Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Right now, my garden is aflame with a brilliant butterfly weed, orange-smoothie hibiscus flowers with hearts of blood, pink and white echinacea blooms, pink and yellow dahlias, snow-white daisies and yellow daisies, lavender clematis and delicately hued hollyhocks, to name just a few.
Butterfly Weed
Desi and I bought our fixer-upper home during the hot housing market of 2005. In other words, we paid too much for a house that needed more work than our wallets could handle. But we fell in love with the 1925 Sears Home– a charmer with its historic trim and spacious rooms. We thought our three dogs would love the large (for the Washington-area) backyard shaded by a towering Holly and a beautiful Oak.

Over the years, we have worked to make it our home. For the first few years, weekends were taken over by “house” work– Desi spent hours on a ladder steaming the walls and scraping painted-off wallpaper from every single room. I learned all about staining wood floors and spackling and sealing superficial cracks in the ancient but still beautiful plaster. Both of us became such quick painters that we joked about starting a business. 
Hibiscus flower
Our old house is certainly a money pit. We have spent nearly extra penny we had hiring people to do the work we couldn’t do– repair the broken-down chimney, waterproof the basement, replace the nearly century-old water pipes and a kitchen that was as old as the house itself, add a fence to keep our rambunctious doggies in, among many, many other projects.
With all of our attention focused on the house, the yard suffered. When we bought the house it had been a nice enough yard, with a neat lawn and a few flowering plants, mostly hostas and day lilies. Under attack from three dogs, it soon began to show signs of wear and tear. So this year, although our house project is far from complete, I’ve decided to take the yard in hand. As anyone who knows anything about gardening knows, that’s a lofty project for the best of yards, and especially for one in the shape that ours is.
Tiger Lilies
Let me backtrack here, though. I haven’t neglected everything (just the lawn and the edging and the weeding and…okay, let’s not make a list). But I have been planting some perennials assiduously each year and now, year after year, they have been returning and rewarding us with some beautiful color. We have also planted flowering trees and bushes over the ashes of our three beloved pets because, honestly, we didn’t know what else to do with them and I didn’t want the ashes in the home– it just seemed so…morbid.
We shared our brilliant idea with the guy at the nursery who assured us that the ashes would do the plants a world of good. So Freddie’s now a brilliant-red crepe myrtle who is about to flower for his third year, Pubm’s a delicately beautiful rhododendron who bursts into lavender blooms with deep-purple centers every spring, and Lucy’s a stunning pink rose.
They still make me happy when I look out the window and see them smiling in the sun.
I had a couple of overripe bananas hanging out in the kitchen and I put them to good use with these delicious Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting.
This is a very easy cupcake to make and you likely already have all the ingredients you will need sitting around. The two bananas in the recipe give it just the right hint of banana flavor, although if you want a more intense experience try adding three bananas and reducing the liquid in the recipe.
The peanut butter frosting is mindblowingly good, and it pairs rather naturally and beautifully with the bananas. I added some coconut oil to both the cupcakes and the frosting which made these cupcakes even more amazing, if that was possible, and kept the frosting really smooth.
Try ‘em. You’re gonna love it!
Vegan Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
Banana Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Sift all the ingredients into a large bowl and set aside.
Mix in another bowl:
1 cup of mashed, very ripe bananas (2 large bananas. If you want an intense banana flavor, use 1 1/2 cups of banana puree– about 3 large bananas– and reduce the amount of nondairy milk to 1/2 cup)
1 cup nondairy milk, like almond or soy
1/3 cup coconut oil
2/3rd cup sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pour the well-mixed ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter. Do not overmix.
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. Divide the batter equally between the cups. Smooth down the tops and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Remove the cupcakes to a rack, let them cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then unmold and let them cool completely on the rack. These cupcakes are gorgeously golden.
Vegan Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting
1 cup smooth peanut butter
8 tbsp vegan butter, like Earth Balance
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 cups powdered sugar
Cream together the peanut butter, vegan butter, and coconut oil until they are smooth and fluffy, about two minutes.
Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix well after each addition. If the frosting is too stiff, you can add a little more coconut oil.
Frost the cupcakes once they have cooled completely.

These cupcakes are off to the Let’s Cook With Nuts event. Thanks for the heads-up, Nayna.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Mango Cupcakes With Mango Buttercream Frosting

Mango CupcakesAs Thanksgiving approaches, I know all of you — vegan or not– are looking for great options to the same-old-same-old pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie or whatever tired old orange-colored dessert it is that typically graces your Thanksgiving table.Well, I have one for you and every word of it is like a fresh, sweet, tropical kiss: vegan Mango Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream Frosting.Mmmm…As you already know, I love my cupcakes. After all, how can anyone not love portion-controlled indulgence? And yes, I’ll admit, these are indulgent, and rich, although probably nowhere near as rich as a non-vegan version could be. Besides, all of us need a little indulgence every now and then, don’t we? And what can be more comforting than a soft, fluffy cupcake covered with mounds of soft, fluffy frosting.I use canned mango puree in these cupcakes. Try to use the puree of Alphonso mangoes (which is available in Indian stores) because this is by far the richest and most full-bodied and sweetest mango you’ll ever taste. Hands down.The buttercream is made with vegan butter (like Earth Balance) and shortening with a dash of mango puree and trust me, one bite of this and you will feel like you’ve just died and gone to heaven. It’s a beautiful, versatile icing and one that you can use to frost all kinds of cakes.

