Sometimes I could truly kick myself for having a recipe saved for so long before finally trying it.  This one had been sitting waiting patiently for a year and a half.  At least for me, it’s easy for banana caramel to be overlooked in favor of something uber chocolatey or maybe something involving cheesecake – but I will not make that mistake again.  These cupcakes are truly divine.  The banana flavor in the cake and the caramel in the frosting are both prominent and compliment each other perfectly.  I am normally not one to play around with baking recipes for fear of a batter that will never solidify or be far too dry, but I did make some alterations to this and they ended up working out really well.  As an added bonus, any recipe that leaves me with a leftover squeeze-bottle full of homemade caramel sauce – well, that’s a winner.

I’m not going to lie – the frosting takes a looong time to make.  It took quite a while for the egg-sugar mixture to reach the desired temperature.  (Next time I’ll be absolutely sure my eggs are at room temperature – I may have skipped that step.)  Not only that, but as you add the butter, it seems like it is never going to come together and you think you just wasted all that time.  But then, you add the last couple pieces and some magical state is reached that transforms it into a nice, thick buttercream.  Finally you mix in the caramel and the texture becomes silky smooth and the flavor the caramel contributes takes this to a whole new level.  It may have been an ordeal to make, but I think it was completely worth the effort.  This may be my new favorite frosting.  Stay tuned next week to see what I did with my leftover caramel (it’s gooood!)

Bananas about bananas?  Check out some other yummy banana treats:
Banana Cream Pie
Banana Biscotti
Roasted Banana Ice Cream
Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Banana Crumb Muffins


For the cupcakes:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe banana

For the caramel:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup packed light brown sugar

For the frosting:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1 tbsp. pieces, at room temperature


  • 01

    To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt; whisk together and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Reduce the mixer speed to medium low and add in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Mix in the mashed banana until well combined.  With the mixer on low speed alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing only until just incorporated.

  • 02

    Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 to ¾ full.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes.  Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 03

    To make the caramel sauce, combine the butter, heavy cream and brown sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  Once it reaches a boil, lower the heat to medium and continue to boil until the mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

  • 04

    To make the frosting, combine the egg whites and sugar in a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat the mixture, whisking very frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved and reaches 160° F on an instant read thermometer.  Transfer the mixture to the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture holds stiff peaks.  Reduce the speed to medium low, add in the salt and begin adding the butter one piece at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in ½ cup of the cooled caramel sauce until well blended.

  • 05

    Frost the cooled cupcakes with the caramel buttercream, and drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce.  (If the caramel has cooled too much to be easily drizzled, heat for 10 seconds in the microwave and stir well to thin it a bit.)


  • Two fantastic flavors in one cupcake… delicious!

  • Thank goodness you finally got around to making these cupcakes, since I SWOON over anything with caramel :-D

  • mmm these look so so good!! And Swiss Meringue Buttercream is my absolute favorite – LOVE it!!!

  • Oh, yeah! Love, love, love banana and caramel together.

  • Tom

    Looks absolutely delicious. I never thought to drizzle butterscotch or anything over top of frosting. This is a recipe I’m destined to try. Thanks.

  • I was eating a banana as I read your post and thinking hmmmm, I have bananas left! Looks like a great recipe and I love the caramel drizzle over the frosting. Yum!

  • goodness gracious, that looks delicious!

  • These look so delicious! I’ve never made homemade caramel before but I’d love to try it!

  • They look so awesome!

  • Caramel is a favorite and this looks like a perfect combo. Beautiful photo too!

  • Wow … my hubbs was just requested banana cupcakes the other day … u’ve answered my prayers! And pairing it with a caramel buttercream .. *gasp* .. so naughty ;)

  • Jill

    Long-time reader, first-time commenter here: I made Swiss Meringue Buttercream for the first time last weekend, and I was so perplexed (and vexed!) when it was all curdled and wet and strange-looking. I’m glad to read that it’s normal! Eventually it did all come together, and man, it was delicious. I’ll bet it’s perfect on these cupcakes — I can’t wait to try ’em!

  • Beautiful cupcakes! I have read numerous comments by others who have made the “true” buttercream that it takes awhile to come together. I’ve never tried it, but your post is very persuasive. ;)

  • They look delicious and lovely photos too. Love how the caramel is drizzled over the top

  • Trish

    I love you site, it’s always a reliable go to whenever I’m stumped. I love your piping, what tip did you use?

