These banana cupcakes are a healthy cupcake recipe, believe it or not.
They are made with a combination of whole wheat and all purpose flours, plus oat bran or wheat bran.
Of course there is some sugar in the recipe, but the bananas and grated carrot are both ingredients that add sweetness to the cupcakes, so there isn’t as much sugar as there might be in other cupcake recipes.
If you are looking for a way to get more healthy ingredients into family snacks, this banana cupcake recipe may be one of your next favorite snack recipes.
They have amazing banana flavor plus a wonderful glaze that includes cream cheese, honey and orange.
This recipe calls for orange zest in the glaze, which really amps up the flavor profile of these cupcakes. Bakers will be familiar with zesting citrus fruit, but for the newbie bakers in the group, here is how you “zest” an orange (or any citrus fruit).
What is Orange “Zest”?
For those of you who may be new to baking, you might not be familiar with orange zest. The zest is the outside, colored part of the rind of a citrus fruit, so you can make zest from lemons, oranges, limes or grapefruit. So orange zest is just the thin layer of orange on the outside of the orange peel.
Okay, so how do we create it?
Zesting an Orange
To zest an orange, first wash it lightly and dry it. You can use a microplane, which is a tool especially designed for things like grating citrus rind, or you can use the finest setting of your standard box grater.
With the whole orange in one hand (oranges are much easier to grate when they are left whole), scrape it against the grater or microplane, being careful to just remove the orange part of the outer peel. The white pith below is bitter and won’t add great flavor to your baking efforts.
Banana Cupcakes or Banana Loaf
You can choose to make the cupcakes from this delicious banana batter or you can bake it in a loaf pan or square baking pan and turn it into a banana cake or banana loaf. If you make a loaf in a bread loaf style pan, increase the baking time to about 45 minutes. Test for doneness before removing it from the oven.
If you are concerned about calories or carb count, consider omitting the glaze. That’s what I love about cooking and baking. As long as you follow the general recipe, you really can adjust things to your own taste and lifestyle.
Banana Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Glaze
For the Cupcakes:
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour, or 2 cups white flour in total
- 1/2 cup oat bran, or wheat bran
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 carrot, large, finely grated (or 1/2 zucchini)
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped, (optional)
- Nonstick cooking spray
For the Glaze:
- 1 cup cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- Measure out your butter into a small bowl and let it come to room temperature and soften as you assemble all of your other ingredients and prepare your baking pan.
- Let the cream cheese for the glaze soften at room temperature while you prepare the batter.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Mix the flours, bran, baking soda, salt and spices together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until all the chunks are completely squashed. Mix in the grated carrot or zucchini and stir well with a spoon until they are completely covered by the bananas.
- In a medium bowl, cream together the softened butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla with an electric mixer, or by hand with a whisk, until smooth. It's best to mix it all together very well, until you have no lumpy sugar granules. Add the chopped nuts if you are using them and stir with a spoon until they are completely coated.
- Slowly mix in the dry ingredients, using a wooden spoon or electric mixer set on low, until all ingredients are well blended.
- Pour in the banana mixture and stir everything with a wooden spoon until the bananas are completely blended in.
- Spray the cupcake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Scoop the batter into the cupcake cups, scraping the bowl with a spatula to get all of that cupcake goodness. Bake your cupcakes for 20 minutes.
- If you are using a loaf pan, bake the cake for about 45 minutes. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake or cupcake. If it comes out clean your baked goods are done.
- Remove from the pans and let cool before frosting.
To Make the Glaze:
- Whisk together the softened cream cheese, orange juice, honey, vanilla and orange zest in a bowl until the glaze becomes smooth and thick. Use 1 tablespoon of glaze per cupcake. For a loaf use 1/2 cup.
I hope you enjoy this delicious healthy cupcake recipe (well “healthier” at least). Whether you choose to serve them with or without that yummy orange cream cheese and honey glaze, I think your family and friends will love them.
Eat them for breakfast, packed in a work time or school lunch, or as a great snack or light dessert. Any time is cupcake time isn’t it?
If you like this recipe I’d love you to share it on your favorite social media. You can also add a comment below. Thanks so much.