Banana Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream
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Recipe Updated 4/20/17
So it’s been little over a year since I first made these cupcakes. And I made some changes to the recipe so I wanted to share it with you all again. Sometimes change can be scary. But when change comes in the form in a new and improved cupcakes, change should embraced. Hugged. Devoured.
I first made these cupcakes during February vacation break, so seems fitting that I would make them again during another school break week. Breaks = baking banana cupcakes I guess.
Although these cupcakes were good, I felt they could just be better. I’m on a mission to go back and improve some of my old photos and recipes..so this updated old post will not be the last you see here!
Let’s talk about some of these changes that I made. I wanted these cupcakes to be fluffier than the first time around. And there was the issue of the cupcake sticking to the liners. So first things first, I added in a bit of baking soda. Because I was going to be using an acidic ingredient (this time sour cream, first time buttermilk) I needed to balance out my acids and bases in the recipe. Good rule of thumb is for every cup of flour add in 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. My recipe was using 1 and 1/2 cups flour so I added in a bit more and went with 1/2 teaspoon.
The second change I made was using melted butter vs. softened butter. First of all, there is the ease of using melted butter. Not that I don’t have a few handy dandy ways to soften butter quickly, but I wanted these cupcakes to come together a bit faster this time. And the melted butter would add some moisture to the cupcakes without having to resort to using vegetable oil. I wanted butter flavor but more moisture. Voila! Just melt the butter!
Ok now for the technical stuff. For a cake (ok cupcake) to come out perfectly certain ingredients have to be in ratio to one another. Since I felt like the structure was not quite right the first time, I knew certain ingredients were not in perfect ratio to one another. Here is a good rule of thumb to remember:
The flour should equal the sugar. The eggs should equal the fat.
The flour and eggs provide the structure, the sugar and fat the tenderness.
In perfect ratio your sugar should weigh the same as the flour. Note: I said weigh, which means we are not talking about volume. That’s when I noticed my amounts of flour to sugar were not in perfect unison! I had 1 1/2 cups flour (or about 6 3/4 ounces, lets just call that about 7 ounces) but I only had 3/4 cup sugar (a little more than 5 ounces). So that means I had more flour to sugar. If anything the sugar should outweigh the flour so the cake is a bit more tender than dry, you dig?
So to remedy that, I add in an extra 1/4 cup of sugar. Now I had about 7 ounces for the sugar and flour.
You with me so far? Have I baking nerded out too much on you? I just can’t help myself. So let’s talk some more about these ratios…your eggs should equal your fat. Remember structure (eggs) balanced by tenderness (butter!). Unfortunately again, I had too much butter and not enough eggs. So to balance it all out beautifully I also increased the amount of butter to 1 stick (4 ounces) and used 2 eggs instead of 1 egg and 1 egg white.
One of the last changes I made to this cupcake was by using sour cream instead of buttermilk. Why?
Well sourcream has less water than obviously buttermilk. And since I felt like the cake was a bit too moist and fall apart the first time, I wanted to reduce the amount of liquid I added. Sour cream will still keep the cake tender, give it a great flavor, but not add more liquid to the batter than I wanted. It would also lighten the color, which was definitely noticeable in this batch. Because I was using sour cream baking soda was added to balance out the acidity.
Isn’t baking science fun? 🙂
I baked these cupcakes at 350 degrees in a pre-heated oven. If you want to nerd out on oven baking 101 then you can read this. This recipe made a perfect 16 cupcakes for me. I filled each one about 3/4 full and baked them for 15-20 minutes. I give you that range because each oven is different. For me, I checked them at 15 minutes, but weren’t completely done until 18 minutes. You want the tops to spring back to the touch and a toothpick to come out clean.
I love using greaseproof cupcake liners for my cupcakes. You can use any cupcake liners, but I love the greaseproof liners because they stay as they say non greasy!
