Today, I’m thrilled to share a recipe that’s been swirling in my imagination for weeks, and I finally made it a reality – banana coconut cupcakes with creme fraiche frosting and coconut caramel sauce.
Wow, that’s a mouthful!
The cupcakes are an explosion of tropical flavors. A tantalizing dance of sweet banana, lush coconut, and a unique and tangy creme fraiche frosting.
If you’ve been craving something adventurous, these are the cupcakes for you.
Why I love these cupcakes
And why you will too…
- They’re a great way to use up any spare bananas you have (psst.. I have a great guide on how to store cut bananas)
- They’re super moist and fluffy because of the banana
- The topping is easy and super unique
- You can easily customize the cupcakes to make them perfect for you.
Before we get started, let’s take a peek at the main players in our cupcakes.
Note this isn’t a complete list, scroll down to the bottom for that!
For the cupcakes
- All-purpose flour: the trusty foundation for these cupcakes. It provides the structure and substance, and results in fluffy, moist cupcakes. You can also use cake flour.
- Bananas: ripe ones are the best! They give the cupcakes that sweet, distinctive banana flavor and lovely soft texture.
- Sweetened shredded coconut: this ups the tropical factor but also lends a delightful chewy texture to the cupcakes. You can also use these coconut flake substitutes.
- Sour cream: adds moisture without thinning the batter too much, giving you a tender cupcake. It also adds a slight savory tang.
- Butter, sugar, and eggs: the three musketeers of baking! You want softened, unsalted butter and room-temperature eggs.
- Vanilla extract: adds a warm flavor to the cupcakes – I never bake without it.
For the toppings
- Creme fraiche: the star of the frosting! Creme fraiche adds a subtle tanginess that balances out the sweetness of our cupcakes, and it’s delightfully creamy.
- Confectioners’ sugar: the fine texture of the sugar ensures our frosting is smooth as silk.
- Coconut milk or cream: used in the caramel sauce, it adds a delicious coconutty twist to marry the topping and the cupcakes together. Coconut cream is best, but you can also use these coconut cream substitutes.
- Brown sugar, honey, and vanilla extract: these are the sweet triplet in our caramel sauce, giving it a deep, warm, comforting flavor.
Step 1: Prep
Kick things off by preheating your oven to 350F (180C) and lining your 12-cup muffin tin.
Step 2: Make the batter
In a bowl, whisk together sifted all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Keep it close by, you’re going to need it soon!
In another (large) bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar together until it’s well combined.
Now add the sour cream and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in room temperature eggs one at a time.
Pro tip: room temperature eggs aerate better. If your eggs are coming straight from the fridge, put them in a bowl of warm tap water for 5 minutes.
Now it’s time to combine the wet and dry mixtures.
Gently fold them together until they’re thoroughly combined. Then fold in the mashed bananas and shredded coconut.
Be careful not to overmix. It might be tempting to give it a few more stirs, but resist! Overmixing will result in a tougher cupcake.
Step 3: Bake those cupcakes
Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 of the way full with your delicious batter.
Pop the pan into your preheated oven and bake until the tops are golden-brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
This will take around 20 minutes, but keep an eye on them.
Then let the cupcakes cool to room temperature.
Step 4: Frosting time
While your cupcakes cool, whip up your creme fraiche frosting.
Combine the creme fraiche and confectioners’ sugar. Whisk until the mixture is thick and creamy, but again be careful not to overmix.
Overmixing will result in a grainy texture, and we want it smooth and creamy!
Step 5: Caramel sauce delight
In a saucepan, stir together the butter, brown sugar, honey, and coconut milk.
Let this simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes until it’s thickened. Then let it cool to room temperature before putting it on the cupcakes.
Psst…. make extra and store it in a jar to drizzle over your pancakes or ice cream, or add it to your morning coffee!
Step 6: Assemble and decorate
Now for the fun part!
Pipe a small mound of your homemade creme fraiche frosting on top of each cupcake.
Then make a small indentation at the top of the frosting and fill this with your coconut caramel sauce.
Finally, top each cupcake with a slice of fresh banana, drizzle a bit more caramel sauce on top for good measure, and serve immediately.
Tips to get the perfect cupcakes
Making cupcakes can be super fun, and with these awesome tips, you’ll be a cupcake wizard in no time.
- Be a measuring master: To get your cupcakes just right, you’ve got to measure like a pro! For dry stuff like flour and sugar, use the spoon-and-level method. It’s super important for the perfect cupcake texture.
- Choose the right bananas: Opt for slightly overripe bananas for the best flavor. Riper bananas will be easier to mash too!
- Watch the clock: Keep an eye on the time to make sure your cupcakes are baked to perfection! Start checking for doneness a few minutes before the suggested baking time.
- Follow the instructions: Bananas can be difficult to work with when it comes to baking because of their moist texture.
How to make creme fraiche
You can easily prepare creme fraiche at home if you don’t want to buy it or can’t find it.
