Juanita’s cupcakes: Banana, Chocolate and Peanut Butter

juanita-cupcakes I was worried that my daughter would grow up too Italian, that she wouldn’t fully understand or experience her mother’s culture, and that her childhood memories would be unfairly dominated by her father’s homeland. Her discovery and immediate love of peanut butter on our recent trip to Texas, however, immediately put my fears to rest. She is truly her mother’s daughter. She loves the spread so much, that “Peanuh Buttuh” has become synonymous with hunger: she mentions it several times a day in a hopeful, pleading tone, looking up at me with eyes so big I’d be willing to give her a bath in the stuff. She turned two this weekend and I could’t resist making a batch of cupcakes that included her favorite ingredients: banana, chocolate, and (of course) peanut butter. The adults at her birthday party liked these as much as the kids, and the cupcakes had all disappeared before I got a chance to take a decent photo. Juanita, however, was not impressed. She skeptically tasted the icing but found it too sweet or too creamy or too something. She shook her head disapprovingly, looked up at me with puppy-dog eyes and asked politely instead for “peanuh buttuh.”



  • 1 1/4 cups (160 g) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 very ripe large bananas, peeled
  • 1/2 cup (130 g) buttermilk (or substitute: 1/4 cup milk mixed with 1/4 cup yogurt and a teaspoon of lemon juice)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk


  • 1/2 cup (60 g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup (230 g) heavy cream, cold
  • 1 8-ounce package (225 g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp (100 g) smooth peanut butter
  • Chocolate flakes for decorating (optional)
For 12 cupcakes

For cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend; set aside. Mash bananas with fork in another medium bowl until smooth. Mix buttermilk (or substitute) and vanilla into bananas; set aside.

Beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk and beat until well blended.

Add one third of the flour mixture and mix until just blended. Add half of the banana-buttermilk mixture and beat until barely blended. Continue to alternate the flour mixture and banana mixture, beating just until blended after each addition.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center of each comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack and let cool completely.

For frosting:

Whip the heavy cream with half of the powdered sugar until it holds stiff peaks; set aside. Beat together the cream cheese, peanut butter and the other half of the powdered sugar until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped cream and mix carefully until smooth. Decorate the cupcakes with the frosting and chocolate flakes if desired.

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