Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

We top these moist, spiced, and dense-yet-still-soft homemade banana cupcakes with decadent cinnamon cream cheese frosting. For cupcake perfection, use power ingredients like sour cream, buttermilk, and three ripe bananas.

banana cupcakes topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting

Judging by the response to my favorite banana cake, I’m thinking most of you are bananas for… bananas. (Couldn’t resist!) I also shared a recipe for banana layer cake topped with brown butter cream cheese frosting. All this banana razzmatazz put me in the mood to test out more frostings. Turns out, quite a lot can pair with banana! And rather than post 7534583 banana cakes, I decided cupcakes are the best option.

Today’s banana cupcake recipe is a mix of these banana cupcakes and my banana cake, which are very similar recipes. We have a super-moist texture, plenty of cinnamon spice flavor, a dense crumb (but still on the softer side too!), mega banana flavor, brown sugar, and lots of buttery goodness. This cupcake recipe is basically 2/3 of the banana cake recipe, only with the same amount of banana. I wanted to pack as much banana into the cupcake as I could– and we can totally get away with 3 bananas here. I also took a look at my original banana cupcake recipe, dropped out 1 egg and replaced with sour cream.

This is your dream banana cupcake.

banana cupcakes topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and banana chips

You Either Love or Loathe Bananas

Banana– both the flavor and the fruit– is on both ends of the spectrum. You either love love love banana or loathe loathe loathe banana. My sisters are anti-banana, while my parents and I can’t get enough. Banana bread? The more bananas packed inside, the better. If you’re on the love side, sit back and stay awhile. If you’d rather pass, may I interest you in some equally as festive apple spice cupcakes instead?!

mashed bananas in a glass stand mixer bowl

My Mashing Bananas Trick

Here’s my favorite tip when making banana cake, banana bread, banana muffins, cupcakes, etc:

Mash the bananas in the mixer! Using the paddle or whisk attachment, simply place your super ripe bananas inside the bowl and turn it on to medium-high speed. I used to mash bananas with my blender, food processor, or with a fork (which takes some arm muscle) but this way is much easier and quicker.

Transfer the mashed bananas to a separate bowl– don’t even wash the mixer bowl. Just place the butter/sugar inside and begin creaming as the recipe instructs. Super simple!

2 images of banana cupcake batter in a glass bowl and in a cupcake pan before baking

Ingredients in Banana Cupcakes

  • Flour: 2 cups of all-purpose flour serve as the base of these cupcakes. It’s sturdy enough to hold up the thick, creamy batter.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda helps the cupcakes rise.
  • Salt + Cinnamon: Salt and cinnamon add flavor. 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon adds that something extra, but isn’t overpowering.
  • Bananas: You need 1 and 1/2 cups of mashed banana (about 3 large bananas). Make sure they’re nice and spotty because more brown spots = sweeter banana flavor.
  • Butter: When creamed with sugar, butter adds flavor, moisture, and structure.
  • Sugar: I love the mix of both brown sugar and granulated sugar in these cupcakes. Brown sugar and banana pair wonderfully together and the brown sugar leaves the cupcakes even more moist.
  • Eggs: Eggs bind everything together and add moisture.
  • Sour Cream: Sour cream creates a wonderfully moist, dense crumb.
  • Vanilla Extract: A splash of pure vanilla extract is a must.
  • Buttermilk: For best taste and to ensure proper rising, use buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, check out my DIY sour milk option in the recipe notes.

cinnamon cream cheese frosting in a glass bowl

My #1 tip: Fill cupcake liners only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides.

Salted caramel in a glass jar with a spoon

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

The best part about this entire recipe? Cinnamon cream cheese frosting! It blows my mind that 1 tiny addition to my regular cream cheese frosting makes such a big difference. And now I wonder why I waited so long to add cinnamon to cream cheese frosting!? Bonus: it pipes beautifully. I used an Ateco 808 large piping tip for these cupcakes.

If you really want to indulge, make my brown butter cream cheese frosting and add cinnamon. WOW!!

banana cupcake topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, salted caramel, and a banana chip

And finally, what flavor pairs well with banana, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon? Salted caramel, of course. Pretty sure salted caramel pairs with everything. I’d probably eat an entire plate of steamed broccoli if salted caramel was poured on top. But let’s stick with banana cupcakes for now. 😉

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banana cupcakes topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 35 minutes
  • Yield: 18 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Super-moist and flavorful banana cupcakes with creamy cinnamon cream cheese frosting on top!


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Make the cupcakes: Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Cupcake Pan, Cupcake Liners, Piping Bags, and Ateco #808 Tip
  3. Room Temperature: All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information.
  4. 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: bananas, cream cheese frosting, cupcakes

banana cupcakes topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, salted caramel, and banana chips

147 Comments

  1. Made this recipe for my birthday (in 3- 6in rounds) and it was decadent and so yummy. I love cream cheese frosting and the addition of cinnamon was excellent.

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