Soft and light, Oh-SO moist, spiced (with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves), studded with raisins and then topped with a sweet, buttery apricot frosting, these Spiced Banana Cupcakes with Apricot Frosting taste irresistible and just like hot cross buns! THIS is what you need on your Easter dessert menu. Easy to make, plus they are such a great crowd pleaser! And learn how to pipe those adorable Ruffle Flowers too! (RECIPE + VIDEO)
Every now and then as I browse through my recipe archive I will realize something that makes me stop and wonder. Like this one time when I realized that I had never shared a scone recipe on my blog before that, and then went about fixing that problem with these beautiful Coffee, Bacon and Date Scones. Most recently, I was surprised to find out that I had not ONCE shared a cupcake recipe on this blog before. Gah! I mean I only make a batch of cupcakes every other week, so how is it that not one of those bad boys made its way to The Flavor Bender? Unacceptable! Well, let’s take care of that today shall we?
And there’s no better time for a cupcake than Easter (other than Christmas and New Year at least), a time of the year when my baking hat hardly ever leaves my head. And this recipe is a doozy and I KNOW you guys are going to absolutely LOVE it! Spiced Banana Cupcakes with Apricot Frosting! Soft and light, Oh-SO moist, spiced and studded with raisins and then topped with a sweet, buttery apricot frosting, these spiced banana cupcakes taste almost illegal. Or they should be, because these are downright addictive. And what’s even better is that I made sure these had ALL the flavour of (buttered) Hot Cross Buns too! 🙂
I love baking with bananas. We all know that mushy, squidgy overripe bananas are one of life’s constants. They sneak up on you in the dark of night and the bustle of busy week days. So instead of fighting them, I have joined forces with them. Now I buy ripe bananas and over ripen them on purpose JUST so that I can make delicious banana bread or spiced banana cupcakes like these.
Back when I used to work in my Audiology clinic in Australia, there used to be a bakery downstairs in the building that always had the most amazing hot cross buns (which are really popular around Easter in that part of the world). I loved their chocolate and chocolate chip hot cross buns and I used to buy from them so much that I used to get a whole package of them for free from the lovely people there every now and then! 🙂 But at the end of the day, nothing beats a classic spiced, raisin studded hot cross bun with a glistening apricot glaze, and slathered with some creamy butter! And that’s exactly what we have here today. The cupcake version of it at least.
So if you want to skip the Easter bread baking custom this year, then these spiced banana cupcakes are what you need to try! They are so easy to make, and oh boy, you’re gonna love ’em!
I have adapted the banana cupcake recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I made a few changes to make it fit my preferences. First, I like to mix butter and oil (instead of using only butter for the cupcake batter), as it makes the cupcakes incredibly moist while still retaining the flavour of butter. I reduced the amount of sugar as well and there’s extra spices (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves) in there too to make these taste even more like hot cross buns. Plus they impart such a wonderful warmth too. The overripe bananas add such a wonderful depth of flavour, bordering on boozy almost. If you like banana bread and banana muffins, you will love these even more. These are softer, lighter and irresistibly moist.
Plus I’m using a different frosting altogether. This is not a buttercream frosting, although you’re more than welcome to try it if that’s what you like. My frosting is a white chocolate ganache whipped with butter and apricot jam, which actually isn’t as sweet as you might think. Instead it’s more fruity, buttery and fudgy. It’s so much better than your average buttercream frosting and gave me that flavour combo of classic buttered and glazed hot cross buns.
Those little royal icing flowers are easy to pipe too. I used a small petal piping tip (Wilton #102), and simply did a layered wiggle for each flower petal. Check out the video below to see exactly how I did it. Really easy and they make a lovely decoration too. 🙂
Spiced Banana Cupcakes with Apricot Frosting (Hot Cross Bun Cupcakes)
Cupcakes (adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 3.5 oz / 100g packed light or dark brown sugar
- 3.5 oz / 100g granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 325 g / 11.5 oz 1½ cups mashed banana - about 3 large very ripe bananas
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8.8 oz / 250g AP flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cloves
- 5 oz / 140g 1 cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup milk or buttermilk
- 20 oz white chocolate
- 9 oz apricot jam I used jam because fresh apricots aren’t always in season and jam is easier to find
- 6 - 8 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 1/3 cup cold whipping cream
- 3 heaping tbsp apricot jam
- About 1 - 2 tsp water
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Prepare two, 12 cup muffin pans with cupcake liners (only 22). Set aside until cupcake batter is ready
- Peel the over-ripe bananas and completely mash them. Measure out 11.5 oz of the mashed banana (about 1 ½ cups) and set aside.
- Add the butter, oil, sugars into a bowl and using a hand held mixer, mix the ingredients until they have been creamed.
- Add the eggs, one at a time - mixing well between each addition, and mix them through the batter. Add the mashed banana and vanilla and mix those through as well, using the mixer.
- Place the sifted flour, spices, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk till well-combined.
- Add ⅓ of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold through. Add the milk and mix through. Add another ⅓ of the dry ingredients and fold through. If the mix is REALLY thick, add a little more milk.
- Add the raisins to the remaining flour and mix. Add this raisins and flour mix and fold through.
- Scoop the batter onto the cupcake liners evenly, until they are about ⅔ of the way full, and fill all 22 cupcake liners. I used an mini cookie scoop to help me distribute the batter evenly.
- Bake for about 15 -17 minutes until the cupcakes are done (a dry toothpick inserted should come out clean, and the top of the cupcakes will be springy to the touch at this point).
- Remove from the oven and let them cool.
- Place the chocolate chips and jam in a microwave-proof bowl and heat in 20 second bursts until the chocolate has melted. Add half of the butter and a pinch of salt and mix it in to create a smooth chocolate ganache. Let it cool.
- When the chocolate ganache is cool, but not hard, whisk it using a hand-held beater to whip the frosting. Add the softened butter and whipping cream and whip until it's completely incorporated and light.
- Set aside for a few minutes, till the chocolate thickens so that it's pipeable.
- Take one piping bag and insert a 2A swirl tip. Place the frosting in another piping bag. Snip the end off of the frosting filled bag (when ready to decorate cupcakes), and insert it into the piping bag with the tip.
- Pipe a rosette swirl on each cupcake and drizzle some apricot glaze on top.
- Optional - Pipe some pastel coloured flowers (see video!).
- Place the apricot jam and water in a small bowl and heat for a few seconds just to loosen the jam. Make sure it's not hot and then drizzle it on the cupcakes. Enjoy!
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