Lightened up Hummingbird Cupcakes with Toasted Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
I’m leaving on a jet plane… headed to incredibly sunny HOT weather to drink margaritas, eat cupcakes, mexican food, AND frozen yogurt. Maybe that’s not exactly how the song goes, but pretty close.
Okay seriously, I CAN’T FREAKING WAIT! I apologize if I’m making you jealous but I’m pretty sure my new favorite hummingbird cupcakes will provide you with a little happiness. I mean they are topped with a heavenly TOASTED COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING!
Again, sorry for the excitement and excessive exclamation marks. I had a giant iced coffee the size of my face this morning. WHOOOOOOOO!
Wow, this is the most outrageous post I’ve ever written so I should just stop right now and give you the recipe. Unfortunately, I still need to explain a few things about these spectacular cupcakes.
What are hummingbird cupcakes?
Hummingbird cupcakes are one of my absolute favorite cupcakes. I would call them a cross between banana bread and carrot cake. They’re unbelievable moist — flavored with banana, pineapple, pecans, and cinnamon spice. The name is a mystery; however, some say these were called hummingbird cupcakes because they make you hum with delight. I can’t help but agree!
How are these lightened up?
Easy substitutes: Instead of using a bunch of oil or butter to make a moist cupcake, I substituted some buttermilk and applesauce to save calories.
Less sugar: I felt because these cupcakes already had sweet ingredients, that they didn’t need a lot of added sugar so I only used 3/4 cup. Now it is extremely important to use SUPER ripe bananas, because of the naturally higher sugar content that release when bananas ripen. Look for bananas with TONS of brown spots.
Reduced-fat frosting: Instead of full fat cream cheese, I used the reduced-fat kind and opted for raw, unsweetened coconut to top it with.
Ways you can make these even healthier:
If you want to make these healthier, you can substitute 3/4 cup of flour with whole wheat pastry flour; this will ensure that the cupcakes are still moist, but aren’t overly heavy. If you do this, I recommend adding another tablespoon of liquid (milk) to your batter.
How to make these vegan:
Instead of buttermilk, use soy, almond, or coconut milk. Leave out the egg and butter, then increase oil by 2 tablespoons. For the frosting, top with my vegan coconut whip cream just before serving, or you can use another vegan frosting recipe.
Another thing I should mention is that these cupcakes are better 24 hours later. The sugars continue to release and so they become sweeter and more moist. I will often bake them the day before, then frost them right before they are ready to eat! Words can’t even begin to describe the frosting; it’s magical.
I hope you’ll make them, they are the perfect Easter treat and you’ll feel great knowing that they are lightened up. Plus, no one will be able to tell… or at least my family couldn’t!
- 1 cup mashed banana (about 2 1/2 bananas)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained
- 3 tablespoons applesauce
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- For the frosting:
- 4 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup raw coconut (or unsweetened coconut flakes)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners and spray the inside of the liners with non-stick cooking spray to ensure they don’t stick.
- In medium bowl, combine banana, applesauce, pecans, and crushed pineapple; set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat butter, oil, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Add in egg and beat until fluffy about another minute. Next fold in banana mixture with wooden spoon. Alternate adding in flour mixture and buttermilk and stir until just combined; do not overmix!
- Fill cupcakes almost 2/3 full, you should have enough batter for about 16 cupcakes. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool pan on wire rack for 10 minutes then remove cupcakes and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
- To make frosting: Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer for 3 minutes or until smooth.
- To toast coconut: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread out coconut in shallow pan and place in oven for 3-5 minutes. Watch the coconut very carefully so it doesn’t burn. You’ll want the coconut just slightly browned on the edges. It may take more or less time.
- Spread a heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake then top with a little bit toasted coconut. Enjoy!