I will probably never get tired of making banana bread, but I do have friends and family that get tired of eating it after a while, so I change things up frequently with a wide variety of mix-ins. And if that fails, I turn my bananas into other baked goods, like these Eggless Chocolate Banana Cupcakes. These cupcakes are a fantastic way to use up a couple of over-ripe bananas and are a delicious option when you need a quick dessert fix.
The cupcake batter is a variation on my favorite eggless chocolate cake recipe, also known as “wacky cake”, which uses the combination of vinegar and baking soda to leaven the cake in place of an egg. It might sound like an unusual recipe (there is no dairy, either!), but it works very well and you won’t be able to tell that there is any vinegar in the finished cupcakes. The cupcakes are moist and light, yet very flavorful. You’ll get strong cocoa notes and a hint of banana finish at the end of each bite.
These cupcakes are actually pretty good on their own, so I would venture to say that you could serve them as muffins for brunch if you don’t want to make frosting. That being said, they’re even better with frosting on top. Chocolate frosting is a good choice if you want to play up the chocolate and downplay the banana, while a vanilla cream cheese frosting will bring out some of the banana’s flavor. My favorite frosting for these is a rich, salty-sweet peanut butter frosting. It works well with both the chocolate and the banana – and the hint of salt that you get from the peanut butter makes the whole thing extremely addictive. The frosting recipe is also good on a standard chocolate cake (double it for a layer cake), so feel free to play around with that even if you’re not making these cupcakes.
Eggless Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup mashed banana (approx 1 large/2 med.)
1/2 cup water, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl or a large measuring cup, whisk together vegetable oil, vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, mashed banana and water. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until combined, with no streaks of dry ingredients remaining.
Divide batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed. Turn cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Peanut Butter Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tbsp milk
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a large bowl, beat together butter and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in milk and gradually incorporate the confectioners’ sugar until frosting is thick, smooth and creamy. Add a little extra confectioners’ sugar if the frosting is not stiff enough, and a few extra drops of milk if it becomes too stiff. Beat in salt.
Top cooled cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.