Double Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

chocolate banana cupcakes on a wire rack
‘Why don’t you weigh five thousand pounds?!’ people often ask me when they find out that I bake. (The secret: that IS how much I weigh; I just have really brilliant underwear.)

close up of banana
Just kidding about the underwear (…or AM I?) My secret is simple. I give a lot away – baked goods, of course not underwear (…or DO I?) Being partially bojon, I can’t exactly fob off sweets on an office full of bored/gluttonous co-workers. So I bring treats to the people I’m closest to. You’re probably thinking I mean my ‘friends.’ But the sad truth is, most of my friends don’t want to be faced with the scores of fat and calories that my art generally contains. And the rapport is too honest for them to politely accept, then chuck the goods surreptitiously in the dumpster on their way home in an act of supreme self-restraint.

close up of cocoa powder
They just say no.

close up baking tray
So I bring treats to people with whom I have a semi-formal relationship; that perfect space often created by the mutual exchange of goods and services, where said person can be certain I’m not a homicidal sociopath attempting to poison them, but knows that it would be rude and awkward to said relationship to refuse. My dance and yoga teachers. My lovely dentist. My acupuncturist. And I’m working up a little something to bring to my gyno next monday. (Oh dear, that sounded dreadfully wrong.)

cupcakes before baking
Thus I often must consider portability when planning a baking session. Cookies, bars, muffins, scones and tea cakes always pack easily, in baggies, foil or an old yogurt container. Layer cakes, cupcakes, pies and tarts take a bit more finessing, often requiring a bulky box or tupperware which must be held upright lest the icing or filling end up in a state of gooey disarray.

cupcake in baking tray
So I wanted to make cupcakes yesterday. Double Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, to be precise. But I also wanted to bring them to my acupuncturist and couldn’t wrap my head around how to do it, but I thought, ‘Sod it,’ (been watching a lot of British comedy lately) ‘I’ll just make them and see what happens.’ And then I did a silly thing: I tried to make cream cheese frosting using Sierra Nevada cream cheese.

Sierra Nevada makes local, organic cheese sans stabilizers, which makes it the best tasting cream cheese this side of the, er, Sierras (or is the Nevadas?) but frosting, not so much. I should have known better. We tried many times at Petite Patisserie and it always ended in tears. Not people tears, but the tears of broken and weeping (not to mention lumpy) frosting.

cupcakes on a wire rack
So I decided to hide it. Not in the trash, or my mouth à la Lucille Ball, or the fridge for Jay to find on a cleaning binge upon which he looks at me wearily and shakes his head. No.

frosting being piped into cupcake
I hid it in the cupcakes.

top down shot of cupcake with frosting
Shhhh!

cupcake broken in half to see filling
I just shoved in the tip of a piping bag, squoze until the cake was on the verge of exploding into a dozen crumbly shards, and capped it with a handy nickle-sized chocolate wafer.

a stack of chocolate cupcakes
Hopefully the acupuncturist has found the frosting by now, and has stopped wondering why I stingily brought him ugly chocolate muffins. Or perhaps he has fallen victim to the self-denying, chocolate-free, weight obsessed among us, and got rid of them. If so, he will have missed the way the barely sweetened, buttery crumb of the cakes mingles with the salty tang of the frosting, urging forth the subtle, warm flavor of ripe banana and converging into an explosion of homey flavors on the tongue.

side shot of cupcake
Pity.

For the remainder of the cakes, condemned to coalesce with my copious corpulence, I just piped the frosting on top, disguising the lumpish cream with a veneer of cocoa powder, distracting with a jaunty chocolate disc. You get more on, that way – frosting, not corpulence.

overhead shot of chocolate banana cupcake
Well, that too.

Anyone fancy a cupcake?

close up of chocolate cupcake

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Double Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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These chocolate cupcakes are bursting with flavor!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Total: 38 minutes
Servings: 16 to 18 cupcakes.

