Our Vanilla Bean Baby Cakes Mix makes great banana bread.  It’s baked at a lower temperature and in a loaf pan with mashed bananas and comes out denser and moister than a cake—just like a quick bread.  (See the recipe below.)

We wondered if we could make banana muffins the same way.  Alas, they came out like cupcakes, not muffins.  The crew loved them but I thought that cupcakes needed frosting.

We had a pound of leftover caramel in the refrigerator and that was the inspiration for the frosting–caramel frosting.   We heated until it was warm and soft and scraped it into the mixing bowl of a stand-type mixer, added butter and powdered sugar with a little whipping cream and had frosting.

We sprinkled these cupcakes with Himalayan Pink Salt.  That was a nice contrasting touch.  We served these banana nut cupcakes with caramel frosting in the store and they were a big hit.

Banana Nut Cupcakes

1 Vanilla Bean Cake Mix
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs
1 cup mashed banana
1 teaspoon banana flavor
1/2 cup chopped nuts
3/4 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

  1. Mix cake mix, oil, eggs, banana, and flavor in stand-type mixer, per package instructions.
  2. Add the nuts and cinnamon chips to the cake batter. Mix just until combined.
  3. Spoon the batter into 16 to 18 regular muffin pan cavities.
  4. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Allow the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack.

“Accidental” Caramel Frosting

You can make homemade caramel or unwrap a pound of caramel candies such as Kraft for this recipe.

1 pound caramel heated until soft and warm
1 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon caramel flavor
3 cups powdered sugar
several tablespoons whipping cream

  1. Scrape the soft caramel into the bowl of your stand-type mixer.  Making sure that the caramel is not too warm to melt the butter, add one cup (two sticks) of cold butter to the caramel.  Beat the butter into the caramel.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and flavor and beat in.  Add enough milk or whipping cream to reach the right consistency.

The frosting can be spread with a knife or piped with a pastry bag.

Banana Nut Bread

1 Vanilla Bean Cake Mix
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs
1 cup mashed banana
1 teaspoon banana flavor
1/2 cup chopped nuts
3/4 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

  1. Mix cake mix, oil, eggs, banana, and flavor in stand-type mixer, per package instructions.
  2. Add the nuts and cinnamon chips to the cake batter. Mix just until combined.
  3. Spread batter in a greased or parchment lined 9”X5” loaf pan and bake for 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Allow the bread to cool in the pan on a wire rack. If you are using parchment paper, grab the edges of the paper and lift to transfer it to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.