Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting: comfort cakes

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Banana cupcakes with peanut butter frosting and honey-roasted peanut topping.

Raise your hand if this sounds good.

*raises her hand*

I’ve been a fan of the banana/PB combo since time immemorial – or 1959, anyway.

Growing up, I enjoyed chunks of banana spread with peanut butter. Or, more formally, Pepperidge Farm bread spread with peanut butter, topped with sliced bananas, drizzled with honey, and made into a sandwich.

The PB & J’s the other girls pulled out of their Sleeping Beauty lunchboxes didn’t hold a candle to my PB & B, which was big, and messy, and oh-so-delicious.

Now I’m a responsible grownup. In fact, I’m more than grown up – I’m on the far edge of middle age, about to drop off into… well, you know.

That age when you get tons of ads in the mailbox for assisted living communities and Medicare Part D plans, and AARP still hasn’t given up on  you – even though you’ve been saying no to their regular solicitations for the past 5 years.

So I’ve put away childish things – like PB & B sandwiches.

For breakfast, I measure out 1 tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter and smear it carefully to the edge of half a 100% whole wheat English muffin. I lunch on Lean Cuisine – or Healthy Choice for a change of pace.

“Big and messy” is much more likely to refer to my dog after a romp in the cranberry bogs than to anything that goes into my mouth.

Still, there are times when I just HAVE to relive that childhood PB & B experience – though in a more refined, adult manner. *harrumphs*

Which is where the idea for Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting came in.

Cupcakes are all the rage now. Depending on your chosen flavor combo, they can be sophisticated (green tea mochi), or fun (s’more).

Even better, you can make a batch of cupcakes, bring ‘em to work, and enjoy JUST ONE – alongside that Lean Cuisine lunch.

Are  you ready to relive your PB & B era, in cupcake form? Get out your Jif and ripe bananas, and let’s get started.

First, a word about baking with bananas. The riper the fruit, the stronger the flavor. If your bananas aren’t AT LEAST this brown, you might consider amping their taste with a shot of banana flavor.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan or cupcake pan; or line with papers, and grease the papers.

Beat 1/2 cup softened butter and 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar until well combined.

Add 2 large eggs, and beat thoroughly. The mixture may look a bit lumpy; that’s OK.

Add 2 medium or 3 small very ripe bananas (about 10 ounces peeled); 1/4 cup honey, and 1/4 cup yogurt or buttermilk, beating until well combined.

Again, the mixture may look lumpy or curdled; that’s OK.

Add the following:

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon banana flavor, optional
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional
2 1/3 cups (9 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons Cake Enhancer, optional, for moist texture

Beat until thoroughly combined.

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, filling the wells almost full; a muffin scoop works well here.

Bake the cupcakes for 24 to 27 minutes. Remove them from the oven.

They should be nicely domed, and a light golden brown.

A cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of one will come out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.

Tilt the cupcakes in the pan, so their bottoms don’t steam. As soon as you’re able to handle them, transfer them to a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Next: a simple frosting.

Beat together the following:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt, optional, to taste
1/3 to 1/2 cup milk or half & half, enough to make a nicely spreadable frosting

Crush 1 1/3 cups peanuts. I chose honey-roasted nuts here, but feel free to use the nuts of your choice. An easy way to crush nuts is to put them in a sturdy plastic zip-top bag, leaving the top open about 1″ for air to escape. Whack gently with a heavy object; a cast iron frying pan is the perfect tool for the job.

Don’t worry about the crushed nuts being all the same size; they won’t be. Variety is the spice of life.

Put the crushed nuts in a bowl.

Frost the cupcakes, using about 42g (1 1/2 ounces) frosting for each.

Spread all the way to the edges of the cupcake.

As you frost each cake, dip it into the crushed peanuts, turning it to cover the frosting completely.

Place the cupcakes on a rack to set briefly.

Cover and store airtight until you’re ready to serve the cakes. They’ll stay fresh for a day or two; longer, if you’ve used Cake Enhancer.

Enjoy!