  • Shanon


    You are just too awesome, do you know that?

  • These look sooooo yummy !

  • Wow wow WOW! These look heavenly!

  • These sound fantastic. I love both caramel and bananas together. Going to save this and try this on a rainy day.

  • Mmmmmm! Sounds yummy! I am a big fan of anything banana. My favorite are my grandma’s banana chocolate chip cookies (frozen are best)! But the caramel aspect of these sounds super tempting! :)

  • nutmegnanny

    Mmmmm looks delicious! I made a banana cake with caramel whipped cream that sounds similar to this…yum!

  • Your pictures are always so professional! And of course it just makes everything look 10 x tastier :-)

  • Kelly

    I just made these. Outrageous!!!

  • Deirdre

    just curious what you use to pipe your icing on – it always look fabulous! is it just a regular piping bag? thanks for all of your recipes & ideas!

  • snooky doodle

    oh these surely look delicious! yummy

  • Annie

    Hi Deirdre,
    So sorry for the very delayed reply. The info on my cupcake frosting tips can be found here.
    :) Annie

  • Annie

    Hi Trish,
    Sorry for such a delayed response. The info on my cupcake frosting tips can be found here.
    :) Annie

  • Annie

    If you read the above comments, you see at least one other person did make them with success. I have made this recipe multiple times directly from my blog without issue. So, no typo – sounds like user error. Who knows what went wrong on your end. 6 eggs is not a lot, since as I mentioned this makes over 3 dozen cupcakes.

  • In France we would say “quelle tuerie !” (= stunning) !

  • Jen

    Annie – just wanted to let you know that I just made these cupcakes and they are awesome! I changed up the frosting recipe since I’m afraid of SMBC at the moment but the cake is so moist and delicious. Thanks for such great recipes!

  • Annie

    Glad you enjoyed them! Don’t forget, SMBC is actually supposed to curdle before it comes back together. You just have to keep beating. Sometimes it takes a long time, but it’s totally worth it!

  • Sherly

    i tried this!
    awesome cupcakes! but i failed with the frosting it just did´t stiff and i gave up, next time i’ll be more patient because it looks very good

  • Joelle

    FABULOUS!!!! I have been looking for a banana cake recipe that wasn’t dense like bread…this was it. It was cake; light & fluffy. I substituted sifted cake flour & decreased sugar to 1 cup since bananas provide plenty of sweetness. It was perfect. Cake & icing complimented each other well. I recently attempted a meringue based buttercream with no success. Followed your instructions exactly and it was spot on perfect! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!!

  • Aimee

    Thank you for your endless inspiration, fabulous recipes, and beautiful photos! I do have a question about the caramel. Did you drizzle it on with a spoon or use a squeeze bottle? Thank you in advance!

  • Annie

    Aimee, I drizzle it with a squeeze bottle. However, let me warn you that I’ve made this sauce a few times since the original post and I have found it to be inconsistent. I know a lot of others have had trouble with it too. So my suggestion is to find a different recipe for the caramel sauce. Finding a new one to update that recipe is on my short list of things to do.

  • camilla

    i’m interested in making the cupcakes as a cake, what would you recommend for the baking time?

  • Annie

    It depends on the size/shape of cake pan. For 9-inch round cakes, I usually use 30 minutes as a starting point but ultimately you need to use the toothpick test to determine doneness.

  • Summer

    I made these last night and the frosting just didn’t seem to come together right. This was my first time making cupcakes or frosting from scratch. I mentioned it to a friend of mine and she asked if I used regular sugar or powdered sugar. I used regular as this receipe doesn’t state otherwise. So my question is.. Which is it?

  • Annie

    Please read the FAQ page regarding Swiss meringue buttercream. Regular sugar is correct. I definitely would not recommend Swiss meringue buttercream for a beginning baker.

  • AEC

    Hi Annie,

    I was just getting ready to give this recipe a try and was wondering if the caramel sauce that’s currently listed is the new or old recipe? Wasn’t sure if I should try and find a different one or not! Thanks :)

    – Annie

  • Annie

    Oh, I’m glad you checked! The one listed on this page is still the old one. Instead I would recommend the one I posted today with the banana caramel whoopie pies. You might want to make extra though, if you make the full batch of cupcakes, so there is plenty left over for drizzling. As it is written for the whoopie pies, there is just a small amount left over after making the frosting. I hope that helps!