Mix 1 cup of heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of buttermilk in a jar. Cover it with a cloth and let it sit at room temperature (between 70-75°F or 21-24°C) for 24 to 48 hours.
You’ll see it start to thicken. Once it has, give it a stir, replace the cloth with a lid, and pop it into the refrigerator where it’ll continue to thicken. Use it within a week.
Other decoration ideas
For some people the idea of a fresh slice of banana isn’t that appealing! So here are some more decoration ideas.
- Coconut sprinkles: toast some additional shredded coconut until it’s lightly browned and sprinkle it over the frosted cupcakes for a crunchy texture.
- Banana chips: swap the fresh banana slices with dried banana chips. They won’t turn brown!
- Chocolate drizzle: melt some dark chocolate and drizzle it over your cupcakes for a decadent twist. The slight bitterness of dark chocolate will balance the sweetness of the cupcakes beautifully.
- Nuts for crunch: chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans are great with bananas. And you can salt them for an extra dose of savory.
Can I use a different frosting?
While the creme fraiche frosting adds a unique tangy sweetness that pairs exceptionally well with the banana and coconut flavors, there are several other options you can try:
- Cream cheese frosting: this classic choice brings a similar tangy note as creme fraiche, but with a bit more body and creaminess.
- Whipped coconut cream frosting: if you’re a real coconut lover, try making a frosting from whipped coconut cream. It’s lighter than other frostings and vegan-friendly.
- Buttercream frosting: a simple vanilla buttercream would also work well with the banana flavor. You could even add a touch of coconut extract to carry the coconut theme throughout the cupcake.
Planning a tropical themed party with these cupcakes?
Here are some cool things to serve alongside it:
- Tropical fruit salad: a vibrant salad with a mixture of tropical fruits like mango, papaya, and pineapple would go really well with the cupcakes. They’ll add some freshness.
- Grilled pineapple: grilled pineapple slices, possibly with a hint of chili for a kick, will provide a warm, tangy counterpart to the sweet cupcakes. Psst… grilled peaches would also be great.
- Jerk chicken: a spicy and savory jerk chicken could make an interesting contrast to the sweetness of the banana cupcakes. I also have loads of other dishes that go well with jerk chicken.
- Coconut shrimp: if you’re going for a savory-sweet mix, coconut shrimp is a fun appetizer that echoes the coconut flavor in the cupcakes.
Once you’ve frosted the cupcakes, they’re best served immediately due to the creme fraiche frosting. The banana slice will also start to brown very quickly!
You can store unfrosted cupcakes at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Or you can freeze them for up to 3 months – flash freeze them for around an hour and then transfer them to a freezer bag.
The flash freezing will make sure they don’t stick together.
You can store the creme fraiche icing separately in the fridge for 2-3 days, but it may require whisking before use. The caramel sauce will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, and you can reheat it gently on the stove or in the microwave.
Psst… leftover caramel sauce is fantastic drizzled over ice cream, warm pancakes, or waffles. You could also stir it into your morning coffee for a coconut caramel twist!
Read Next: How To Make Waffles Without Milk
Banana Coconut Cupcakes With Creme Fraiche Frosting And Coconut Caramel Sauce
- For the cupcakes:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick butter 113g, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large ripe bananas peeled, and mashed
- 1/2 rounded cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 fresh banana sliced, for decoration
- For the frosting:
- 250 g creme fraiche
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- For the caramel sauce:
- 50 g unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup firmly packed 100g brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 150 ml coconut milk or coconut cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Line 1 (12-cup) muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the butter and the sugar. Beat with a hand-held mixer until combined. Add the sour cream and the vanilla extract. Slowly beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Incorporate the dry mixture and wet mixtures together until thoroughly combined. Add the bananas and shredded coconut, being careful not to over mix. Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner 3/4 way full. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops turn golden-brown and when a toothpick, inserted in the middle of the cupcake, comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven to a wire rack and let cool before frosting.
- For the frosting: Combine creme fraiche and confectioners sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk until thick and creamy, being careful not to overmix or it may become grainy. Use immediately.
- For the caramel sauce: Stir all ingredients in a pan over low heat to dissolve sugar, then simmer for 5 minutes, until thickened. Cool to room temperature before using on cupcakes, otherwise it will melt the frosting.
- Use leftovers for pancakes, pies or ice cream.
- Assembly: Pipe a small mound of creme fraiche frosting on top of each cupcake using a plain round tip, or a Ziploc bag. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Using a small spoon or butter knife, insert the tip into the very top of the frosting and turn in a circular motion while pushing down to make an indentation, or pocket, in the frosting (see photo above). Fill this pocket with cooled coconut caramel sauce. Place a piece of sliced banana firmly, but gently, on top of the pocket of sauce to completely cover it. Drizzle a little bit of the sauce on top of the banana. Serve immediately.