Please read, bake, and review our recipe for Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Samantha Angela

    How is a banana muffin different from a banana cupcake?

    http://www.samanthamenzies.com

    Samantha, often muffins are made without creaming butter and sugar; some bakers make that the line of delineation: you cream butter and sugar (for lightness) in a cupcake, simply mix wet with dry ingredients in a muffin. But ingredient-wise? No real difference, though cupcakes are often sweeter. PJH

    Reply
  2. garnet

    PJ, I am only a couple of years behind you but I still indulge once in a while because PB&B with honey is one of my very favorite comfort foods. I like it for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. Cupcakes are not my most favorite dessert but I know these are going skyrocket to the top of my YUM list! :)

    Confession: I buy regular peanut butter and stir honey into it, so I can get the exact balance of flavors I like… :) Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  3. aoifeofcheminnoir

    Mom would make banana bread but for some reason didn’t make banana cakes or muffins. I fell ‘hard’ for banana cake w/banana frosting in the cafeteria in Jr. high. I still reach automatically for the peanut butter when I start ti frost banana cake. I feel sorry for the poor people who are allergic to peanuts.

    AJ, so many kids seem like they’re allergic now. Alas, PB & J just isn’t such a ubiquitous touchstone, like it was when we were young. I guess kids now have their own common ground, culinarily speaking – McDonald’s? :) PJH

    Reply
  4. "Amanda C"

    I’ve never thought to use a scoop to put frosting on cupcakes! Brilliant!! (BTW, I was not able to post my comment anonymously.)

    Helps you portion the frosting out evenly, Amanda. And, call our customer service folks, 800-827-6836, if you need advice about posting – I do know you need to be signed in to post… PJH

    Reply
  5. fran16250

    PJ,
    Here’s a gooey treat for you. Toasted english muffin, smeared with peanut butter, topped with sliced bananas, drizzled with honey and to make it healthy top with a sprinkle of wheat germ. Must eat both halves! :)
    When I got to the comments the first question was exactly what was on my mind. Thanks for the clarification.
    This looks like a great recipe. I will give it a try.

    Frank sprinkling with flax seeds is crunchy/good, too. And BOTH halves – now THAT’S indulgence! :) PJH

    Reply
  6. morgan

    PJ,

    These look fabulous! I must confess that I am one of “those people” that eats PB straight out of the jar with a spoon—almost on a daily basis. These cupcakes will be on my list to bake soon. Could I safely substitute some of your white whole wheat flour for the AP?

    Thanks for all you do to make us better bakers!

    Morgan, every morning – PB no the tip of a table knife. I have three different types gong at the moment: fresh-ground honey roasted nut; regular honey-roasted nut; and PB/flax/honey. All equally good! Can you sub ww? Well, you can; the cupcakes will be drier and denser, but up to you; you could decide the tradeoff is worth it. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  7. Sarah @ Nature's Nurture

    O. M. G. These look delectable! I’m getting double the amount of bananas next time at the store just so I can let half of them ripen for this recipe. :)

    Reply
  8. Krissy

    Since I had bananas I needed to use, I made this cupcake recipe this morning and took them to a Town meeting where I volunteer. I got 34 regular sized cupcakes from my 2 X the recipe. The cupcakes baked beautifully and looked just like your photo. ( used chopped salted peanuts which I had on hand.) EVERYONE loved these cupcakes with their great flavors and fun frosting/topping. (In fact, EVERYONE pounced on these treats and wanted more.) This recipe was simple and tasty and beautiful. I need to bake 75 cupcakes for another event in a week. I plan to bake these again. They are a hit!

    Krissy, so glad to hear it – and I’ll bet your fellow town meeting attendees were thrilled to have something both homemade and delicious to enjoy during the voting – and the sometimes endless discussion that precedes it! Thanks for connecting here – PJH

    Reply
  9. Julie

    I just pulled these out of the oven and they smell divine. However, I should have divided the batter into probably 15-16 cups instead of 12 since they overfilled and I had to cut them apart on top. I knew better, but only made 12 anyway. I don’t know if my muffin tin is smaller or what.

    Julie, I’ve found muffin tins do vary a lot in size; the ones I use are full-size, 2 3/4″ wide x 1 1/4″ deep. Sorry for the extra trouble! PJH

    Reply
  10. debj

    These look yummy! Speaking of peanut butter, has anyone tried a product called ‘PB2′ ? Google it…. it’s peanut butter in powdered form. They press most of the oil out of real peanuts, then turn them into powder. To reconstitute, you mix 2T powder with 1 T water, and poof, peanut butter without all the fat! Lower calorie, 2 Tablespoons serving size is only 45 calories, and no added sugar… compare that to regular peanut butter… haven’t tried it in baking/recipes yet, but for straight up eating it, it’s wonderful.

