These banana cupcakes are incredibly moist and full of flavour. The hint of cinnamon combined with the tartness of the cream cheese frosting and the sweet crunch of the candied walnuts - delicious!
It's starting to feel like fall around here! I can't believe that it is already September! Where did the summer go? There is always something special about back to school season. Now that I am a student again, I am loving browsing all of the adorable back to school supplies and stocking up on post-it notes and highlighters. Is there anything more quintessentially back to school than banana bread? I knew I wanted to make a cupcake so I decided to celebrate the back to school season with these Brown Butter Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. Everything is better with cream cheese frosting! And lately I have been obsessed with brown butter, if you couldn't tell!
The brown butter adds a lovely depth of flavour to these banana cupcakes and nicely complements the candied walnuts. I kept the cream cheese frosting on the tangy side to account for the sweetness of the candied walnuts. The tanginess pairs nicely with the sweetness of the bananas as well. I love the added crunch that the walnuts add to the cupcakes - its a wonderful added texture - but feel free to omit them or switch out the walnuts for a different nut, pecans would also work well!
Brown Butter Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Walnuts
Makes: 18 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 ¾ c cake flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ c butter, browned
1 c sugar
2 ripe bananas
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
8oz cream cheese, at room temp
½ c butter, at room temp
2 to 4 c icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tbsp heavy cream (optional)
For the Candied Walnuts:
½ c walnut pieces
¼ c sugar
Pre-heat oven to 350F. Line a cupcake tray with liners, set aside.
In a medium saucepan, over medium to high heat, melt butter. Once melted allow the butter to brown and caramelize in colour (3-4 minutes). Caramelized bits should start to form at the bottom of the pan. Take care not to let the butter burn. Transfer browned butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, be sure to scrape all the browned bits from the pan (they are full of flavour!). Mix on low-medium speed for about 5 minutes to allow butter to cool slightly.
While the butter is cooling, in a medium sized bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
In the stand mixer, add sugar to the butter. Beat at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Beat in eggs on at at time, scraping down the side of the bowl after each addition. Beat in ripened bananas until just combined. On low speed, slowly mix in the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3s of the way full. Bake on centre rack for 15-18 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on medium speed, beat together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Reduce speed to low and add in icing sugar one cup at a time. If you are using the candied walnuts - I would recommend using 2 cups of sugar, for a less sweet more tart frosting. Mix until combined. Add in vanilla. Whip frosting on medium - high speed until light, fluffy and pale in colour. If you would prefer a thinner frosting, add in heavy cream until desired consistency is reached. Frost cupcakes as desired.
For the Candied Walnuts: In a small pan, over medium to high heat, add walnut pieces and sugar. Stir occasionally, to prevent mixture from burning. When the sugar starts to melt, mix frequently to coat the walnuts. Immediately transfer candied walnuts to parchment paper. If necessary, once cooled, roughly chop candied walnuts into small pieces.