So this story is going to start out…well…a bit ghetto.  My friends and I did the Irvine Mud Run the weekend before Mike’s birthday.  It was a great experience and an eye opener–that I need to start running again.  Either way, there were booths giving away free samples; and after an exhausting run, the fruit stands were by far the best.  Because we were scheduled for the last leg of the race, most of the vendors were gone by the time we finished–and well…it’s probably for the best.  Why?  Because my friends and I ended up taking home what was probably 30 bananas.  Were we supposed to?  I have no idea, but they were laid out for everyone and we certainly weren’t the only ones.  I can’t tell you how pleased I was with the bananas.  Not only did a handful of us have breakfast for the next couple of days–but I would also have a bushel of ripe bananas for the following week’s Birthday Extravaganza!

There was of course, a bit of a catch–someone had to carry those bananas.  And thank goodness it wasn’t me.  We were all so excited about all the bananas, we forgot that we parked 2 miles away.  I heart my friends for doing the needful (I understand that that phrase means nothing to most of you out there…but that’s how we talk around the office and it has somehow become of my general speech.  Have a go at it…I think you’ll like it too).

And now–drum roll–the cupcakes!  These things were awesome.  These cupcakes are so refreshing and light.  It may be misleading, but it definitely feels like you’re eating a “healthier” cupcake.  Mike and I really enjoyed these cupcakes–even without any frosting.  My parents, who aren’t too keen of “American” sweets, raved about the cupcakes.

Recipe makes approximately 24-36 cupcakes.  If it’s for a smaller group, you should definitely cut the recipe in half.

Banana Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2 1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup & 2tbsp. buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 (12 tbsp) butter, room temperature.
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas)
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a standard cupcake pan with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.   Set aside.  In bowl attached to a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy (2 minutes or so).

Reduce speed down to medium low and add one egg at a time.  Scrape down the sides as needed.  Reduce speed down to low, and begin alternately adding dry ingredients and buttermilk.  Make sure that you are beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix only until batter is incorporated.   Divide batter into prepared cupcake liners–taking care to fill them only 2/3 to 3/4 the way up.  Bake until toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean–anywhere from 17-22 minutes.

Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from Annie’s Eats

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 1/2- 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar (adjusted for your own taste)

In a bowl of the electric mixer with a paddle attachment, mix everything with only 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar.  Once evenly mixed, give frosting a taste to see if it’s sweet enough for your taste.  I personally never use the amount of confectioners’ sugar specified in a recipe, so I always caution others to do the same.  I generally use close to 1 1/2 cups of sugar, but I know certain people prefer their cream cheese based frostings a tad more sweet.

Once you’ve reached desired sweetness, chill frosting for 10-20 minutes.  This will help you with the application.