Friday, September 4, 2009

Banana Spice Cupcakes


Having a food blog and hosting culinary events isn't exactly great for my figure. It's been a challenge not to indulge every time I cook or bake something. At least the saying, "Never trust a skinny cook..." works in my favor! But to keep me on track and maintain a balance of activity in and out of the kitchen, my friend Christine meets with me twice a week to give me a workout. We've been friends now for a couple years and professionally, she's a personal trainer. I took the plunge and asked her to help whip me into shape a few months ago and so far so good! I'm definitely getting some much needed activity and she's one of the reasons for some of my weight loss.


Christine's golden birthday was recently and unfortunately I wasn't able to celebrate with her. Since we met for a training session tonight, I wanted to give her some belated birthday treats. She's a big fan of sweets (especially cupcakes) and I knew one of her favorite cake flavors was spice cake. I found a Martha Stewart recipe for apple spice cake which I adapted using bananas instead and topped these cupcakes with a fluffy cream cheese frosting. To add a bit of texture and to compliment the flavor of bananas and spice, toasted almonds were used as a garnish. Christine loved the cupcakes and even though I couldn't indulge in them after a good workout, at least I knew she could enjoy them enough for the both of us!

Happy Belated Birthday Christine!

Banana Spice Cupcakes
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)
sliced almonds for garnish



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12 cup muffin pan with liners (recipe makes 24 cupcakes).

Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine vegetable oil, sugar, and eggs; mix on high speed until lemon yellow.

Fold in the dry, sifted ingredients with the mixer on medium speed, until just incorporated. Add the mashed bananas to the batter; mix to combine. Add vanilla, mixing until incorporated.

Pour batter into your prepared pan about 2/3 full in each muffin cup, and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15-17 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool slightly on a wire rack.


Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), at room temperature
8 oz (1 brick) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 - 3 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


With an electric mixer, mix the softened butter and cream cheese together for about 3 minutes on medium speed until it's completely smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to get every last bit of butter and cream cheese mixed in.

Stir in the vanilla extract and slowly add the powdered sugar, a little at a time so that you don't have a big white mess. Keep adding powdered sugar until you get it as sweet as you'd like and a consistency as think as you want.

Either use a piping bag or offset spatula to frost the tops of your cupcakes and garnish with sliced almonds.