Banana Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream

There’s been an insane desire to make banana bread during these Covid-isolated times. I’m not quite sure why, but okay. Same thing with sourdough starter…to each his own, right? And, while I’m a lover of banana bread, I’m always looking for something else to bake with those ripened bananas sitting on the counter.

Enter the banana cupcake! It’s lighter, more cake-like, and simply yummy! Then, top it with a chai buttercream and I promise, this will make you forget all about banana bread (for a little while, in any event).

Banana Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream

The Chai Buttercream uses a combination of chai spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom & allspice) to create a warm, deep, spiced flavor to the buttercream.

This is such a wonderful dessert! Or snack! Or breakfast!

Banana Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream

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Banana Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream

Makes: 18 cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes plus cooling time



  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3 large very ripe bananas)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature*
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature*
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature*

Chai Spice Mix:

  • 1 & 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

Chai Spice Buttercream:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 5–6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsp chai spice mix (above)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt, optional
  • Cinnamon sticks, five spice flowers + remaining chai spice mix, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 6 liners as this recipe yields about 18 cupcakes.

Make the Cupcakes:

Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and both sugars together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla, then beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the mashed banana.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the buttermilk until combined. Do not over-mix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no flour pockets at the bottom of the bowl. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners – fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Prepare chai spice mix:

Mix all of the chai spices together.

Make the Frosting:

With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add 5 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, the heavy cream, 1 and 3/4 teaspoons chai spice mix, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Add up to 1/2 cup more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or another tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick. Add another pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.

Frost cooled cupcakes and serve.

I used Wilton 8B piping tip, stuck a 5-spice flower in some of them, and sprinkled with a mix of the remaining chai spice mix and a pinch of granulated sugar.

Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Chef’s Note:

All starred ingredients MUST be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly.

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction


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