Recipe for banana cupcakes with caramel buttercream frosting and more

Susan Selasky of Detroit Free Press posted several cupcake recipes, and quotes local businesses on just how booming cupcake sales are:

"Our business is booming more after Christmas than before Christmas," says Johnson. People "seem more comfortable spending a couple dollars on a cupcake. It's an inexpensive way to make people happy."

Below is one of the recipes she posted; see the article for a recipe for brown-sugar pound cupcakes with brown-butter glaze and chocolate cupcakes with raspberry filling. (Note: we haven't tried these recipes ourselves, just passing it on. Personally, I'm impressed that they included nutritional information too.)


3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar

3 large eggs

4 very ripe large bananas, mashed (about 2 cups), plus sliced bananas for garnish

3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup heavy cream

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe below)

Makes 28 cupcakes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, buttermilk and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the banana and buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the pecans.

You can leave out a small amount of chopped pecans to sprinkle on the tops if desired.

Scrape sides of bowl. Divide the batter among muffin cups, filling each three-fourths full. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

To make the frosting: Bring 1/2 cup plus two tablespoons sugar and the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming.

Cook, undisturbed, until caramel is dark amber. Remove from heat and add cream slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. When cool, fold in Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Once cupcakes are cool, frost tops with caramel buttercream. Frosted cupcakes will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to three days. Top with banana slices before serving.

Nutritional information per 1 cup cupcake with 2 tablespoons frosting: 319 calories (51 percent from fat), 19 grams fat (10 grams sat. fat), 37 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 170 mg sodium, 62 mg cholesterol, 40 mg calcium, 1 gram fiber.


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

5 large egg whites (at room temperature)

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Makes five cups.

In a heat-proof bowl, place the sugar and egg whites.

Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and mixture registers 160 degrees, about six minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer.

Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.

Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated. If the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added, don’t worry. It will become smooth again with continued beating. Add the vanilla and beat just until combined.

Switch to the paddle attachment and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about five minutes.

If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator, up to three days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about five minutes.

Nutritional information per 2 tablespoons of frosting: 106 calories (77 percent from fat), 9 grams fat (6 grams sat. fat), 6 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 8 mg sodium, 24 mg cholesterol, 3 mg calcium, no grams fiber.