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Caramel Banana Cupcakes

Banana Caramel Cupcakes

After our delicious Valentine’s day dessert of caramelized bananas, I’ve had caramel and banana on the brain. It’s such a rich and satisfying combination, one that I thought would translate perfectly into cupcakes.

However, I had a dilemma. A sugar dilemma. My fear of sugar may have delayed these delicious cupcakes longer than necessary. A few bad experiences with cooked sugar and I’m scarred for life. So no way was I going to attempt to make my own caramel for these cupcakes.

Eventually, though, I decided that there was no need to actually make caramel, when there are plenty of commercial ice cream sauces available. Simply open the jar, drizzle, and done. No cooked sugar needed. Perfect!

I also picked up a little bottle of caramel flavoring, again with the idea of avoiding cooking caramel myself. I added a few drops of the potent stuff to the batter. Nothing intense, but just enough to give the cake that much more depth of flavor.

Caramel Banana Cupcakes

My buttercream separated just a bit… I got overzealous with the softening of the butter, and once butter has been partially liquefied, well, you really can’t un-do it. I have realized, though, that I had been putting way too much sugar in my buttercream. Using a higher proportion of butter to sugar, adding more soymilk, and then whipping the heck out of it makes a much lighter, fluffier, and slightly less-sweet buttercream. I’m getting better at it, but I’ve still got a ways to go before I’ve mastered the ‘perfect’ frosting.

And psst! This cupcake recipe has been entered in the Cupcake Hero: Banana contest for the month of September (see the entries). Wish me luck! More info about Cupcake Hero.

Caramel Banana Cupcakes with Easy Caramel Buttercream

Makes 20 cupcakes.


1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups plain soymilk
2 1/8 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/8 cups sugar
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

For Frosting:
1 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons soymilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons caramel topping


Preheat the oven to 350º. Line muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.

Combined apple cider vinegar and soymilk in small bowl. Stir well and set aside (the mixture will curdle).
In a bowl, mash banana with canola oil until incorporated. Add extracts and mix well.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the curdled soymilk and banana mixtures to the dry ingredients and stir until smooth.

Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

For frosting, whip butter with electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add milk, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons caramel, and beat 3-5 minutes until thick and fluffy. Add more sugar if needed to achieve proper consistency. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Drizzle with remaining caramel and enjoy!

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30 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On March 15, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Lovely! I recently made a salted caramel frosting. It wasn’t stiff enough to decorate with but, oh man, was it good. I would love to be able to capture it’s flavor in a frosting that sets up as well as yours does here. And that caramel banana cake flavors sounds intensely good too!


  2. 2
    Posted On March 15, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I saw that cake. :) Delicious, and you’re brave enough to make your own caramel. Bravo! I’m guessing you could use the buttercream recipe I used above, but substitute in your own salted caramel for my store-bought caramel sauce. It’d probably be divine!


  3. 3
    Posted On March 15, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Can I use regular milk or cream instead of soy?


  4. 4
    Posted On March 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Your recipes are amazing and I enjoy that you tell how to make them dairy free. My brother and sister can’t have dairy and we like to cook together. You use soy milk in these but you still use butter. Are you actually using butter or is that just what they call for? Do you use margarine?


  5. 5
    Posted On March 15, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    thanks for the recipe! i’ve been wanting to make vegan cupcakes with caramel buttercream for ages!


  6. 6
    Posted On March 15, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Jenny –

    I am able to eat butter since it’s mostly milk fat and very little lactose. However, all these recipes will work fine with a good quality vegan margarine. You might also want to do part margarine part shortening, for a little better texture. :) Definitely doable!


  7. 7
    Posted On March 15, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Caramel and bananas are such a great combination. Thanks for reminding me of that fact.


  8. 8
    Posted On March 15, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    What a great way to avoid sugar disaster and get the perfect caramel flavor! These cupcakes look divine, and talk about stellar flavor combinations. Your buttercream looks perfect to me!


