Banana Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

My kids go through phases of loving certain foods and hating them.  Lately I have been sending bananas to daycare and camp on "field trips."  The bananas arrive back at home in the lunch box at the end of the day untouched but squished and brown.  Ahh, just how we all like our bananas.  Luckily there are a ton of things to make with squished, brown and old bananas.  Like banana bread, banana "ice cream," and of course, banana cupcakes.  Normally I wouldn't dare top a banana cupcake with anything but cream cheese frosting but today I had run out of powdered sugar so I decided to make a salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream.  Any frosting you like would work on these.  

Cupcake Recipe (makes 16)

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 overripe bananas: measured to get 3/4 cup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk 

Nutella Buttercream

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup fleur de sel caramel (Trader Joe's) or any salted caramel 

Instructions

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For cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 16 muffin tins with cupcake liners.  

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk.   

Beat butter and both sugars in stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Mash the bananas with a fork and add to your mixer bowl.  Making sure to scrape down the sides, add the egg yolk, egg and vanilla extract and mix about 30 seconds more until all ingredients are incorporated.  Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the buttermilk until just mixed, being careful not to overmix.   Fold ingredients together with a spatula to make sure there everything is incorporated before scooping the batter into the cupcake liners, measuring evenly between the 16.  

Bake for about 20 minutes, just until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting. 

For Nutella Buttercream:

Place the egg whites and the sugar in the metal mixing bowl of your stand mixer and set above a pot of simmering water.  With the water simmering, whisk the mixture gently until the sugar melts being careful not to froth the mixture too much.  The mixture will feel very warm with no grittiness and thin when it is ready.  

Remove the bowl from the heat and wipe the bottom dry.  Whisk with the whisk attachment on your mixer until stiff peaks form and the the bottom of the bowl is cooled.  You don't want the mixture to be too warm or your butter will melt and you'll have frosting soup.  

With the mixer on medium-high, add in butter one tablespoon at a time.  It may start to look a little like curdled milk but don't worry, if you keep mixing it will come together.   Once it looks like frosting, add the salted caramel and mix until incorporated.  Taste and add more salt or caramel if you think it needs it.  

Pipe frosting on cooled cupcakes. 

 

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Banana Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream