Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Despite being a fairly frequent banana eater, I inevitably end up with the last few bananas in the batch turning brown before I’d planned.  It’s a safe bet to assume there are at least a few brown (ok, black) bananas hanging out in my fridge at any given time.  I usually throw them into a batch of homemade granola bars or whip up some whole wheat banana bread or muffins, but sometimes you feel the urge to be a little bad.  Something tells you it’s time to pull out the gobs of butter, the heaps of powdered sugar (gasp!) and good ‘ol fashioned white flour.

swirly frosting

A moist, spiced banana cupcake topped with a cinnamon-spiked cream cheese frosting is the perfect solution.  You don’t have to tell anyone that the cake is spiked with dark rum or that the frosting is so melt-in-your-mouth delicious that you had several spoonfuls just to test it’s flavor.  We get it.  Some days are just made for being bad.

yellow bananas

As many of my readers know, I tend to focus on healthier versions of more sinful dishes.  I’ll swap out whole grains and replace the granulated, processed sugar with something more natural, like honey or agave nectar.  That’s my standard operating procedure.  But contrary to popular belief, I’m not a complete health food freak.  I firmly believe in the right to indulge in a good old fashioned sugar coma every once in awhile.  All things in moderation.

smashed bananas and rum

I tend to rely on recipes like this one (or my other favorite, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes) when I’m asked to bring a baked good to a party.  Let’s be honest, telling someone that the brownies you brought were made with honey and zucchini may not be the best way to win friends (depending on your circle of friends, I suppose) no matter how delicious they may have been.  While I try to make healthier versions for my family and friends, it’s good to have stand-by recipes that you can pull out for special occasions.

baked banana cupcakes

Besides, if you want to look at the silver lining of indulging in a dessert like this, compare it to a store-bought equivalent.  While this recipe calls for white flour, butter and sugar, it doesn’t include trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup or a ton of additives and preservatives.  So even if it feels indulgent to have a cupcake like this, just remember the favor you are doing by making it yourself rather than indulging in a store-bought nightmare.

cupcakes on rack

Not everyone is a fan of banana cake.  It’s true.  How it’s possible, I’m not sure, but it is true.  That being said, for those that are fans of banana cake, this is a great recipe.  The cake itself is light, spicy and moist.  When topped with the cinnamon cream cheese frosting the entire thing essentially melts in your mouth.  Trust me, you will make friends with this cupcake.

swirly cupcake frosting

While I stuck to a traditional combo by pairing the banana cupcake with cream cheese frosting for this batch, you could certainly mix things up a bit with a chocolate fudge frosting or even throwing some chocolate chips in the batter.  Heck, if you are going full butter and sugar you might as well toss in a couple chocolate chips, right?

cupcake insides


Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 24 cupcakes


Cupcake Ingredients:
2 1/4 cup cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup mashed bananas (approximately 3-4 bananas, very ripe)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoon dark, spiced rum (Captain Morgan's)

Frosting Ingredients:
2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
~ 5-6 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together all dry ingredients, including cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the mashed bananas, buttermilk, vanilla and rum. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, blending entirely before adding the next egg.
- Once the eggs are combined, begin adding the dry and wet ingredients in alternating order. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, beat on slow to combine. Add 1/3 of the wet ingredients, beat on slow to combine. Repeat until all of the wet and dry ingredients have been combined.
- Scoop batter into prepared muffin pans. Fill each cup only 3/4 of the way to the top.
- Bake 18-20 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing cupcakes. Let cupcakes cool completely before applying frosting.
- While cupcakes are baking, prepare the frosting. Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add sifted confectioners sugar in 1 cup increments. After 4 cups, check for desired sweetness. Continue adding confectioner's sugar until you have achieved desired level of sweetness.
- Blend in salt, vanilla and cinnamon.
- Once cupcakes are completely cool, frost with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!

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28 Responses to “Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. 1
    jenn aka the picky girl — September 2, 2011 9:51 pm

    I really hate bananas, but I tried a banana cupcake from Billy’s Bakery because my brother told me it was so good…and he was so right. I will definitely be trying this recipe. Thanks!

  2. 2
    Janet — September 3, 2011 10:32 am

    I love bananas and I love sweets, but this recipe is a killer! The entire recipe calls for a pound of butter plus the cream cheese! No wonder everyone in our society is obese. Could there be a lighter/healthier version out there?

  3. 3
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — September 3, 2011 4:43 pm

    Such great photos! I love cream cheese icing on banana desserts, but even better that you used cinnamon.

  4. 4
    Shirley — September 3, 2011 4:44 pm

    What’s not to love about banana cake? And the cinnamon frosting looks heavenly.

    As for the obese comment, it’s not like somebody would eat like this every day. I hope.

    • kate replied: — September 3rd, 2011 6:17 pm

      Jenn – I’m a firm believer that banana cupcakes are the gateway drug into the world of banana-flavored sweets. Enjoy!

      Janet – I’m afraid you may have missed the point of my post, this is definitely a “special occasion” recipe. Certainly not for everyday consumption! I’m sure you will see that I have lots of “healthier version” recipes on my site. Try the Clementine Cakes or the Banana Muffins, both are whole grain and low in refined sugar!

      Lauren & Shirley – Thanks so much ladies! The cinnamon frosting is killer.

  5. 5
    Tres Delicious — September 3, 2011 10:53 pm

    I love that cinnamon cheese frostings! It gives me a better idea of a nice flavor blending.

  6. 6

    I love banana muffins. The cinnamon cream cheese frosting sounds like a fantastic addition. I’ve never tried anything like that. I will have to change that and give this recipe a try.

  7. 7
    dunja — September 4, 2011 4:23 pm

    Made these today. They were very good, but next time I’m going to throw in a bit more rum ;) and I couldn’t really taste the cinnamon.

