did a test run this week prior to my daughter’s first birthday and they were delicious. The only thing that went wrong was the cupcakes stuck to the cupcake liners. I’m using by Wilton the Elmo cupcake liners … should I just butter the cupcake pan instead and bake as normal and then once cooled place them in the cupcake liners? This is the first time ever that I am baking!

    1. Hi! I think I would spray the cupcake liners very lightly with nonstick spray. Or yes, you could bake them directly in the pan (be sure it’s greased well) and put them into the liners after the fact. The only thing with going that route is that they may not fit exactly. I hope you have a great time celebrating the big birthday!

    1. I haven’t tried these in those conditions but a site like King Arthur Flour likely has general advice about high altitude baking that might help!

      1. Hi, can I use this recipe for whole cake instead of cupcake? What is the baking time for a whole cake?

      2. I haven’t tested it as a cake, but I think it would work fine. It should make one 9-inch cake and the baking time is likely about the same. I might check it at 18 minutes, but it may take up to 24. Keep an eye on the center of the cake as that would be the last part to cook through.