Banana Cupcakes (nut-free) with Whipped White Chocolate Sesame Frosting

August 3, 2013 in Categories: , by

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My kids and husband eat a lot of bananas.  I’m quite in the habit of picking up a bunch or two of bananas every time I’m anywhere that sells them.  In my home, it’s fairly unusual to end up with a surplus of ripe bananas.  However, while traveling in Canada the last few weeks, it did happen at my mom’s house.  Bananas seemed to ripen more rapidly in my mom’s house than mine and all of a sudden, there was a pile of overripe bananas that no one wanted to eat.  Because we were on our way to my mother-in-laws house at the time, I decided to use those bananas for a nut-free muffin recipe.  So, I grabbed what ingredients I could find in my mother’s pantry and went to work.  The end result was delicious, but it was hard to call them muffins.  I found them to be so sweet and spongy  that I felt they were destined to be cupcakes instead.

Being in my mom’s kitchen and using her ingredients, I realized just how different one brand of coconut flour can be from another.  I typically use Tropical Traditions but sometimes I use Let’s Do Organic or Bob’s Redmill brands.  I find all of them are milled finely and behave similarly in my baking.  My mom had a brand I’d never heard of before (sorry I don’t remember what it was called) and it was not as finely ground (more similar to when I make homemade coconut flour from the pulp leftover from making coconut milk).  I seemed to need more than I expected because of that.  So, when I got home, I decided I had better optimize the recipe for the coconut flour I’m used to using since these are common brands (at least in the USA).  All this to say that if a coconut flour recipe isn’t working for you, it might be that you need to increase the coconut flour a bit to compensate for a coarser ground flour than the recipe developer was using.  I also always measure coconut flour after sifting.

As an aside, I often get asked why a recipe that uses coconut can be labelled as nut-free.  While the FDA classifies coconut as a tree-nut, it’s actually not from a tree at all (palm trees are not actually trees and are botanically more closely related to grass plus coconuts are actually drupes, meaning they are the seeds of a type of fruit).  What this means is that the proteins in coconut are quite different from those in tree nuts so cross reaction is unlikely (while cross reaction between tree nuts is highly likely).  Most allergists will tell someone with a tree nut allergy that there is no reason to avoid coconut or seeds (unless they have overtly tested positive).

So, back to the story behind these cupcakes. The last piece to the puzzle, if I was going to call these cupcakes and not muffins, was frosting.  Fortunately, it was my husband’s birthday yesterday, so I had a great excuse!  I was inspired to do something with sesame after indulging in some halva while home.  I always make my own white chocolate for recipes because my youngest is so super sensitive to dairy.  If you wanted, you could substitute 4oz white chocolate for the cocoa butter, evaporated cane juice, and arrowroot powder.  When my husband took a bite after supper last night, his exact words were “Wow, you got this one just right!”.

These would be very pretty topped with banana chips (crumbled or whole) and/or black sesame seeds and/or shaved dark chocolate.  You could also add dark or white chocolate chips to the cupcake batter if you wanted to boost the chocolate flavor.

You could also always skip the frosting and make these as muffins (go ahead and omit the honey since they’re pretty sweet, at least to my palate).  I think they’d be really good with some chopped pecans or walnuts (if you aren’t sensitive to nuts).

Yield: 10-12 cupcakes

Nut-Free Paleo Banana Cupcakes with Whipped White Chocolate Sesame Frosting | The Paleo Mom

Ingredients (frosting):

  1. Blend evaporated cane juice in a blender or mini food processor until it’s a fine powder (this makes it dissolve more easily in the cocoa butter).
  2. Melt cocoa butter (you can do this in a double boiler or in the microwave).  Add evaporated cane juice to melted cocoa butter and whisk until cane juice has dissolved.
  3. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the vanilla seeds with a sharp knife (save the pod for making vanilla ice cream or some other dish where you simmer the vanilla pod in coconut milk).  Add to cocoa butter.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together until fully combined.
  5. Allow to cool to room temperature (because of the high melting point of cocoa butter, this takes a long long time–if you want to speed it up, put it in the fridge and whisk aggressively every 5 minutes while it cools).  Whisk every so often (maybe every half hour) just to make sure it doesn’t separate or clump up.
  6. Whip aggressively by hand (or you could use a hand mixer or blender) and generously frost your cupcakes!