  8. 8
    JP — September 5, 2011 8:03 pm

    I tried this recipe today. I was a bit worried about the 1 cup of butter in the batter mix – that seemed like a lot. Most recipes with the same measurements (dry + bananas) call for 1/2 cup. That being said, they came out perfect! I was so impressed with them. Mine did not look the same – probably because I didn’t mash up the bananas entirely, nor did I measure the amount. I simply used 4 ripe ones. The icing is amazing. I halved it and had plenty for all 24 cupcakes with a generous amount. Thanks for the recipe! It is definitely a keeper for those *special* occasions!

    • kate replied: — September 5th, 2011 9:40 pm

      JP — So glad you liked the recipe and that the cupcakes came out well! Enjoy!

  9. 9
    Cupcakes — September 6, 2011 11:03 pm

    ohhh my!!! this look SO good! I love any Fruit cupcakes! thanks for sharing, this will be on my ‘must eat’ list this week.

  10. 10
    Laura — September 7, 2011 7:32 pm

    Yum, these look great! Always looking for something new to do with banana.

  11. 11
    theremina — September 10, 2011 9:13 am

    Made these today and they came out wonderful! Thanks Kate!
    The cinnamon is barely noticeable, which is fine as I wanted to taste the banana more than anything, and that’s how it was.
    As “JP” suggested, I halved the frosting and it still was more than enough. So the recipe can be made “lighter”, so to speak.
    My tweak: I added 1/2 tsp. of ground vanilla pod to the (halved) frosting.

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  13. 12
    Susan Shilo — September 21, 2011 11:36 pm

    I disagree with the comment that this recipe is so unhealthy! Bananas are healthy…monkeys eat bananas and they’re healthy!!! lol Seriously, if I could only have one dessert this would be it!! Common sense dictates that desserts are not an everyday occurrence, but wonderful when we can indulge!! Thank you for the amazing recipe!! I speak for all Monkeys!!! lol

  14. 13
    Zoe — October 9, 2011 3:51 pm

    My little boy absolutely LOVES bananas, so I’ve made these for his first birthday (today!) – we’re so excited for them. I’m using a salted caramel buttercream frosting instead of the cinnamon, but the cupcakes are fantastic! (Of course I had to try one to make sure) Thanks! :)

  15. 14
    Baking Mom — October 18, 2011 2:48 pm

    My kids and I made these last night as a family baking project. They were TERRIFIC! Other than halving the frosting amount – it’s scrumptious, but I agree with a previous reviewer that half the recipe is enough (even when very generously frosting the cupcakes) – I made the recipe exactly as written and the results were perfect! I doubt we’ll ever make banana bread with our overripe bananas again… And yes, they are loaded with fat, but they are cupcakes! One really good treat is much more satisfying than several blah ones. Just be sure to send these out to be shared with friends like we did – you definitely don’t want to have easy access to the whole batch!

  16. 15
    Jakki — November 16, 2011 3:27 pm

    I made these last weekend. I took some over to my friends and left the rest at home for my roomies to enjoy. Everyone LOVED them! I make a lot of cupcakes from scratch and so far this was definitely the universal favorite.

    The one thing I have to say is that the frosting recipe makes way too much. In the future I will be sure to half it.

    I can’t wait to try out more of your amazing recipes!

  17. 16
    sheila — January 16, 2012 5:47 pm

    Just a note….I accidentally put my sugar in with the dry ingredients. I might suggest changing the instructions to list out the dry ingredients that go in the first bowl or to note that sugar is an exception. I’m going to see if I can make it work regardless.

  18. 17
    Bekki — February 7, 2012 3:03 pm

    Cant wait 2 try this but I’ve never baked anything with rum in it b4. Is it like cooking with alcohol most of the alcohol cooks off? OR does rum make this a non kid friendly cupcake?

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  20. 18

    Made this as a layer cake with a few alterations for our Easter dinner dessert. Tasted great.

  21. 19
    Terrie — May 16, 2012 1:13 am

    I JUST got done making this.. house smells AHH-MAZING!!
    ..couple things.. I too blended the sugar in w/ the dry ingredients instead of waiting to do it w/ the butter.. oops!! Seems to be ok…
    Didn’t have dark rum.. boo.. (just Malibu..which I am happily consuming at this very moment!) I did not add that.. but added a touch of honey…again..seems to be ok!!
    AND, I did not have any buttermilk…so made my own.. BUT we only have skim milk.. so made it with that!! lol.. wow.. I’m just a substituting freak tonight!!
    Regardless.. everything turned out fantastic.. Made it into a cake.. 9 x 13 pan.. cooked for 35 minutes. Oh! I also added a squirt of honey to the frosting…and I cut the frosting recipe in half… ..Thanks for the fabulous recipe!!! (even though I had to improvise!!) :)

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  23. 20
    Erena — August 31, 2012 2:22 am

    I’ve been making this recipe for a while now. It’s AMAZING. I don’t really get excited over banana cake, but my partner LOVES it. Who would have thought the happy compromise would lie in the addition of cinnamon. NOMS! and it’s a pretty fool proof low dish count recipe to boot!

  24. 21
    Shwetha — July 17, 2013 10:09 am

    Wow! that looks soo yum.. however got one question can we make this cupcake even without Dark Rum??

  25. 22
    Amy M — October 4, 2014 10:26 pm

    Do you refrigerate these or should they stay at room temp?

  26. 23
    Megan — November 1, 2014 8:12 am

    Made these the other day – recipe is great, and cupcakes were nice and moist. I substituted the buttermilk for yogurt and doubled the rum in the batter. Next time I will add just a touch more rum in the batter and add some to the icing too for something a bit more special! (I left out the cinnamon all together. )

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