Thursday 4 February 2010

Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Banana cupcake chocolate buttercream starI really hate wasting food; it just feels wrong on every level. But there are some things that no matter how infrequently I buy them, I seem to find myself tossing, mouldy, into the bin a week or two later. One such culprit is the black banana. Truth be told I'm not the world's biggest banana fan. Oh I like them and everything, but if I'm reaching for a piece of fruit it's generally fairly low down on my list of preferences. Coffee Boy purportedly loves them though, so from time to time I buy him a bunch. But clearly he doesn't love them quite enough as I often find them hanging sadly upon the banana stand (yes, yes, I know I have far too many kitchen gadgets) looking black and pretty yucky.

The other day, spying a few sad specimens, I decided to make something with the black bananas before they became good for nothing but the bottom of the bin. I remember from the bad old days of yo-yo dieting a surprisingly delicious Rosemary Conley recipe for a banana loaf - apart from the use of sweetener which I loathe and even then used to substitute for actual sugar. But if black bananas can work in a healthy recipe, I reasoned, there's no reason they can't work in an unhealthy one too. So this is what I came up with:

Chocolate buttercream cupcakes

Banana Cupcakes (makes about 18)
Adapted from various recipes including Ellen Einstein's Banana Cake recipe

125g butter
200g sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 egg - large
200g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2-3 very ripe bananas - black is OK
125g of sour cream
  • Heat the oven to 170º fan/180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
  • Beat the butter in a bowl until it's creamy - I use an electric whisk to save time
  • Add the sugar and beat until pale and fluffy
  • Add the vanilla and the egg and continue beating for around a minute or so
  • Mash the bananas and thoroughly beat them into the mixture
  • In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda
  • Add half of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar and mix in
  • Add the sour cream - don't worry if the mixture looks like it's separating, it will come out OK in the end
  • Finally add the rest of the flour mixture and blend until everything is well mixed
  • Spoon, or preferably pipe, the mixture into lined muffin tins so each case is no more than half full
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes - I turn my tray 180º after 15 minutes to compensate for hot-spots in my oven. They are ready when a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean
  • Place on a rack and let them cool to room temperature
I usually leave my cupcakes for a day, or at least overnight, before frosting but if you're in a hurry just make sure you leave them until they are really cool.

Chocolate Buttercream
200g of good quality dark chocolate
225g of butter
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tbsp of milk
325g of icing sugar
  • Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt above a bowl of simmering water. Leave to cool
  • Beat the butter (again I used my trusty electric whisk) until it is smooth
  • Mix the cooled melted chocolate into the butter until well combined
  • Add all of the other ingredients and beat until evenly mixed. Take care not to over mix
  • Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes - don't be stingy you have enough for a generous frosting!
I decorated my cupcakes with mother-of-pearl stars which I made from very thinly rolled cream florist paste, dusted with edible mother-of-pearl powder, but you can use anything you like. Or nothing!

Florist paste pearl star
I was really pleased with these cupcakes. I was worried the chocolate would overpower the banana but I really liked the balance. And they've certainly gone down well with friends and family. So well, in fact, that I don't see myself throwing any black bananas in the bin anytime soon. Now, what better excuse to over-shop?


  1. Ohhh Natalie das sieh aber lecker aus .... Habe richtig Appetit bekommen ...
    Wann seid ihr in Berlin?

  2. Wow. Yum. I would kill for one of these RIGHT NOW.

    Love the stars!

  3. Banana cupcakes!!!! I want one now!!! that looks like a lovely recipe too:)

  4. Great looking cupcakes. I'm in the same camp as you when it comes to banana's but Hubby loves them, although we always end up with some black ones too. Will keep this recipe in mind for the next time ;0)

  5. These look amazing!

    If you are ever in Cardiff, you would absolutely love Waterloo Gardens Teahouse. Both the tea and the cakes are amazing, and if you are super hungry you can have a full on afternoon tea. It gets busy, so can involve a short wait for a table!!

  6. Hello Natalie. I found you! Nice blog. Hope you liked the cupcakes. I had a couple left over and just munching on coconut & lime which I have to say is sublime and I'm not being biased heehee! Cake and kisses Molly xoxo

  7. Hallo Serap. Es ist wirklich schoen, von dir zu hoeren. Eigentlich kommen wir am Samstag nach Berlin! Wir werden eine Woche dort sein. Wir freuen uns sehr auf die Berlinale. Ich hoffe, dass wir bald zusammenkommen koennen. Nochmals Danke, dass du mein Blog gelesen hat!

  8. Caroline, if there were any left you would have been more than welcome. Maybe next time?

    Emily & Chele - you should definitely give them a try. You'd never guess a horrid old banana could give such tasty results!

    Sarah - thanks for the tip. No Cardiff trips planned at the moment but that looks like a good enough reason to plan one!

    Molly - glad you found me. Loved the cupcakes. in fact just writing a review now. Yum!

  9. Thanks for spotting that smorecupcakes - now rectified!

  10. Thank you Natalie, can't wait to try them!