Ingredients (cupcakes):

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease a muffin pan with palm shortening, butter or lard or line with silicone or paper liners.  I actually use a silicone muffin pan just because it’s so easy and ends up saving me tons of time!
  3. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor (yes, it really is that easy).  Blend or process about 1-2 minutes until you have a thick and smooth batter.
  4. Pour batter into prepared muffin pan.  You can make your cupcakes a bit bigger by dividing into 10 muffin cups or a bit smaller by dividing into 12 muffin cups.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes (45 if you only make 10).  Remove from oven and let cool completely before frosting.  Enjoy!


As a complete addendum, I watermarked my photo for the first time for this recipe.  I really like how it turned out (amazing how much my photography has improved with just ten minutes with George of -boy, that man’s a genius).  Thoughts?



Is it possible to tell us how much banana in an actual measurement and –this is really asking for the world–what about fresh rotten vs frozen rotten? I am going to experiment but these are always my questions with banana recipes! (I have a shelf of frozen bananas I need to move out…) Thank you.

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I made these as “muffins” without the frosting. I have to say that I have made many banana muffins/breads and these by far have been the BEST! These came out perfect!! Thank You!

Just made these. Delicious! However, mine didn’t have any kind of dome, like yours. They started out with a dome, then sunk. I’m guessing the batter was too wet. Next time I’ll add a bit more coconut flour or some shredded coconut. I did add choc chips, though…like I said, delicious!

Oh, I also added some spices: 1 tsp cinnamon, half of each: cardamom, nutmeg, ginger. These were light, yummy and moist…no need for frosting, though I’ll def try it in the future!

Very tasty! But mine don’t seem to want to completely bake. I added just a half of a minced apple. I’m assuming the apple might have too much water?

Made these without the frosting and without the sweetener (no maple syrup/honey). They were wonderful! Naturally sweetened by the bananas – this is a great recipe to modify for people who don’t like to add additional sugar. I actually added some blueberries to half the batch and they were awesome, too! Thanks Paleo Mom!

I have been strict AIP for a couple months, and I really miss baked goods. Before, I was baking a lot with almond flour. I have not been doing coconut flour, as I heard it’s hard to digest. What is your view on coconut flour? Also, I don’t have arrowroot powder. What does that do? Thanks for everything!

You could experiment with small amounts of coconut flour and see how you feel. Sarah discusses coconut flour and arrowroot powder here: You can view Sarah’s AIP “treat” recipes here: The Paleo Approach Cookbook (available in August) will contain several dessert recipes. — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

These are delicious. I made them as muffins (no frosting) and omitted the honey as you suggested and they turned out wonderfully. Even my husband who has a bigger sweet tooth than I do liked them. Thank you!

I’m not sure what happened with mine. I followed the recipe exactly and they got a dark crust on the outside, but the inside was all mushy and sunken. 🙁 So disappointed because they smelled amazing as they were baking.

I just had to come back and update. I tried another cupcake/muffin later after they had cooled completely and realize that was the problem. I had tried to dig into one while it was still hot and the texture was all wrong. When I allowed them to cool completely and tried again, they were so much better! So glad I didn’t chuck them in the trash when I thought I had failed! I will actually be making more today!!

I am baking these right now. They smell so yummy. But I just realised I forgot to get Tahini at the supermarket. Can I substitute something else? Sunflower Butter?

Hi, this recipe sound beautiful. I’ve just brought the most gigantic box of bananas so want to do some batch baking with them. Do you think these muffins would freeze ok? If so how do I defrost? I don’t use a microwave so is the fridge ok? Thanks so much! Love everything you do x

I tried substituting agave for the honey, but the middle of the cupcakes were very gooey. Should I adjust the temperature or baking time if using agave?

just finished making the cupcakes and frosting..amazing..the only change i made to the frosting was i powdered some organic maple sugar as i don’t do cane sugar..amazing!!!

If I put this in a large cast iron skillet, do you think I would need to increase the bake time or shorten it? Recipe looks good! Can’t wait to try it!

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