  9. 9
    Posted On March 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    What wonderful cupcakes! I love bananas and caramel together.


  10. 10
    Posted On March 15, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Super yummy – woweee!


  11. 11
    Posted On March 16, 2009 at 4:16 am

    Ok, I think I could just camp out on your website. I have thorougly enjoyed surfing through… both your pictures and your recipes are enticing ~ I will have to try some on my next baking day!


  12. 12
    Eileen @ Passions to Pastry
    Posted On March 16, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Beautiful photo. Looks delicious!


  13. 13
    Posted On March 16, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Just found your blog and wanted to say it’s really special.


  14. 14
    Posted On March 17, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Again, because I have been new to your blog…I’m just noticing how you use the soymilk/vinegar combo often…just curious how well that works. Like, even for substituting in other recepies??


  15. 15
    Posted On March 17, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I love these! You have the best cupcake recipes, and pictures. Thanks for sharing!


  16. 16
    Posted On March 17, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Hi Jenny! The vinegar curdles the soymilk, making it a good substitute for buttermilk and/or eggs in most recipes. :) You can also use regular milk with a bit of vinegar as a replacement for buttermilk. A nice trick (since who ever has buttermilk on hand?), and no one can tell the difference.


  17. 17
    Posted On March 18, 2009 at 11:20 am

    So, then I could use the same amount of “regular” milk (and vinegar) in place of the soymilk, or just use buttermilk (with no vinegar)? Just want to make sure I have this straight before I set out to make these!!! Thanks so much for another amazing recipe…


  18. 18
    Posted On March 18, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Hi Kerri – Yup, you got it! Either milk with vinegar or buttermilk with no vinegar. Keep in mind though, I’ve never made these with real milk or buttermilk, so the results could be unexpected. Good luck and let me know how they turn out. :)


  19. 19
    Posted On March 20, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Caramel and bananas are such a great combination,very beautiful!


  20. 20
    Posted On March 21, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    I won’t be making these again for a long time… Today, I ate 5….5!!! These are the most heavenly banana cupcakes on the face of the earth! The whole batch lasted exactly one and a half days in my house. Even my brother in law who thinks all things vegan must be gross loved them! I’m bringing these to the potluck at my school so I can wow everyone with my (your) baking talent!!

    p.s. I subbed rice milk and safflower oil cause that’s what I had and it worked great!


  21. 21
    Posted On March 24, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    These are the second best cupcakes on this site. Just phenomenal


  22. 22
    Posted On March 25, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Great recipe! I cut the caramel in the frosting in half, and added half a salted caramel in the center of the cake itself. It was a pretty tasty variation.


  23. 23
    Posted On April 9, 2009 at 9:12 am

    You know what would be good on this recipe? To poke a few holes in the tops of the cupcakes and drizzle some caramel over the top. Cover the holes with the frosting and you’d have super moist yummy cupcakes. I have a cake that I do this to and it’s fabulous! I’m gonna try these!


  24. 24
    Posted On September 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Great cupcake hero entry! Your photos are beautiful :)


  25. 25
    Posted On September 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I love the combination of banana and caramel – great job on the cupcake!


  26. 26
    Posted On September 18, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Great-looking cuppin cakes! I feel ya, cooked sugar can go wrong really quickly. I like to use dulce de leche when I want a caramel flavor.


  27. 27
    Posted On September 28, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Yum! your website is beautiful…cant wait to try out some of these recipes!


  28. 28
    Posted On October 5, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    i am a cupcake freak. i made these tonight and the banana cake was great but my frosting separated beyond repair. i used margarine :( the kids still ate 4 each tho.


  29. 29
    Lian Bellen
    Posted On October 9, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Hi there! I just discovered your website and I love it! A few questions though (please bear with me), I noticed that you do not use eggs in your cupcake recipes. And could I use regular milk instead of coconut milk? Most of your cupcake recipes use coconut milk. Thank you!


  30. 30
    Posted On March 14, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Loved it.
    made it today with a few simple substitutions.
    great result. :)


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