250 Calorie Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Don’t you love cream cheese frosting?

I mean,

can you even

think straight

about cream cheese

f r o s t i n g ?

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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,

and that

I’d only licked, like, um, about half a gallon’s worth of frosting off of the beaters that day.

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Banana Cupcakes

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

2 eggs

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

Comments

  1. Kimberly says

    Wow. These look so amazing. I absolutely love bananas and have been sick all week. This is the first thing I see this morning and want to jump out of bed and go make them! YUM.

  2. Hannah says

    Wow, I’ve been fighting the urge to bake lately while trying to make healthier decisions. I’m definitely going to try these tonight and am thrilled that I already have all the ingredients. Thanks!!

  3. Lisa says

    There is rarely anthing better than banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I love that your recipe makes 1 dozen, I don’t need any more than that! My old bananas are beckoning to me now..
    Beautiful pictures as well. :-)

  4. says

    Aww, darling girl, you’ve come to my rescue once again. We’re hosting a play date with a new family and I was wondering what to make for snack. Something semi-healthy, but fun as well. These fit the bill!

  5. says

    Oh my goodness Andie! That was funny. .. we can avoid all standards of regularity. I like your uncle. And he must adore that cute niece of his. I would. And so well written. But you also make a very clever point that everyone has their own tried and true cup cake, yet you still managed to entice us with this. Sadly because I am lactose intolerant I cannot handle cream cheese frosting. Besides I like real icing or frosting. But as a purveyor of Cinnamon I heartily approve the Cinnamon, even though I know you didn’t use Ceylon Cinnamon as you should. Naughty girl. But your photography is so brilliant here I forgive you. The red cupcake wrapper tray things are really cute. Really brings them out.

  6. Hannah says

    Bananas make me ill… not as in I don’t like them (I used to adore them, and I miss them!), but as in my stomach doesn’t like them AT ALL.

    But these cakes look amazing… do you reckon I could substitute another fruit/veg for the banana? Peeled cooked courgette maybe? My friend’s had success in the past with courgette cake…

    • admin says

      Hey Hannah! Hmmm…not sure but as long as it has the same moisture and consistency as mashed banana, it should work just fine!

      Andie

  7. says

    I’m making this for a brunch tomorrow. I used 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce as well, which makes each cupcake (without the frosting) only about 120 calories each.

    To the person who asked about a different fruit/veg – you could try pumpkin!

  8. leah says

    This post made my heart go pitter patter! I over-bought smoothie ingredients this week, and now I have a banana plan. (Which is really fun to say out loud, btw.)

  9. Mari says

    Can’t wait to try these out this weekend! …Not sure about what to do with the excess cream cheese tho, hmmmm. Thanks for the daily posts, love checking in everyday :)

  10. danielle says

    so happy you posted this! they were the lightest, fluffiest banana bread cupcakes i ever had! so deish! so nice to see you on monday, too!
    thank you! :)

  11. Jennifer says

    Is it odd to just *love* certain bloggers? For instance, you & The Pioneer Woman just have a way with words. I could read your writing about something gruesome and still love you for it, even with the fact I have a queasy stomach. These look delish! And now I recall I have to go to the dentist.

  12. Chelsea says

    I’ve missed you. I’m positive you don’t remember me but I oh so luckily found you last year at the beginning of my weight loss journey. Since January 23, 2012 I have lost 140 pounds. I still have about 40 pounds to go, but I’m loving every minute of the ride. I used to follow this blog like nothing else mattered. I felt like you got me when I was going through something that not many have. You always make me laugh and should we ever meet I am positive we would hit it off. You’ve made me cry dring class when I’m supposed to be taking notes, you’ve made me jealous of your cooking, and starving from your beautiful food porn. Anyways..excuse my rambling. I write to you now a completely different person than I was a year ago, yet so much the same. I recently started dating a great guy and he is cooking me dinner on Sunday. I naturally decided to make him something perfectly sweet for dessert. I started looking through pintrest and google searching frantically. Then, all of a sudden I thought, “Andie!” ..I knew you would have the perfect treat for me to wow him with. I obviously caught up with posts and am back in the know with your life. These cupcakes are going to be a wonderful addition to a fun night in. Anyways, I just wanted to let you know that I missed you and I still love you. And I will always come back. Can’t wait for the book. You are a doll.
    xoxo,
    Chelsea

    • admin says

      OH.MY.GOD. Wow. I’m in awe of all that you’ve accomplished and, having just now searched through my email, I saw our initial interaction and I remember how much your writing to me meant at the time. What an amazing journey you’ve had. You should be so proud. So proud. I’m going to email you, because this just seems so impersonal and you deserve more than a comment!

      Andie

  13. Hootie says

    Andie, I made these absolutely wonderful cupcakes!!! I added chopped walnuts to the batter. This icing!!! I am giving away the rest of the batch bc otherwise I will eat them all! As always with your recipes…my husband had some complimentary expletives to describe these :) Thanks for sharing :)

  14. Laura says

    I have been enjoying your blog for some time now, and I want to finally comment as well.
    I made these yesterday and they are TO DIE FOR. I almost ate all of the batter after trying a little. So delicious! I substituted apple sauce for the oil, as someone suggested, and they turned out so soft, moist and yum.
    First, I wanted to make only half the recipe, but I made the whole, and it turns out there is no problem for me and my boyfriend to eat them all!
    Thanks so much for this great recipe and all the best from Denmark!

  15. Jaclyn says

    Made these tonight for a Superbowl party. Incredible. One of the best cupcakes I have ever had or made! I didnt have cinnamon on hand, so I used a tsp of nutmeg. Very light and yummy indeed. Thanks Andie!

  16. Hannah says

    This recipe is too good!Honestly, this is the most delicious cupcake combo I have had ever! Thank you so much, and definitely worth the 250 calories!

  17. em says

    Hi, this recipe sounds great!! can I use half wheat flour, or use wheat flour pastry as well as switch out the oil for applesauce, use egg whites only and use splenda brown sugar mix blend?

  18. Janice says

    I just made these muffins and they have such a nice flavour. Thank you for sharing this. I cannot use dairy so did not put the iciing on but enjoyed them very much without it.

  19. Kelsey says

    Making these this morning, all of my batter ready aaand… No muffin tin!? What! Sooo I’ve made it into a cake. Good job it’s versatile! Very yummy. I also used coconut oil instead of vegetable because I use it for pretty much everything :)

  20. Anne says

    Oh Andie! These look deVINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE cream cheese icing and with bananas in the mix? Oh. Have not tried it but will sometime for sure. Thanks for all your words of wisdom and handing out your wonderful recipes, wonderful slobbering photography and as I always say, YOU CAN WRITE LIKE NO OTHER!!!!!
    Descriptive, engaging, humorous. heartfelt and funny too!
    BIG hugs to you in the Big Apple! Anne

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