Ingredients

Double Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 stick, 1/2 cup)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup mashed, ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used dutch-processed, but natural should work in a pinch)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

Vanilla-Flecked Cream Cheese Frosting (Makes about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 stick, 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or sub 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • big pinch salt

Instructions

Double Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350º. Line 18 standard muffin tins with papers.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (or by hand) cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes on medium. Add the egg and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. (The mixture may look broken. That's ok.)
  • Meanwhile, combine the banana, sour cream and vanilla in a separate bowl or measuring cup. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl.
  • With the mixer on low, add the dries in three additions alternating with the wets, beginning and ending with the dries, mixing until just combined after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chunks. Give the batter a final fold with a rubber spatula to make sure it's all homogenous.
  • Divide the batter among the lined cups. (I like to use a spring loaded ice cream scoop, the one with the red handle.) The batter should mound just to the top of the mold.
  • (Alternately, you can bake this in a 9" round cake pan; adjust the baking time accordingly. Double the frosting for a frosted layer cake.)
  • Bake the cakes about 15-18 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched. Let cool completely. Top with cream cheese frosting, below, a sprinkle of cocoa and a chunk of chocolate. Or pipe the frosting into the center of the cakes for a more portable option, and stop up the hole with a piece of chocolate.
  • Store the cakes in the fridge if holding for more than a few hours, but serve at room temperature for the best flavor and texture.

Vanilla-Flecked Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Beat the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle until smooth. Add the vanilla seeds, sugar, and salt, and beat until fluffy and light, 2-3 minutes.

Notes

Adapted from Not Without Salt.
Nutritional values are based on one of 16 cupcakes.

Nutrition

Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 164mg | Potassium: 240mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 600IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1.7mg
Making this? I'd love to see!Tag your snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet!

Double Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Not Without Salt

Makes 16 – 18 cupcakes

4 ounces (1 stick, 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1 egg
3/4 cup mashed, ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used dutch-processed, but natural should work in a pinch)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking bowder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350º. Line 18 standard muffin tins with papers.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (or by hand) cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes on medium. Add the egg and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. (The mixture may look broken. That’s ok.)

Meanwhile, combine the banana, sour cream and vanilla in a separate bowl or measuring cup. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl.

With the mixer on low, add the dries in three additions alternating with the wets, beginning and ending with the dries, mixing until just combined after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chunks. Give the batter a final fold with a rubber spatula to make sure it’s all homogenous.

Divide the batter among the lined cups. (I like to use a spring loaded ice cream scoop, the one with the red handle.) The batter should mound just to the top of the mold.

(Alternately, you can bake this in a 9″ round cake pan; adjust the baking time accordingly. Double the frosting for a frosted layer cake.)

Bake the cakes about 15-18 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched. Let cool completely. Top with cream cheese frosting, below, a sprinkle of cocoa and a chunk of chocolate. Or pipe the frosting into the center of the cakes for a more portable option, and stop up the hole with a piece of chocolate.

Store the cakes in the fridge if holding for more than a few hours, but serve at room temperature for the best flavor and texture.

Vanilla-Flecked Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (1 stick, 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or sub 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
big pinch salt

Beat the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle until smooth. Add the vanilla seeds, sugar, and salt, and beat until fluffy and light, 2-3 minutes.

chocolate cupcake with bite taken out

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7 thoughts on “Double Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. I tried making these in mini cupcake form – emphasis on the tried. They all collapsed and basically never cooked with a loooong time in the oven. I added more baking powder, more flour, adjusted the oven temp and really didn't have much success. Did you really only use 1 cup of flour?

  2. I'm so sorry you're having problems with this recipe. I re-checked my notes, which confirm that I did only use 1 cup of flour (the original recipe was for non-chocolate banana cupcakes, and called for 1 1/2 cups of flour; I subbed out 1/2 cup and added 1/2 cup cocoa powder in its place.)

    Were your bananas very ripe (like black?) That could possibly contribute to excess moisture. Did you use dutch-process or natural cocoa powder? Sometimes they can absorb moisture differently. Did you use all-purpose flour?

    Do you mean that you made a second batch using more flour, baking powder and adjusting the oven temp, or made those changes right off the bat?

    If I get a chance, I'll make these again in the next couple of weeks so that I can tell you for sure whether the recipe works for me or not.

    And again, I'm really sorry – it totally sucks when all that anticipation, work, and money go to waste. : (

  3. So, I made these cupcakes again last night, and they turned out exactly as above. They baked in about 20 minutes. I used dutch-processed cocoa again, and everything else was exactly the same (but I used a different cream cheese, and thus avoided lumpy icing this time!).

    Cheers,
    Alanna

  4. Just for the record, these worked excellently for me too — though I skipped the icing, so can’t vouch for that. Wonderful recipe – and a perfect use for the various half-eaten bananas my kid left in the fridge. I actually used a splash of almond milk in place of the egg, and that worked just fine. With thanks, from a quiet but devoted follower of your work :)