Cupcakes are much more interesting than cake, in my opinion. I know cupcakes are meant to be indulgent, but I wanted to attempt a slightly more nutritious version. At first, I wasn’t going to make them healthier, but the better half of me couldn’t resist – plus, I saw it as a challenge. I found a great looking recipe for Peanut Butter-Banana Cupcakes at Visions of Sugar Plum. The frosting magically came together on the first try. All in all, I consider these “adult” cupcakes. First reason being that I meant to add amaretto to the batter, but forgot. Second reason is that they are not overly sweet, you can actually taste the cake and the frosting separately. Most cupcakes use the cake as a platform for a monster glob of frosting. These cupcakes are a little more refined and quite a bit healthier.



1/2+1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon Smart Balance
6T firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate, 70% or higher (optional)
2T amaretto (optional)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (1 large)
1/4 cup + 2T skim milk


3/4 cup nonfat cream cheese
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
6-8T confectioner’s sugar


1. Make the frosting by whipping the cream cheese and peanut butter together until very creamy. You can use an electric mixer to add fluffiness, but I used a fork. Add the sugar and mix well. Taste frosting and add extra sugar if desired. Place in the refrigerator, covered.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift or whisk together the first four ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. Using a mixer, cream the butter, sugar and peanut butter in a large bowl until well mixed. Add the eggs, vanilla, amaretto, chocolate and mashed banana and beat for another minute. Gradually add the flour mixture and milk. Mix well.

3. Divide batter evenly into 6 muffin cups lined with muffin papers. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

4. Remove muffins from the pan after about 10 minutes and let cool completely before icing. We had a decorative icing kit, but you can use a knife or a plastic bag with a small hole cut in the corner to pipe it on.

Additional Info:

The cupcakes were good. The flavors were right on but the cake was a tiny bit chewy. I only had a very small banana which may have been the problem, so I suggest a large banana. but the chewiness wasn’t bad and actually provided a neat texture. Next time I may add a bit of applesauce, and also add some chopped walnuts to the batter for some crunch.

One of the cupcakes below is different, can you tell which one? I chopped up some organic 70% chocolate and mixed the chocolate into the batter for that one cupcake. A combination of banana, peanut butter, cream cheese and chocolate? That reminds me of something…

Filed in Bakery, Dessert, PBE, Peanut Butter, Vegetarian

27 Responses / Leave a comment »

  1. Sagan Morrow says:

    Those look delicious! I’m definitely going to have to give them a try. Yum:)

    Also I thought that fully hydrogenated oil and partially hydrogenated oil both contained trans fats. Are you sure about that?

  2. E says:

    These look great, Nick! This is sure to be the most phenomenal PBE ever. The chewy factor was probably due to the egg substitute. When engaging in vegan baking I try to use a combo of baking soda and vinegar instead of egg replacers to get the lift and volume in order to avoid the chewiness.

  3. Celine says:

    are you sure it wouldn’t work with TJ’s PB? I’ve had success working with it in the past.
    the cupcakes look absolutely stunning, by the way.

  4. VeggieGirl says:

    Nick, you’re a master at baking cupcakes – I can’t believe this was your first time!!

  5. Nicks #1 Fan says:

    cant wait to eat one of the frozen ones when I get to NY

  6. Sarah says:

    These cupcakes sound AMAZING! I love pb and cream cheese frosting, excited to taste the two together. Thank you for posting this recipe.

    I’m based in the SF Bay Area too, and I love swapping favorite eateries with people. Any faves to share?

  7. Ben says:

    Oh very interesting cupcakes. I am afraid I won’t be able to make it this time for the Great Peanut Butter exhibition. I have too much to bake and I am on a diet (yeah right). I’ll wait for the next one :D

  8. Emiline says:

    I think they look pretty darn good. I’m such a big fan of the peanut butter-banana combo.

  9. Kevin says:

    Those cupcakes look really good!