  • AEC

    Perfect, thanks for letting me know!

  • Liv

    I’m thinking about making either this cupcake or the Hummingbird cupcake for my kid’s baptism. Can they freeze well? How many days in advance can I do so? A week is okay or is too long? I’ve read other posts where you or someone else comment they freeze well. Is that with any cupcake? Or it depends on the ingredients? Thus I won’t be bothering you with this kind of questions! :-)

    Also, what caddy cupcake do you have?

  • Annie

    I haven’t frozen any cupcake myself so I can’t really comment on that. I know in theory you can freeze anything but as for the quality after freezing, I have no comment on that. Good luck!

  • Wow! This looks incredible! Question: I’ve recently gotten into making cake balls for fund raisers. I’d love to make a dark chocolate salted caramel cake ball (to mimic..somewhat..salted dark chocolate caramel candies). If I were to make your cupcake recipe in a cake pan(s), but wanted to eliminate the banana…what could I use in place of it? I know it’s a weird question…but the banana wouldn’t go well with my current image of what I want (although, I bet it would be extremely good dipped in dark chocolate…so I might try it anyway). The caramel buttercream is exactly what I’ve been searching for. I guess I could use just a regular vanilla cake mix and experiment! Thank you, I’m bookmarking your blog…I’ll be back to try out more recipes!

  • Annie

    I would just look for a different cake recipe.

  • Patricia Welch

    Annie please forgive me if You’ve already answered this question. I’m going to bake these cupcakes, right now, but I’m a little confused. The recipe calls for 1 1/3 cups mashed ripe banana. In the directions it’s stated to “Mix in 1 the mashed banana until well combined.” Does that mean I’ll have 1/3 cup of banana left over, for another step?
    I’m dyslexic & not sure if I’m reading correctly, please forgive me for asking.
    Thank You!

  • Annie

    Sorry, that was a typo. Add all the banana at once.

  • Holy nuts, I just made this frosting and it’s INCREDIBLE!!! p.s. if anyone doesn’t have a themometer, the way I learned to do swiss buttercream in school is to just put a glove on and stir the egg whites and sugar by hand. When it’s too hot for your hand, it’s ready to go into the bowl! Works every time.

  • Annie

    Definitely true. I just prefer to get it up to 160˚ for the sake of safety from a bacterial standpoint.

  • Kaitlin

    Just made these and they look great! Would you store extra caramel at room temperature or refrigerated?

  • Annie

    Usually I store it refrigerated and then warm it up a bit before using.

  • Irene

    Hi Annie,
    First I would like to say, thank you for having such an amazing blog! You truly have a talent! This frosting scares me. Do you think I could use a vanilla buttercream frosting, and still add the half cup of caramel to the frosting?
    Thank you,

  • Annie

    Don’t be scared! Just give it a try. I can’t say how adding the caramel would work with another buttercream because a) I haven’t tried it myself and b) it would depend on the recipe you chose. Good luck!

  • June Hunter

    So yummy. I have to admit that I made the cupcakes, but then I used the frosting recipe from the Cookies n Cream cupcakes and the caramel sauce from the Snickers cupcakes. I made the Cookies n Cream and Snickers two weeks ago and loved them as well. Thanks so much for posting such great recipes.

  • susan krause

    Hi Annie….I just took the banana cupcakes out of the oven….would you say these cupcakes don’t necessarily rise as much as most? I was careful not to overfill, because I hate when the cake makes an ugly muffin top…and a lot of my cupcakes barely rose to the top of the cupcake liner. Just making sure I did not do something wrong….. Thanks!

  • Annie

    Yes, these cupcakes are definitely flat on top as opposed to the dome that many have. Don’t worry though, they will still taste great! Enjoy!

  • susan krause

    Thanks for responding! One more question: everything was going great with the swiss buttercream..but when I added the caramel sauce, the icing thinned out too much… I beat it for a lot longer, but still felt like it was too runny to work with. My sauce was a nice thick consistency when I added it…. I finally added a little powdered sugar and just refrigerated it until it was firm enough to squeeze thru my decorator tip. Has this ever happened to you? Maybe it wasn’t thick enough when I added the caramel….but I thought it looked good!

