Monday, April 4, 2011

Black Walnut & Chocolate Chip Banana Cupcakes

Mmmmmm…fresh baked cupcakes. Is there really anything better? Ok, how about a good, healthy smear of homemade cream cheese frosting on top? Happiness? Yeah? Me too.

Prior to becoming pregnant, I had a minimal sweet tooth- a cookie here and there, the occasional small serving of ice cream or maybe a little cake on special holidays. Now that I’m encroaching on 3rd trimester, I find myself with ridiculous cravings for sweets- not all the time, but with enough frequency that I find myself wandering over to the kitchen cabinets and seeking out some satisfaction. Rather than pick up a box of store bought cookies or cupcakes, I’m trying to stick with treats I make at home. This way, I have to really think about the craving and decide whether or not it’s something I absolutely have to satisfy, or there is another way to stave off the beast. Home baked treats are also great, since I can pack up the second half of whatever I make and bring it into my office or send it to the ship with my husband, which not only keeps me from eating six cupcakes for dinner, but also wins me some points with the boss. Win-win in my book.

I have had a HUGE craving for cream cheese frosting for quite some time now, and finally caved late last week under the guise that I would be making the cupcakes for my husband who was coming back to port after being out to sea. Funny enough, he was so kind as to inform me over the weekend that he was not a huge cream cheese frosting fan. Whoops- more for me! I am a cream cheese frosting lunatic, and after a little playing with the proportions on the original recipe, I found my frosting nirvana by cutting back the powdered sugar, upping the vanilla and adding just a hint on nutmeg. Bliss!

I’m not sure that these little baked treats would completely qualify as cupcakes per se, as they are really more of a banana bread/muffin/cupcake hybrid, but I could not in good conscious refer to them as muffins after I layered on a heavy dose of cream cheese goodness. So, cupcakes it is! I picked up the base recipes for these insanely easy treats over on, and tweaked it a bit with things that I had on hand for a really satisfying little treat. These could easily be converted back into the more healthy land of muffins by switching out some of the regular flour for whole wheat, trading the butter for applesauce, omitting the chocolate chips and forgoing the frosting (eek!). I’m sure the day will come when I’m interested in lightening them up, however, this was not that day!

Black Walnut & Chocolate Chip Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
(original recipe here)
Makes 12

-1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
-1 Tspn baking powder
-1 Tspn baking soda
-1/2 Tspn salt
-3 Large bananas, mashed
-3/4 Cup organic sugar
-1 Large Egg
-1/3 Cup butter, melted
-1/3 Cup black walnuts, roughly chopped
-1/2 Cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan(s) with liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt- set aside. Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture, and mix lightly. Add in walnuts & chocolate chips and mix lightly until smooth (do not over-mix!) Scoop into muffin pans and transfer to oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cakes should spring back when lightly tapped. Remove from oven, take out of muffin pans and let cool on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting
(original recipe here)
-1 8oz. Package of cream cheese, softened
-1/4 Cup butter (1/2 stick), softened
-3/4 Cups sifted confectioners' sugar
-1 Tspn vanilla extract
-1/2 Tspn fresh grated nutmeg (optional)

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar and nutmeg.

Once cakes have cooled, coat well with frosting and enjoy!


  1. Who doesn't like cream cheese frosting?

  2. Sadly, I married one of "those people"! In the end it's not such a bad thing, just means more deliciousness for me and my preggo-sized cupcakes. ;)