So…I brought a dozen cupcakes to my dentist.
And it really wasn’t weird at all. Let me explain.
My uncle just so happens to be a dentist. He also just so happens to be my favorite uncle, and I feel I should mention that if I want to continue to avoid unintentional root canals.
The last time I popped in for a cleaning, he greeted me at the front desk, as he usually does, only then, he glared down at my hands. Both were empty. “Oh. You didn’t bake anything?” he asked, revealing his disappointment.
“…uh..no.” I wished I’d had the forethought of cookies or brownies.
He sighed. “That’s too bad.”
Now, a normal human being knows that a visit to the dentist is not an event that merits sugary treats. But for me and my family—none of whom is a normal human being—any occasion merits sugary treats. We’re lucky in the sense that we can simply avoid all standards of regularity.
So this time, I baked.
And usually when the urge to bake comes over me, I struggle for a solid hour with what to make. That wasn’t so yesterday; the choice was simple. Two very large, very ripe bananas were lying–spooning, really–on my counter, just patiently waiting for the fruit flies to come.
I opted to transform my banana bread into sweet little frosted cupcakes because it seems to me that banana bread has been done. It’s been made, deliciously, about a million times now. And I’m beginning to think that everyone has their own tried and true version, with no need for another.
What I love about this recipe is how easy it is. To make the cake batter, you don’t even need an electric mixer; and that is a blessing. Simply whisk the dry, whisk the wet; combine. Voila. The emerging cinnamon-scented cupcakes are feather-light and dependably tender, thanks to the moisture of the mashed banana and brown sugar.
The virtue in these is that they’re only gently sweet. Perfect if you choose to eat one plain with a cup of coffee or tea. But the real reason I had a lighter hand with the sugar is because I wanted to establish a level of balance between the cake and the sweet cream cheese frosting.
Don’t you love cream cheese frosting?
can you even
about cream cheese
f r o s t i n g ?
I, for one, cannot.
So the bittersweet news for me, I guess, is that I’ve already given this dozen away to my dentist. And he loved them. Loved them as in–he ate two upon my arrival to the office, and maybe a third before I left. Yet somehow I ended up with two cavities?
I assured him that I brush,
that I floss,
that I rinse and gargle and clean like mad,
I’d only licked, like, um, about half a gallon’s worth of frosting off of the beaters that day.
makes 1 dozen
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 ¼ cups mashed very ripe bananas (2 very large bananas or 3 small)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup vegetable oil
For the frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, mashed banana, vanilla, and oil. Add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan; each cup should be about three-quarters full.
Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into one of the cupcakes comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 15 to 18 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for two minutes before removing and allowing them to cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and beat for 3 minutes on high speed until the sugar is fully incorporated and the mixture is silky. Add lemon juice and beat for one additional minute. **Note that this amount of frosting will be enough to frost 24 cupcakes—double that which is necessary for these cupcakes. Using less than 4 ounces of cream cheese in a frosting recipe is challenging; it’s simply much too small an amount to work with.
Nutrition Information for 1 Banana Cupcake, Plain without Frosting: Calories 206, Total Fat 10.2 g, Total Carbohydrate 31.6 g, Dietary Fiber 0.9 g, Sugars 19.1 g, Protein 2.6 g
Nutrition Information for 1/24th of the Entire Frosting Recipe (about 2 tablespoons): Calories 55, Total Fat 1.7 g, Total Carbohydrate 10.1 g, Dietary Fiber 0.0 g, Sugars 9.8 g, Protein 0.4 g