Banana Bread Cupcakes with “That’s the Best Frosting I Ever Had”

in Cakes, Desserts

I’m well into my 20s and just now learned how to properly peel a banana.  How I went all this time not knowing the proper way is beyond me.  A few weeks ago, I was working late and decided I needed a snack.  I went to the kitchen, grabbed a banana and tried to open it.  Not wanting to give, I dug my nails in.  I tried snapping off the stem.  Still no luck.  Then a co-worker of mine walked over, turned the banana over and peeled it with total ease.  It totally blew my mind.  I thought he was a genius.  I mean, it’s sort of a life changing revelation. I’ve been eating bananas since I was a kid, quite often actually, and just now learned this.  I feel like this is the type of thing you learn along with tying your shoes, folding clothes, opening a door–it’s like an essential piece of information as a human being.  Apparently this is the way gorillas and monkeys peel bananas.  I love that I open it the same way they do now.  I think it’s pretty cute.  I feel like it makes us friends now or something. I feel like if I bumped into them in the jungle and we both picked up a banana, they’d respect me, you know, ’cause I know how to do it the right way.  They’d give me that nod of approval they’re always doing.

Anyway, in an attempt to exploit my new banana peeling skills, I decided I was going to make lots of stuff with bananas.  I made a few banana milkshakes, and those were cool, but not really anything too exciting.  And sure, banana bread is cool too, but I mean, the internet is filled with recipes of banana bread.  Then I remembered these awesome little cupcakes I made awhile back for a brunch I went to.  They’re disguised as cupcakes but really banana bread, and what makes them even more awesome is that they have icing on them.

And I decided that instead of putting any ol’ icing, I’d put this icing recipe that I found on Tasty Kitchen; it’s appropriately called “That’s the Best Frosting I Ever Had”.  This seriously is the best frosting I’ve ever had.  I’ll never go back to anything else.

P.S. If you’d like a tutorial on how to open a banana like a money, then click here.

Banana Bread Cupcakes with “That’s the Best Frosting I Ever Had”

Cupcake recipe by Martha Stewart. Icing recipe from Tasty Kitchen

Print this recipe!

Some people love their banana bread super-duper moist.  If that’s the case, I recommend putting 1 3/4 cup of mashed banana.  Also, a few tips with the icing:  on Tasty Kichen there was much debate about whether or not the butter should be room temperature and I found that it should be a little bit in between.  It shouldn’t be super soft, meaning that if you cut the butter with a plastic knife it should give a little but not turn to mush.  If it’s too melted then the sugar won’t properly incorporate and you’ll have grainy icing on your hands.  Not fun.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas), plus 1 whole banana, for garnish (optional)

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans


1 cup Milk

5 Tablespoons Flour

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1 cup Butter, barely room temperature

1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)

Since the icing has 2 steps, I’d start it first.   So in a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. (If you’re in a hurry, place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools.)

Then turn your attention to the cupcakes and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Add chopped walnuts and fold in. Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups (I filled them up about 3/4 of the way full) and place in preheated oven. You’re going to want to bake them for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While the cupcakes are in the oven, go back to the icing and cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla to the cooled milk/flour mixture.  Then add the cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat until it all combines and resembles whipped cream.

NOTE:  The milk/flour/vanilla mixture MUST be cooled before you add it to the butter and sugar mixture.  Also, if you’d like to see the step-by-step post that Ree did about the icing, then click here.

Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Spread tops with frosting. Just before serving, peel and slice banana into rounds, and place one on each cupcake.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Katrina March 22, 2010 at 9:23 am

These cupcakes look scrumptious! Glad you know how to peel bananas now 😛


the domestic mama March 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Yum. Period—–> . have a great day!


Naomi March 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm

These cupcakes do look great, cute liners too!

That’s how my boyfriend peels his bananas, the first time it boggled my mind, it seemed so wrong! Now, it’s how I peel bananas too.


Erin at The Healthy Apron March 22, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I can’t even imagine a more perfect treat! Literally, frosting is the perfect addition to any dessert. Yum yum!


Janine March 22, 2010 at 7:33 pm

My boyfriend knows how to peel a banana just fine but I made him these cupcakes and he scarfed them down more like a gorilla. Do you have a link to fix that? Judging by his enthusiasm and the taste of the morsel he spared me, these were so great! And the banana on top it TOO.F’IN.CUTE…! (Saw you mentioned on Pioneer Woman so I checked out your site, and she was right…I’m hooked! Can’t wait for the next post!)