    We used to sell powdered peanuts… I’m betting it’s the same thing. Good to know it’s still out there, Deb – PJH

    Reply
  11. narfing

    Do you guys have Texas Roadhouse restaurants out there? Could you do a recipe for their yeast rolls? They are so good even days afterwards! The copycat recipes are not even close. I know that they use a pizza cutter to cut their rolls into squares, but the copycat recipes don’t even mention it.

    These look delicious! I wonder if they would be good with mini chocolate chips in the batter and topping? My kids LOVE chocolate chips…. and chocolate goes well with bananas and peanut butter.

    Looking at some of the copycat recipes, it seems that our recipe for Beautiful Burger Buns would probably be close to what they do – and this is the #1 top rated recipe on our site, so it’s definitely a good one. Go ahead, add the chocolate chips; drizzle on topping; do whatever you like. This recipe is incredibly versatile… PJH

    Reply
  12. Rebecca

    If I wanted to make these in mini-muffin tins, how long should I cook them for? Should I adjust the oven temp at all? Thanks!

    Rebecca, I haven’t tried these as mini cupcakes, but I’d guess you’d keep the temperature the same, and start checking them at 15 minutes or so – time will depend on just how “mini” the cupcakes are. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
    1. bakersresource

      You will definitely want to decrease the cooking time, maybe 8-10 min, but leave the temperature the same. Betsy@kaf

  13. Donna

    I made these last weekend and they are delicious. My husband shared them with his coworkers and they loved the frosting especially. The cupcakes tasted delicious but were heavy. Did I overbeat after adding the flour? I can’t seem to get a light, fluffy cupcake. Any suggestions? I want to make chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting this weekend and would feel successful if the end product was a lighter cake. Thanks
    I am pleased to hear these were a real crowd pleaser at the office! It is possible you overmixed the batter once the flour was in. But, there are other factors. Pay attention to measuring technique because too much flour could play a role, too. We have a short demo on how to measure flour on our site. Keep in mind that this muffin is made of butter and not oil. Butter, a solid fat, does not always yield the real moist and more open texture as oil will lend. Be sure your butter and eggs are room temperature for optimum air cell development. This can be the same for your liquids. If you added more banana than what the recipe requires, perhaps this will weigh the texture down, too. Hope this helps! Elisabeth

    Reply
  14. lkrummrich

    I am out of honey. I know that I can go get some more but I was thinking about Agave Nectar. What do you think?
    I know that Agave is much thinner.

    Sure, should be fine; just use a bit less, or use a bit less milk/cream. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  15. mamasteph87

    I’m not a big fan of cupcakes because they can be dry, but I made these for the cast party after the production “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” put on by our high school. They were a huge hit. And they stayed moist for a couple of days. My kids who are 21 and 16 are begging for more. The honey roasted peanuts in the icing really brought the flavors together. I will definitely be making this recipe again.

    Thanks for taking the time to add your feedback here, Steph – glad we could help out at the cast party! And I’m happy HS kids are still into Charlie Brown… :) PJH

    Reply
  16. Me

    Should these be refrigerated if not eating for two days?

    No, please don’t refrigerate – chilling will make them dry. No problem leaving at room temperature for several days. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  17. cg880

    Made these last week, and they were absolutely fabulous!!! Thanks for the great recipe!! And I also decided this weekend that I make cupcakes so often that I really needed to invest in the KAF muffin pans. The order is on it’s way now– can’t wait to make them in the new pan and compare. I’m making the banana pb cupcakes to bring to Easter dinner with the rest of the family– partly so they can taste them, but also so I have an excuse to make them again!

    Reply
  18. Cindy Hayhurst

    Just made these after seeing the recipe last night and knowing my parents brought brown bananas and honey roasted peanuts today! They filled my 12 count cupcake pan without overflowing. I got a beautiful dome. But my icing was too thin and tended to run over the side a bit. I’ll use less liquid next time. Can’t wait for a taste when evening dessert time comes!

    There’s such a small difference in liquid between “just right” and too thin, Cindy – it helps to dribble in the milk as you mix, so you can stop when the consistency is perfect. Hope you enjoyed them anyway – PJH

    Reply
  19. Matthew

    Whould it be ok if I went to put peanut butter with honey in the frosting instant of just peanut butter?

    You bet, Matthew – go for it! Sounds yummy. PJH

    Reply

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