You will love these moist, dense-yet-still-soft homemade banana cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. To guarantee the best results, use sour cream, buttermilk, and extra ripe bananas– these power ingredients make all the difference in this spiced cupcake recipe.
This banana cupcake recipe is a mix of these banana cupcakes with chocolate peanut butter frosting and this banana cake, which are actually very similar recipes. Both have a super-moist texture, delicious cinnamon spice flavor, a soft yet dense crumb, and wonderful banana flavor. Today’s cupcake recipe is basically 2/3 of the banana cake, only with the same amount of banana. I really wanted to pack as much banana flavor into the cupcakes as I could without compromising the texture. Another change reflected in the recipe below is adding some sour cream, an addition that always promises a more tender crumb.
Tell Me About These Banana Cupcakes
- Texture: These banana cupcakes aren’t as dense as banana muffins, but aren’t really as soft as vanilla cupcakes. Instead, they land somewhere in the middle. You’ll love how moist the crumb is too– we have the butter, buttermilk, sour cream, and all the banana to thank for that.
- Flavor: Each bite includes banana, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and vanilla. (Some of the best flavors in baking!) It all pairs so nicely with the tangy cream cheese frosting on top.
- Ease: Besides mashing the bananas, which is even easier if you use your mixer, the entire process is fairly simple. If you make your own buttermilk, there is one extra step. See recipe note below.
- Time: Set aside over 2 hours to complete this recipe which includes prepping, baking, cooling, and decorating times.
Success Tips for Banana Cupcakes
- Easy Mash: My team and I make a lot of banana treats including banana bread, whole wheat banana pancakes, and banana muffins and here’s our best tip: mash the bananas using your mixer. Peel and break apart the bananas, then place inside your mixing bowl and turn the mixer on to medium-high speed. If using a stand mixer, either the paddle or whisk attachment work for this. A blender or food processor works as well. Mashing bananas by hand with a fork works too, but takes arm muscle and a little extra time. Transfer the mashed bananas to a separate bowl – don’t even wash the mixer bowl. Just place the butter/sugars inside and begin creaming as the recipe instructs. Super simple.
- Don’t overfill cupcakes: Fill cupcake liners only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides.
- Room temperature: All refrigerated items should be brought to room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. If you’re interested, feel free to read more about why room temperature ingredients are important in baking.
Choosing the Right Ingredients for Banana Cupcakes
Here’s an overview of the ingredients you need and why each is important.
- Flour: 2 cups of all-purpose flour serve as the base of these banana cupcakes. Don’t use cake flour because it’s too light.
- Baking Soda: Baking soda helps the cupcakes rise.
- Salt + Cinnamon: Salt and cinnamon add flavor.
- Bananas: You need 1 and 1/2 cups of mashed banana, which is about 3 large bananas. Make sure the bananas are very ripe because more brown spots = sweeter banana flavor.
- Butter: When creamed with sugar, butter adds flavor, moisture, and structure.
- Sugar: We love the mix of both brown sugar and granulated sugar in these cupcakes. Plus, the brown sugar adds more moisture.
- Eggs: Eggs bind everything together.
- Sour Cream: Sour cream creates a moist and tender crumb.
- Vanilla Extract: A splash of pure vanilla extract adds more flavor.
- Buttermilk: For best taste and to ensure proper rising, use buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, see the recipe notes.
Can I Use Frozen Bananas?
Yes, frozen and thawed bananas work in this recipe and you can read more about How to Freeze & Thaw Bananas for Baking if you’d like. Two important things to remember:
- The riper the banana, the better. When you bake with bananas, you want to use brown, spotty super-ripe ones.
- Strain off excess liquid. As bananas thaw, they let out a lot of liquid, which can throw off the wet ingredients in any baking recipe. I always recommend draining off most or all of that excess liquid before mashing and measuring them for your recipe.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
We’ll pair these banana cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Cinnamon and banana are a natural pairing and 1/2 teaspoon of the spice is the perfect amount in this frosting recipe. (Not too much, not too little!) It’s crazy how 1 tiny addition to regular cream cheese frosting makes such a flavorful difference. Bonus: this frosting pipes beautifully using a large round tip such as Ateco 808, the same I use for decorating carrot cake cupcakes.
For the optional garnish, we love adding a drizzle of salted caramel and a banana slice (dried or fresh!).
They’re truly perfect banana cupcakes. And if you’re not into banana, you might enjoy these apple spice cupcakes instead.
Additional Similar Recipes
- Peanut Butter Cupcakes
- Banana Cream Pie
- Caramelized Banana Pudding
- Chai Latte Cupcakes & Salted Caramel Cupcakes
- Banana Crumb Cake
Top these moist, dense-yet-still-soft homemade banana cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. To guarantee the best results, use sour cream, buttermilk, and extra ripe bananas– these power ingredients make all the difference in this spiced cupcake recipe.
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3 large very ripe bananas)
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature*
- 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature*
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup if needed
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- optional: salted caramel and/or banana chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 6 liners as this recipe yields about 18 cupcakes.
- Make the cupcakes: Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and both sugars together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla, then beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the mashed banana. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the buttermilk until combined. Do not overmix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no flour pockets at the bottom of the bowl.
- Pour/spoon the batter into the liners – fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add 3 confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar (I add it).
- Frost cooled cupcakes however you’d like. I used an Ateco 808 large round piping tip for these pictured cupcakes. Top with salted caramel and/or a banana chip, if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead Instructions: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly in the refrigerator for 3 days. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Cupcake Pan, Cupcake Liners, Disposable Piping Bags or Reusable Piping Bags, and Ateco #808 Tip
- Frozen Bananas: You can use thawed frozen bananas in this recipe. Thawed bananas are extra wet, so drain off as much of the excess liquid as you can before mashing. See How to Freeze & Thaw Bananas for Baking.
- Room Temperature: All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read more on why room temperature ingredients are important.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk if needed. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1/2 cup. (In a pinch, lower fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk, but the cupcakes won’t taste as moist or rich.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.
Keywords: banana cupcakes