  10. Nick says:

    Sagan, I hope that you do! Funny how you just mentioned all these banana baked goods on your site, now you just have one more to try! And yes, fully hydrogenated contains 0 trans fat. You can check it out here: Fully Hydrogenated Oils.

    e, I think this PBE is gonna rock. I’m hoping for some more entries, but how can you go wrong with cakes and cupcakes? I would have used the regular egg but we didn’t have any in the house and it wasn’t worth buying a dozen for one. But baking soda and vinegar? I’ve never heard that one, I’ll have to give it a try next time, thanks!

    celine, As much as I love TJ’s PB, I don’t think the icing would have held it’s shape. I used it in the cake batter, but adding the sugar to the pb/cream cheese only made it thinner and if I had used TJ’s, it would have been way too thin by the time I got it sweet enough. Another option would be to use full-fat cream cheese or butter. Or I could be completely wrong which seems to happen often =)

    veggiegirl, Gotta say, I was extremely surprised myself! Perhaps I should go to baking school or cupcake academy or pastry university!

    My #1 fan, There’ll be one waiting…but not the chocolate one…

    sarah, They are a great ingredient combo, one that I haven’t explored until recently. As for eateries, I’ve only been around for about 9 months. I’m based in Davis which has some good restaurants, but I doubt you’d be going there =). But I go to San Fran 2-3 times per month, and my fav eateries are: Naked Fish, Lettus (very cool healthy/organic type place), Tani Sushi (get the Flying Monkey), La Méditerraneé and Firefly. I’d love to hear some of your favs!

    ben, Pppschaw to the diet, make something healthier like I did! You can still have your cupcakes and waistline too! Hmm, how about the next one be protein bars.

    Emiline, Who doesn’t?!?! Great work on the original recipe by the way! How did you find me by the way? That was fast!

  11. aforkfulofspaghetti says:

    You’ve never made cupcakes before? I don’t believe you – those look amazingly good!

  12. Amy says:

    Nick have you heard of PB2? I’m new to your blog so you may have already discovered it but it’s ammmazing–only about 3 grams of fat & 50 calories in 2 tbsp–the ingredients are just peanuts, sugar & salt and they evidently dehydrate the peanuts to reduce the fat. It comes as a dry powder and you just mix in a little water, stir, and it’s ready (I may have gone slightly overboard in my description of it but its quuite tasty)!

    Great blog by the way!

  13. Nick says:

    aforkful, I’m totally serious! Never made a cupcake before. I think they could use just a touch of improving, but not much… I was thoroughly impressed.

    amy, I actually just heard of PB2 today. I’d love to try it, although the whole reason peanut butter is so healthy is because of the fats! The fats in peanut butter are good for heart health as well as losing/maintaining weight. Look up “peanut butter diet” for an idea into how it all works. It’s not a fad diet, but peanut butter can be replaced in the diet (but who would do that?) with any other nut butter or other healthy oil like olive or expeller-pressed canola. That being said, I still want to try some of it!

  14. giz says:

    Did anybody tell you that when you make cupcakes, if there any others in the PBE#3 that have made them, then you absolutely are obliged to send at least a dozen to those said other people.

  15. Nick says:

    giz, haha no, I haven’t heard that!

  16. Simply...Gluten-free says:

    I can’t beliebe this was your first time making cupcakes – they look amazing! You’re a natural!

  17. delicious chronicles says:

    they seem quite good.. do u buy or do your penut butter.. favorite brand?

  18. Dee says:

    No prior experience? Your frosting is excellent! Mine always end up looking like, how do I put this delicately, erm… doggy doo :(

    Anyway, I’m making peanut butter and banana cupcakes today. Just for you. (And my mum, and sis, and brother, and kid, and husband).

  19. Cynthia says:

    Well if this is your first time, then please, let there be many more.

  20. glutenfreeforgood says:

    Nice — especially for a first try, Nick! Your photos are awesome, by the way. You’re right about the fully hydrogenated oil being trans-fat free. Certainly not low fat though. I think I can easily make these little gems gluten-free. Yum!

  21. Christina says:

    I just saw this post today, obviously. Your cupcakes look incredible, and I would not have believed that it was your first time baking some! The addition of amarreto sounds good.

  22. Maria says:

    They look fabulous! I love all of the flavors involved!

  23. Melissa says:

    Is this recipe gluten free?

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