Ryan March 22, 2010 at 7:37 pm

I would devour these…I’m no Chef Boyardee but what if you poke a hole in the banana bread and insert a little peanut butter surprise… Is that fat of me to say?

PS – Peel the banana on the other side?? Say WHAAAAAA!!!??


Adrianna March 22, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Janine–LOVE the story! So glad they turned out. And welcome! Please come back!

Ryan–Not fat at all, but rather totally amazing. You’re awesome. Do it!


Joy the Baker March 22, 2010 at 9:40 pm

hahaaa! welcome to the world of people who know the secret banana peeling trick!


Karen Smith March 22, 2010 at 9:50 pm

This type of icing is also called ‘Gravy Icing’. Its an old recipe, but sometimes they’re the best ones! My grandmother’s recipe for Whoopie Pies has this for a filling – heavenly!


Adrianna March 23, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Karen-yes, that’s a good name for it since it requires a very roux-esque milk mixture.


Brendan March 24, 2010 at 11:38 am

These look so good that they transcend my normal indifference to cupcakes. I actually just spent a solid five minutes imagining what it might be like to eat one!


Sarah March 24, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Thanks for posting that recipe — it’s the one my mom made for my birthday cake every year when I was growing up. It came from an old cookbook that called it “French cream” frosting. I always store cakes frosted with this in the fridge, because in my opinion it’s much better/firmer/creamier cold than room temp. Thanks again!


grace March 29, 2010 at 3:38 am

i didn’t realize there was a wrong way to peel bananas! i’m glad you worked it out–these little cakes are great. the frosting (by far my favorite part of any cupcake) looks unique and delicious. :)


Ivy April 12, 2010 at 11:07 pm

I’ve been saving up some bananas to make banana bread, but I think I will make these instead. Can’t wait to try the icing!


Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot June 11, 2010 at 10:56 am

Ooh they look just like the one’s on Martha’s website! Isn’t that frosting to die for? I love it! And I have the exact same cupcake lines. :)


Palmira Labita October 10, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Lovely Blog. Thank you.


Tony November 18, 2010 at 11:42 pm

I once pretended to be cookie monster and demolished an Oreo without even tasting it. You’ll do anything just to keep them eating. Nice thread here, too.


charlene July 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm

What can be used instead of butter, My daughter cant have lactose. I have used flora oil instead of the butter and she has a lactose free milk in the cupcakes but it doesnt work well with icing ( have tried before, it wasnt good!)

anyone have anyideas what would work as a good replacement?

Thank you


Kate November 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm

earth balance is an excellent alternative to butter in cooking – you can buy it in most health food stores. I’ve never tried it in icing though, you’d have to keep it quite cold I’d think, and the texture might be a bit off. But I’ve used it frequently in baking, particularly in cake or quick bread recipes.


Nina August 30, 2013 at 4:21 am

I used coconut oil in both the cupcakes and the icing. Works well, just be careful with the icing as it will melt at a lower temperature than icing made with butter. Lactose intolerant kids deserve cupcakes too!


Wendy C July 31, 2011 at 1:32 am

Just tried the icing (with a different banana bread recipe – a sour cream banana bread that is close to the above except adding a half cup of sour cream) and it is GO-OO-OOD. I used salted butter and the slighty salty, creamy, sweet spread/icing is soo good. Thanks for a winner! To reply to charlene – you COULD try coconut oil – although you would have to keep it chilled. Personally I think it would be better than the vegan margarine spreads, which are mainly water and soy anyway (at least the ones I have found). Coconut oil would taste good and be creamy, I would think. Maybe you could test a half recipe?


Kathy July 31, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Do you think this frosting would turn out well with splenda? My Dad is turning 80 and is a diabetic. We do let him have bananas (even though it is not the best choice of fruit for diabetics) and he loves banana bread. I always substitute the sugar in the bread but what about the icing?


Adrianna August 1, 2011 at 2:29 am

It should! You could also try using agave–just be sure to do you’re research with the agave since I’m not completely sure of its possible affect on him. If you do choose to go with agave, I’d use 2/3 cup of agave for the 1 cup of sugar. Good luck!!


Kathy August 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Just FYI they turned out fantastic. Thanks for your advice but I did use the splenda and it tasted just like sugar. The texture was good and everyone loved them.
Thanks again


Adriana August 12, 2011 at 6:12 am

hey tocaya, i just made this recipe tonight and it was DELISH!


