March 26th, 2009

chocolate cupcakes with banana cream cheese frosting

chocolate cupcakes with banana icing

i’m right in the lion’s den of cupcakes. i’m not sure why the nation’s capital has adopted cupcakes as its “thing,” but it’s not exactly as awesome as you might think. for one thing, the city has not become a magical candyland where queen frostine decrees from her gumdrop throne which flavor we should all be wearing each day. in fact, it’s more like waiting 45 minutes in the cold for a tiny cake with too-sweet icing. also, it’s become acceptable to charge between 3 and 4 dollars per cupcake. let that sink in.

chocolate cupcakes with banana icing

i’m not going to keep hating on cupcakes, because, well, it’s been done more cogently elsewhere, but when i can make an entire batch in the time it takes to wait in line for one, i’m sticking with homemade. and now to get back to the point of the post, when i’m looking for quality homemade chocolate baked goods, i go straight to ina garten. you just know you’re getting something good when there’s butter, buttermilk and sour cream involved.

chocolate cupcakes with banana icing

this recipe marked the first official use of my new kitchenaid mixer (courtesy of a pioneerwoman contest – ridiculous, i know), and i hate to admit it, but it actually made a difference. pretty much everything i’ve made so far was mixed with my favorite wooden spoon and sheer willpower, but the convenience of a standing mixer is, duh, a pretty sweet convenience. that said, i definitely don’t think mixers are a necessity, and anyone that tells you that you must use one for a particular recipe is straight up lying.

chocolate cupcakes with banana icing

chocolate cupcakes with banana icing

the frosting looks pretty…interesting, no? it turns out that when you mash up bananas and add them to cream cheese and butter, you get something that looks uncannily like oatmeal. i had to add copious amounts of food coloring to really get the yellow to come out, but i think it looks pretty cool, especially against the chocolaty cake. why banana? i love bananas, and bananas and chocolate are a perfect combo (the bluths got it right). seriously, these taste awesome.

chocolate cupcakes with banana icing

chocolate cupcakes with banana cream cheese frosting
cupcake recipe from makes about 12-15 cupcakes.

12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 Tbsp brewed coffee
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt

banana icing
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 small ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
yellow food coloring (amount may vary, add drops until you’re satisfied)

1. make the cupcakes: in an electric mixer (or in a large bowl with a spoon), cream the butter and 2 sugars until light and fluffy. add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. in a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. in another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. mix only until blended. fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it’s completely blended.

2. preheat the oven to 350F. line cupcake pans with paper liners.

3. divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

4. make the icing: in an electric mixer (or in large bowl with a spoon), mix all of the icing ingredients until well blended and smooth. if the icing is too runny, add a bit more cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar until it thickens. spread on the cupcakes while at room temperature.

21 Comments for chocolate cupcakes with banana cream cheese frosting - why not leave some love?

  1. Hélène says:

    Now I love making cupcakes so much. I even get requests. I’m adding this recipe to my list.

  2. Pamela M says:

    Banana + chocolate in a cupcake? My 2 favorite flavors to combine? Oh my… and cream cheese frosting just to make it that much more decadent? :: drool ::

    About the frosting, though, I’m curious… what did it look like without the food coloring?

    • petebakes says:

      without food coloring, the frosting didn’t look too appetizing – since all the ingredients are kind of neutral colors, it just looked bland. plus, since bananas are exactly *yellow* yellow when you mash them up, there were all kinds of weird dark spots. it still tasted great though.

  3. flourchild says:

    Hi Pete! Just thought of you last night while making your broccoli casserole. You are right — it’s awesome. I’m right with you about Ina Garten. I sell her brownies at the farmers market in the summer and they go FAST. btw…at the market, I sell some awesome cupcakes and charge $1.00. But here in Ohio, some people think I mean for the whole tray of them! When I say “each” they look at me like I’m crazy! Thanks for the ammo… I’ll tell them to check out D.C.! I’ve been a baker all my life (I’m 62) and only got a stand mixer about 5 years ago. So true, you can bake without one, but WHY? I wish I had broken down and spent the money years ago! I’m looking forward to baking these cupcakes. You and I like the same books. I also have “Bread Baker’s Apprentice” and others you have taken recipes from. Thanks for testing these out for us, Pete.

