What Are Banana Cupcakes?

Cupcakes are a popular sweet treat in part because there are so many cupcake varieties from which to choose. Little cakes flavored with banana are just one of the many different types available to purchase or make at home. Banana cupcakes can be made using mashed bananas, or they can be flavored with banana extract. They can be frosted with banana-flavored frosting, basic vanilla frosting, or any flavor the cook feels would work well with the banana cupcake. Cream cheese icing also is a common topping for these cupcakes, though other fruit flavors such as coconut or strawberry icing generally make a delicious combination as well.

Homemade cupcakes and bakery cakes are typically made with the same types of cupcake ingredients. Butter, eggs, sugar, flour, a leavening agent such as baking powder or soda, salt and the main flavor ingredient are found in most recipes. The flavor ingredient is what generally determines the flavor of the cupcakes, such as chocolate, vanilla, banana or some other type of fruit. Banana cupcakes and other fruit varieties may also contain spices that tend to mix well with fruit, such as cinnamon or nutmeg. Other flavor additions, including chocolate chips, can also work well with the banana flavor.

There are two general ways to make banana cupcakes. First, mashed bananas can be used to add flavor when making cupcakes. This may create a slightly denser texture in the cake than is normally found in varieties without mashed fruit. Fresh banana tends to add a great deal of moisture to recipes as well, so a little extra flour may be necessary to help the cake bake to the correct firmness.

Banana extract, which is generally found in small bottles much like vanilla extract, can also be used to add flavoring, with or without mashed bananas. The extract alone should be enough in most recipes to make the cupcakes taste like banana. Some cooks prefer to add a little to their mashed banana cupcake batter for a stronger flavor as well. A recipe using only extract as flavoring will probably create slightly lighter cupcakes that have a finer texture than those made with mashed bananas.

The icing used on banana cupcakes generally depends on taste. Bananas typically mix well with such flavors as chocolate; strawberry and other fruits; coconut; vanilla; and nut flavors, such as butter pecan. Cream cheese icing is also commonly used on cakes and cupcakes that are flavored with fruit or that contain spices such as cinnamon. Basic frosting flavors such as chocolate and vanilla usually work well, but fancy toppings, including toasted coconut or candied nuts, can create unique cupcakes.

Bananas also lend themselves well to healthy cupcakes. The bananas will add some sweetness, so it may be possible to cut back on the amount of sugar used while still making a sweet, satisfying cupcake. Whole wheat flour can be used in place of white flour as well. Additionally, the same amount of applesauce can often be substituted for the amount of butter or margarine called for to create a lower-fat cupcake. Cooking times may need to be adjusted slightly to account for the different ingredients.


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