Time to go, but here are the recipes. Enjoy, all!
Mango Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream Frosting

Vegan Mango Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • 1½ cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp CardamomPowder
  • Sift all the ingredients into a bowl and set aside.
  • In another bowl, beat together until well-mixed:
  • 1½ cups Mango Pulp or Puree
  • ⅓ cup Canola Oil
  • ⅔ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk just until you have a smooth batter. Do not overmix or overbeat.
  3. Divide the batter equally among 12 cups of a standard-sized muffin pan lined with cupcake liners. Smooth down the tops with the back of a spoon or spatula or you will have a lumpy top (it’ll still taste delicious, though :) )
  4. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven about 27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Frosting recipe follows.

Mango buttercream frosting, vegan

Vegan Mango Buttercream Frosting
Prep time
Total time
A smooth and creamy mango buttercream frosting
Recipe type: Cake frosting
Serves: Frosting for 12 cupcakes
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) Vegan Butter like Earth Balance
  • 8 tbsp Vegetable Shortening
  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar (I’ve seen recipes that use more than 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar for the same amount of butter and shortening and if you like a really sweet frosting, you might try adding more. But 2 cups, I found, was just perfect).
  • ¼ cup Mango Pulp or Puree
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  1. Cream together the butter and shortening until they are fluffy, about 1 minute.
  2. Now add the mango puree and vanilla and half the sugar. Beat until mixed, then add the remaining sugar and beat until mixed. This should take no more than 2 minutes altogether.
  3. Frost the cupcakes after they’ve cooled completely.

Craving more mango? Try my Mango Cheesecake, my Mango Bread and my Mango Lassi.
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Vegan Carrot Cake

Vegan Carrot Cake
You might have noticed that I haven’t posted many cake recipes on my blog, save a few cupcakes and a pumpkin cheescake I made over Thanksgiving.Well, the reason’s not because I don’t like cakes: I do, in fact a little too much. There was a time years ago, when I was still in grad school and my favorite show on public television was one where Debbi Fields, the woman who owns Mrs. Fields’ Cookies, would bake all sorts of yummy cakes and other goodies.At the time I was new to the United States and also a new baker. And the cakes I’d had in India (always store-bought) were usually white slabs with thick, hard, sugary icing on top in all kinds of psychedelic colors that tasted very sweet but nothing else. In fact, even in the mid ’90s, when I left Bombay, the only passably decent cake one could buy was a heart-shaped chocolate cake at a store named Croissants opposite Churchgate station. Of course, things have changed dramatically since and now the easier availability of ingredients, equipment and know-how means even home bakers can turn out amazing great baked goods.So fascinated was I with baking when I first moved here that on the days when I didn’t have any classes I’d get up in the morning all excited about the idea of plonking myself in front of the television and learning something new from Debbie Fields that I could then replicate in my kitchen.Many cakes and several inches on both our waistlines later, Desi told me it was time I got rid of my addiction to cake-baking. Now although I try not to listen to anything he tells me to do, it was I that had the lion’s share of the extra inches. So I tried to cut down my cake-making by quite a bit, limiting myself mostly to cupcakes where it is easier to control portion size.Of course, if there was any potential to include a healthy ingredient in the cake, the baking gloves would go right back on. As with banana nut bread, or pumpkin bread. And, of course, carrot cake.With an unbelievably moist texture, that rich-sweet carrot flavor and topped with a cream-cheese icing, the mighty carrot cake is easy to love. And the fact that it has plenty of carrots in it makes it an easy sell to even conscientious dieters.

I make my carrot cake even healthier by using in it only unrefined ingredients: whole-wheat pastry flour and turbinado sugar. Then there are the carrots, the walnuts and the applesauce: yummy goodness all around.

The cherries on top of the cake have nothing to do, by the way, with what’s in it. I just needed some color on the cake, and they were around, so on they went in the interests of making a pretty picture.

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy, everyone!

Vegan Carrot Cake

Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A moist and delicious whole wheat carrot cake that's completely vegan and even healthy, with a delicious cream cheese frosting
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • For Carrot Cake:
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 cups turbinado sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted, then coarsely chopped.
  • For Cream Cheese Frosting:
  1. To make cake, sift the whole wheat pastry flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into a bowl.
  2. In another bowl mix the canola oil, applesauce, grated carrots, and vanilla.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the oil-applesauce carrot mixture and stir everything to blend evenly.
  4. Add walnuts and mix.
  5. Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper, if posibble because this makes it far easier to unmold the cake. Oil the parchment paper as well.
  6. Now divide the batter evenly between the two pans
  7. and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Place the cake pans on a rack for 15 minutes. Then unmold the cakes gently and allow them to cool thoroughly on the rack. Frost when completely cooled.
  9. To make frosting, beat together all of the frosting ingredients in a bowl until very smooth.
  10. To frost, place one of the cooled cakes on a cake stand or plate. Smear the top with some frosting.
  11. Carefully place the other cake on top of the first one. Cover the cake with the remaining icing using a spatula.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.