  4. Y says:

    Chocolate and banana! George Michael Bluth would’ve approved 😀

  5. Melissa says:

    What a yummy idea! I am going to have to try this one, especially with that banana frosting. 🙂 There is a little cupcake place in Georgetown that has really good cupcakes, the line is always out the door too. It’s neat how food goes through these “popularity” phases.

  6. Alex says:

    These look amazing! I think I’ll have to make them next time I make cupcakes. Also, 100 bonus points to you for an Arrested Development reference. 🙂

  7. Carol says:

    Pete I just LOVE your site. It’s so exciting to see a new recipe in my mailbox all the time. I have tried so many and they are always excellent. Keep up the good work. Oh and great pictures!!!!

  8. Niki says:

    Oh yum. I heart chocolate and bananas. I made something similar to this a LONG time ago, I should try it again. But I have a huge affection for mixing banana, chocolate and peanut butter. So I made chocolate cupcakes, put a dollop of peanut butter in each cup of batter and then baked them, then topped them w/ a banana buttercream frosting. Banana Cream cheese frosting sounds WAY better though and I think I’ll try this recipe (but add my dollop of PB too!!!)
    Thanks Pete!

  9. Natasha says:

    There’s always money in the Banana Stand.

  10. anna says:

    i’ve been meaning to try a cupcake with banana flavor. i think making a banana icing is pretty awesome. the cupcakes themselves look great without the frosting. love your blog btw. and i too <3 ina garten.

    ps. i prefer making my own cupcakes as well. lines outside Magnolia’s is so ridic when their cupcakes are not that great.. they banana pudding on the other hand..

  11. Pamela M says:

    Oh, Pete, I’m going to be in D.C. next weekend for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Can you recommend any places (foodie or otherwise) that I should visit while I’m there?

  12. Jess says:

    looks so yummy! I love the yellow color!

  13. […] restaurant, opened.     Cupcake fever is hitting DC kitchens. Check out Pete Bakes’ chocolate cupcakes with banana cream cheese frosting  and My Husband Cooks’ take on chocolate cupcakes with coconut cream cheese frosting.    For a […]

  14. Elyse says:

    Pete! I’m so glad I found your blog. It’s totally awesome. Not to mention that these cupcakes look divine. Can’t wait to keep reading more!

  15. flourchild says:

    Hi Pete, I made these tonight. The cake was perfect, but is the amount of confectioners sugar in the frosting a typo? Only 1/4 cup? I know it says that if it is too thin, to add more sugar and cream cheese. I added about 3x the sugar, and it still isn’t thickened. Plus, the additional cream cheese was out of the fridge (since I only brought 4 oz. to room temperature) and so didn’t blend well. Love the cupcakes and the IDEA of the frosting. I couldn’t find this recipe of Ina’s anywhere else on the web, either, to check if it is a typo. Are you sure it is not 1-1/2 c.?

    • TaTown3 says:

      I had the same problem, never did get it to thicken. I also used fat free cream cheese (unintentionally)…what a mistake!

  16. […] I love me some cupcakes so she must have inherited from me! On Monday afternoon, I finally made the chocolate cupcakes with banana cream cheese frosting that I had on my list to bake. I didn’t plan this very well because Monday night I attended […]

  17. […] store bought package works too) Fill up your cupcake tins about 1/2 full Spoon in a large dollop of Banana Cream Cheese Filling (see below) Cover cupcake with thin another thin layer of Vanilla Cupcake […]

  18. Martin says:

    This was the closest thing I could find that I was envisioning. I made a spice cake and wanted a banana cream cheese frosting, using extra bananas I had. But, I used an entire box and a half of confectioners sugar, and had to add a few tablespoons of shortening to hold it together. Flavor was great, though.

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