Ok so let’s talk about this frosting. This frosting is a swiss meringue style buttercream which is different than the American style buttercream. Swiss meringue starts with heating egg whites and sugar. I decided to use brown sugar instead of white, and oh my goodness what a good call. You can buy your brown sugar, or you could make it yourself. It added such a caramel yummy note to this frosting that white sugar could never do. Now white or brown, swiss meringue buttercream can be a tricky process. First make sure your bowl are CLEAN. Wash and dry thoroughly.
Is it that important you ask…let me share a little story..
I made this buttercream, all perfect and lovely. I stored it in my fridge until the next day. So that means I had to whip it back to its fluffy goodness. I was all ready to just simply pipe my frosting on and photograph away. Well I didn’t pay attention and just threw it back into my stand mixer bowl. Now it was either not well cleaned out, or (what I think happened) not 100% dry. That lovely frosting turned into a gloppy curdled mess that was beyond repair. I was beyond devastated. Some not so choice words may have been thrown around the kitchen. My #1 taste tester may have run out of the apartment “to hurry to get to the gym” or so he says. Can’t say I blame him.
So I had to start all over again. So please if I can help you in any way possible. Clean and dry your bowl and utensils thoroughly. You really will thank me later when your frosting comes out perfect.
Ok so moving on…yes swiss meringue buttercream takes a little more patience and know how. You have to heat your egg whites and sugar to 140F. Do yourself a favor and get a Candy Thermometer . You can “feel if the sugar is dissolved” between your fingers but wouldn’t you rather take the guessing game out of this while process? I know I would. So whisk continuously and heat until 140F and just know for sure. Use. Your. Thermometer.
After your egg whites are heated properly, you then whip the mixture in your stand mixer until the egg whites are stiff not dry (and the bowl is not hot to the touch- major point here). This will take about 10 minutes. At this point you want to add in your butter in chunks a few pieces at a time until the butter is incorporated. (Hence the needing a cool bowl as opposed to a too warm one that will just melt your butter!).
Ok, here is where your panic button might go off. You watch the whole thing curdle on you. You know you cleaned and dried your bowl. So what the heck is going on?! Just keep mixing. I promise. The frosting will smooth out, I promise. Sometimes the curdling happens to me sometimes it doesn’t. I think it just depends on how fast I add my butter.
Now you can add in your cinnamon and vanilla. Um, cinnamon in my buttercream frosting might be my new favorite thing. It’s crazy good. Like hide the bowl. I’m going to eat it all.
And of course I topped these with a banana chip, because well why not? I thought they looked just so much cuter with one on top.
Tools You Will Need To Make These Cupcakes:
- Cupcake Pan (I love my Chicago Metallic)
- Cooling Racks
- Stand mixer
- Cupcake Liners- I love these greaseproof liners
- Small saucepan
- Piping bags
- Pastry tips
More Cupcake Recipes To Try:
If you make this cupcake be sure to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you! And be sure to snap a photo and share it on Instagram, just include the #bostongirlbakes so I can see!
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbs cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sourcream
- 2-3 ripe medium bananas, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
- 5 egg whites
- 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 sticks butter, cool room temperature, cut into pieces
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
- 2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla and bananas.
- 3. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sourcream in 2 additions, beating until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not overbeat.
- 4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake for five minutes, then lower the temperature to 350F. Bake for an additional 13-15 minutes until the cupcakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cupcakes to the rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice or vinegar to remove any trace of grease. Make a double boiler by placing the mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
- Add the egg whites and brown sugar to the bowl, whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
- Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm, about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add the butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until it has reached a silky smooth texture. If the buttercream curdles simply keep mixing and it will come back to smooth. If the buttercream is too thin and runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes before continuing mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
- Use a piping bag and large star tip to pipe frosting on to the cupcakes.
- * Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let come to room temperature and rewhip in the mixer with the paddle attachment before using.
- * To pipe the frosting, I used a plastic piping bag and an Ateco closed star tip #847.