Kate November 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Made these for my son’s 2nd bday this weekend (he’s a big fan of banana) and they were a huge hit. FYI the recipe makes about 15 cupcakes but there was plenty of icing leftover. That icing is soo good – it’s ridiculous. I’m not much of a baker, and these were a real hit.


Nathalia (@shushumushu) December 31, 2011 at 8:08 pm

wow, these look so good. i’m going to attempt asap – congrats on the frosting, such a good feeling when you find the best ever recipe for something.


Shushu February 14, 2012 at 9:48 am

Paired these delicious gems with a strawberry cream cheese frosting…to die for!
– I used half wheat flour and half white and in a second batch I added chocolate chips. They were all a hit! Thanks for sharing!


Christina April 3, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I’ve been dying to make these for ages now, but I’m nervous about the frosting. My boyfriend has Celiac disease and can’t have flour, which isn’t usually a problem when it comes to the baking itself. But any idea what I could do about the frosting? Gluten-free flour, or cornstarch, or something else? I’m not sure how those would turn out!


Cassandra Brecht September 10, 2013 at 8:36 am

This is a traditional boiled frosting, common to the South. I wouldn’t try to make it with anything else, but rather replace it with another frosting that you like.


Katie July 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm

This is the same perfect frosting that my Mom used to make for our birthday cakes every year growing up. We called it “cooked frosting” since you cook the milk & flour, but my stepmom calls it “beat forever frosting”, since it has to be mixed for so long. Absolutely my favorite, though–those ubiquitous buttercreams and royal icings are just TOO sweet! :)


Clint November 11, 2012 at 11:47 am

Awesome icing! Never made the cupcakes, but I’m sure they are just as awesome.


Anne-Sophie November 14, 2013 at 4:30 am

I was looking for a banana frosting that was not overwhelmingly sugar, I will definitely try this one. Is this frosting a good base for various flavors? Would it be good to substitute the banana for other fruit? What about maple or lemon (I’m talking about just the frosting)? Thanks again for the idea.


Adrianna Adarme November 14, 2013 at 7:59 am

Hi there, this isn’t banana frosting- just the cupcakes have bananas in them.


Anne-Sophie November 14, 2013 at 8:07 am

Wow, I can’t believe I saw bananas in the list of ingredients for the frosting. I must have been looking at too many recipes. Sorry about that.


Adrianna Adarme November 14, 2013 at 8:08 am

No worries. Good luck with your search! :)


Kristine December 30, 2013 at 1:45 am

Hiii! So excited to try this one for New Year’s! Tried baking banana bread before and since I try to make things healthier for my mom, I used veg shortening instead of butter and honey instead of sugar. The bread turned out fine :))

Just wondering what’s the effect though if I substitute the sugar in the frosting with honey. Do you think it’s alright? Many thanks! :)


Nikita March 15, 2014 at 4:35 am

Hi, I was wondering could I substitute the butter in this recipe with oil? If so, in what proportion? :)
Many thanks


Adrianna Adarme March 16, 2014 at 10:49 am

Hi Nikita, I’m honestly not sure. I never tested it that way. Sorry about that!


Ann April 11, 2015 at 11:00 am

prepare it with oil, if you like it, that’s good to test and change recipes . I do.


Erin May 15, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Thanks for the recipe! I’m using a different frosting but the cupcakes are good! I used 1 and 3/4 c of banana and was glad I did. Due to my high tolerance of sugar, I found these to be not as sweet as I would like my cupcakes to be, so that is why I’m using a sweeter buttercream frosting with it (caramel flavored). FYI I greased my muffin pan with butter and did not need paper liners.


Nancy June 15, 2014 at 5:01 am

Great recipe!! My boyfriend contemplated eating the whole batch!! I only had 3 bananas so i mixed in some raspberries to the batter, and topped them over the frosting too. The pop of sour goes really well with the banana cupcakes!!

Although i have a lot of frosting left over, might have to just make 2/3 of what the recipe calls for next time.


Mary February 22, 2015 at 8:48 am

Sorry, but a person who doesn’t know how to peel a banana is pretty stupid.


Ann April 11, 2015 at 10:58 am

that’s so funny about peeling a banana correctly, Monkey do humans do not see.


Julie May 25, 2015 at 1:48 pm

yikes…… my mom and I just laughed out loud …..we thought we knew how to peel a banana lololo


Eric August 13, 2016 at 12:55 pm

To avoid any risk of grainy sugar in the frosting mix the flour and sugar together in the sauce pan, then add the milk and cook until thick. Then, room-temp butter works just fine. This is also called a “flour buttercream frosting.”


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