    I love your blog….I can’t wait to sit down at night and browse thru your recipes and pictures! :)

  • Annie

    It’s hard to say since I wasn’t there with you. My guess is that it wasn’t quite at the right stage before the caramel was added. If it is, there should be no doubt.

  • Heather S.

    Do you still use the caramel recipe linked or do you use the newer vanilla bean caramel sauce recipe?

  • Courtney Pulley

    Hi Annie! I am sorry if you have already gotten this question…Do you know how many cups the caramel recipe makes?? Thank you!

  • Annie

    I sure don’t, sorry!

  • Heidilynn

    So have a silly question:) I have been following and baking your recipes for awhile and always use your banana cupcake recipe as my “go to” recipe..I recently was surfing the web and saw another blog I love that has a banana recipe that uses only 2 eggs instead of the 6 you use and most the other ingredients in that recipe were close to yours..Now I am not wanting to stray from yours as it is tried and true! Just curious why the 6 eggs ..seeking your expert knowledge..thought to myself maybe using less makes it more like banana bread instead of the wonderfully moist cupcake I get from your recipe..again just curious:)

  • Anonymous

    Hi Heidi,
    Since I did not develop the banana cupcake recipe myself (it is from a magazine), I don’t know the rationale behind the number of eggs included. All I know is that I like that version and I continue to use it :)

  • Mliehmann3

    Hi Annie, these cupcakes are phenomenal! I’ve tried a couple different ones from you and these have, by far, turned out the best. I used a different buttercream recipe, but I think it probably had the same flavour. I brought them to work and everybody raved about them! Thanks so much, your blog is so inspiring and creative!!

  • Katrina Skinner

    Hi, Annie. I just made these cupcakes (for the umpteenth). I thought I would let you know the recipe as given makes exactly 33 cupcakes in case you want to update yield. My grandmother would haunt my nightmares if I ever poured batter down the drain so I had to partially fill one of my pans up for a second batch.

  • Jen

    Hi, Annie!

    I just finished making these cupcakes, and they are phenomenal! I am always hesitant to make cupcakes with banana for fear they’ll turn out dense and bread-like. These were moist, fluffy, and very cake-like! I did use my own buttercream and caramel recipe, but followed your suggestion to add 1/2 cup of caramel to the frosting, and it worked perfectly. I also added a caramel centre to my cupcakes. They are SO good – definitely on my list of cupcakes to make again! Thanks so much for providing an excellent recipe!

  • Jubisanchez

    hi annie,

    i baked this yesterday and i didnt know what went wrong, but the cupcake looked underbaked in it>.< do you think putting too much mashed bananas in the batter than what the recipe calls for caused the problem? other than that this was a great cupcake recipe…:)

  • annieseats

    Yes, if you added more bananas than the recipe called for you probably affected the dry/liquid ingredient ratio, which could cause sinking and textural issues.

  • Jubisanchez

    here’s the link to a photo of what i am saying annie, the cupcakes looked baked on top but the inner portion shows they arent baked yet. i hope you can help me with this, thank you

  • annieseats

    The photo is super blurry so it’s hard to tell, but I think they are probably under baked. You probably need to bake them longer.

  • Jrgrondahl

    I made these last night for Kindergarten Graduation. They were delicious and they disappeared from the dessert table fast! Mine made about 34 cupcakes. The buttercream frosting was delicious but it didn’t hold up as well as yours in the picture. It looked kind of , I don’t know…flat or too soft. Do you think I should refrigerate it before I pipe it on the cupcakes?

    Jubisanchez have you checked your oven temperature? What you’re describing used to happen to me. I put a thermometer in my oven and discovered it cooks at about 25 degrees hotter than what I set it for so now I compensate accordingly with no more problems.

  • annieseats

    I think it didn’t reach that magical SMBC state. You probably needed to keep beating it. See the FAQ page for more advice on that. Glad you enjoyed them anyway!

  • Jkamari

    Just made these….. DIVINE!!!! Thank you.

  • Ashley Greeno

    I made a gluten free/vegan version of these and they were fabulous! Thank you for the inspiration :)

  • greenspade

    just made these…this is another winning recipe, annie! the buttercream came together beautifully (patience is the key) and exceeded all expectations once the caramel was added. the cake was moist and dense with just the perfect amount of banana flavor. i’m anticipating rave reviews about this creation from my friends tonight. mahalo, annie!