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This cupcake is showcased by an intensely flavored frosting. It has a rich, deep taste that comes from browning a minimal amount of butter. Adding brown sugar and whiskey creates a sort of layered “caramel” that’ll knock your socks off! The molasses in brown sugar also adds depth to the cake, while bananas reduce the amount of fat used to make it exceptionally moist.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a hard time understanding the obsession most women have with chocolate. Chocolate ice cream makes me cringe, dark chocolate can be used as torture device against me, and chocolate covered anything is just a chore. (Yes, because I have to peel off the chocolate off to eat whatever yummy thing it is covering.) I’m not totally insane though. Every once in a while I love a good piece of chocolate cake, as long as it doesn’t have chocolate frosting. (Check out my Black Forest Cake recipe.) So, I’ve had to find other flavors that suit me.
When I was a kid, my mom had a client from Argentina that would send me homemade Dulce de leche. It was so good that I’d eat with a spoon! I learned early that caramelized sugar is just as rich as good quality chocolate, and can be dressed up and made to go with almost any cake, fruit, or pastry. So, if you like the taste of a deep caramel, just before it hits the point of bitter, then this cupcake and frosting are for you!
The frosting on these Banana-Pecan cupcakes is a bit loose, having the texture of honey. You can firm it up by adding in more powdered sugar, but just remember it’ll add calories. I prefer it in this creamy texture and keep them refrigerated to hold shape.
- 1.5 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 3/4 cup mashed VERY RIPE banana, about 2 medium
- 1 tbsp whiskey, (or 1 tsp vanilla)- I use Crown Royal because I ALWAYS have it in the house
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup +2 tbsp fat free milk, or cashew/almond milk
- 2 oz unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Fat free half and half
- 2 tsp whiskey
- 2 oz cream cheese, slightly softened
- 1/2 cup + 2tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 325° and line a cupcake tin with 10 jumbo foil liners
- In a large bowl combine the flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt). Stir in the pecans and set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk the brown sugar into the melted butter. Stir in the banana, eggs, milk and whiskey.
- Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and whisk to combine.
- Divide among the cupcake liners and bake for 20-22 minutes.
- Remove the cupcake pan and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then move the cupcakes out of the pan, and onto a cooling rack to cool all the way.
- Over low heat, melt the butter. Allow it to cook on low until the milk solids are golden brown.
- Stir in the brown sugar and whisk until melted. Remove from heat and standing back, add in the fat free half and half. It will bubble up, but don’t worry, its alright. Whisk in the whiskey and set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, (or bowl on your stand mixer) beat the cream cheese and cooled butter until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before icing the cupcakes.