You won’t be able to refuse these delightful treats, including a variation for “pupcakes”! Courtesy of Anna Olson.
For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350ºF and line muffin tins with large paper liners.
In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and, using electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend in the butter on medium speed until the mixture is a rough, crumbly texture and no large bits of butter are visible.
Whisk the mashed banana, eggs and vanilla together and add this to the flour mixture, beating well on medium speed until the batter is well-blended (it will be wet). Divide the batter between the cupcake liners (an ice cream scoop works well) and bake the cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes, until the brown just lightly and spring back when gently pressed in the centre. Cool the cupcakes in the tins before frosting.
For the frosting, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and butter until smooth. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and beat first on low speed until blended, then increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is fluffy. Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cupcakes while at room temperature, then chill until ready to serve.
** For a school-safe, nut-free cream cheese frosting, simply omit the peanut butter and increase the butter to 6 Tbsp, keeping all other measurements the same.
Decorating Ideas: Top the cupcakes with a sprinkle of coloured sugar, Skor toffee bits or chocolate chips. For “pupcakes”, you can make puppy faces out of chocolate wafer cookies. A smaller cookie or a circle of rolled fondant can be placed on as the muzzle, with chocolate chips as the nose and eyes, and crescent cookies as the ears. All features and details can be drawn and adhered using melted chocolate in a small piping bag.