Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked

These cupcakes look a bit like ice cream sundaes, don’t they? I guess I was craving something as aesthetically pleasing as a big ice cream sundae, but with the cold weather outside, I don’t know that ice cream would be the best choice. I did, however, look to my favorite cookbook, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, for inspiration, and came across these Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream. If you’ve never made your own pastry cream before, I highly recommend giving it a go. It’s really quite simple – the only hard part is just watching the cream to make sure it doesn’t break while you’re cooking it. The result is a velvety, almost pudding-like cream that goes well on almost any dessert, especially one made with banana. The pastry cream on top of these moist banana cupcakes is a genius idea, and I’m glad that Baked was able to bring the combination to my attention. I made these for a friend’s birthday, and I think that he really liked them. Kramer absolutely loved them, so I made sure to make a few extras for us to enjoy at home. The cupcakes themselves were absolutely perfect. They rose just the right amount and had a bright, bold banana flavor. The pastry cream, however, is truly what makes these special, and I guarantee it will take all of your collective will power to not just eat the pastry cream straight out of the bowl. It is described in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking as something like a French version of traditional American pudding, and I think that’s pretty accurate. I’d love to try using this pastry cream to fill some cupcakes or doughnuts with, but we’ll save that for another day. With Valentine’s Day coming up, I can’t think of a better (and honestly, easier) cupcake to make for your significant other.

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked
The ingredients.

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked
Beat together the butter and the shortening.

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked
Until smooth.

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked
Add in the sugar, vanilla, and then the eggs, then add in the mashed bananas.

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked
Alternate adding in the flour and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour.

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked
Fill each muffin cup with about 1/4 cup of batter and bake for 20-25 minutes, until set and just barely golden.

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked
Allow to cool completely before frosting with the pastry cream.

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked
Make the pastry cream while the cupcakes cool. Start by heating up your heavy cream.

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked
Whisk together your egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt.

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked
Temper the yolk mixture by adding in half of the warm heavy cream and whisking. Then, add the tempered yolk mixture back into the pot with the rest of the heavy cream. Whisk for 5-6 minutes, until thickened.

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked
Place some plastic wrap directly onto the pastry cream so that a skin doesn’t form, and chill for about an hour in the fridge, until firm and cool.

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream from Baked
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 cupcakes
Banana Cupcakes
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • 1¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ cups very ripe bananas, mashed (about 4 bananas)
  • ½ cup buttermilk (or 1½ teaspoons vinegar + ½ cup regular milk)
Pastry Cream
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Assembly
  • chocolate sprinkles
  • maraschino cherries
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Beat the butter and shortening together until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth, at least 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the eggs one at a time until combined. Add in the mashed bananas and beat until just combined. Gradually add in ⅓ of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk, then ⅓ of the flour mixture, than half of the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour mixture, until just moistened - it's better to finish mixing the batter by hand than risk over-beating the batter.
  3. Fill each cupcake liner with about ¼ cup of batter each. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. A toothpick should come out clean; the cupcakes should be set and just barely golden. Place the pans on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  4. While the cupcakes cool, make the pastry cream. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium sized bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer and keep warm over low heat.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt together until the mixture is pale, about 1 minute. Whisk half of the warm heavy cream into the egg yolk mixture, to temper it, then pour the egg and cream mixture into the remaining warm heavy cream in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened - about 6 minutes. If it looks like the pastry cream is starting to break, remove the pot from heat and whisk quickly to bring it back together.
  6. Remove the mixture from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Strain the pastry cream through the sieve and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Place in the fridge for about an hour, or until chilled completely.
  7. Frost the cupcakes however you like - I placed the pastry cream in a plastic bag, then cut off a large portion of the tip so I would get a nice dollop of pastry cream on each cupcake. Sprinkle with the sprinkles and top with a maraschino cherry that you have patted with a paper towel (to make sure that it doesn't turn the pastry cream red).
  8. A note about pastry cream: Pastry cream cannot sit out at room temperature for very long. I suggest frosting the cupcakes before you plan to serve. I made the cupcakes and pastry cream on one day, then frosted them on the next day, refrigerated the cupcakes for a few hours, then placed them in an airtight container and took them to my friend's house.


37 Responses

  1. Katie says:

    There is a right way and a wrong way to end the day. This is the right way. Yum!

  2. Nina | Salt says:

    These look heavenly! The Baked boys have never steered me wrong. Both their books are gems. Will have to try these. The last photo is gorgeous!

  3. Megan says:

    So pretty!! Love the first photo.

  4. Mom says:

    I have been up since 4am, I could eat one of those right now! So Valentiney!

    • Sydney says:

      @Mom: Go to bed early tonight!

      @Tina: Thank you for always being so kind! :)

      @Lauren: It’s a good substitute!

      @Tawny: I know you’ll love them!

      @Michelle: Aw, thank you so much! I look forward to continuing to hear from you!

  5. Tina from PA says:

    How wonderful these look and sound!! Maybe in a day or two my bananas will be ready. Thank you for another winner!

  6. I can always eat an ice cream sundae, but a dessert that looks like one might work just as well:-)

  7. making these soon. I have 6 bananas on their way to being ‘very ripe’ and i’ve been thinking of what I should make with them..and this is it! Thanks for posting the recipe, i’m excited to try them :)

  8. Michelle says:

    Those cupcakes look great! I’m such a sucker for anything banana flavored.

    PS… I love your site. You have so many great recipes! I can’t wait to read more.

  9. Mary says:

    So cute!! I love your photography on this website- the food always looks so delicious! How about a tour of your new kitchen??

    • Sydney says:

      @Mary: Thank you so much! I have to wait a bit longer, because we have a few more things to get to bring the place together, but I’m sure by the beginning of March it will look good enough to show to everyone! It’s not much of a tour, but for NYC kitchens, it’s enormous!

      @Maureen: Aw, thank you! I really hope you do, I’ve never been so impressed by a cookbook before.

      @Tiffany: Thanks! How do you make vegan pastry cream? Sounds complicated (and I’m sure delicious).

      @Allison: I have a can of pumpkin puree leftover from the holidays that I want to use to make those whoopie pies – they look awesome. Baked is seriously my new favorite.

  10. Maureen Rosin says:

    I love your website. That’s for all the ideas that you share. I have got to get this cookbook.

  11. These look delicious! I’m actually making a vegan pastry cream on Friday; I hope it’s just as tasty as this kind of pastry cream!

  12. allison says:

    i love the Baked cookbook. Everything in it is close to perfect. I always use their recipe for pumpkin whoopie pies, they’re the best.

  13. traci says:

    I have been dying to do a boston cream pie for months now and this has renewed my desire. I think I’m going to dip the top of the cupcake in ganache before piping on the pastry cream because chocolate goes with everything. I use my vanilla beans sparingly because of the cost but a real vanilla bean (I freeze my scraped out vanilla beans pods and soak them in the cream 24 hrs before I plan to make it) really makes the pastry cream even more heavenly.

    • Sydney says:

      Traci: Chocolate absolutely goes with everything – I couldn’t agree more. I need to get some real vanilla beans – I always forget until I start baking, and by then it’s too late!

  14. cralsies says:

    Mmmm, these look great! But I can’t get my hands on any shortening where I live. Can you suggest a substitute? More butter?

  15. Sydney- I haven’t made the vegan pastry cream before, but the recipe I’m following looks really easy. It’s just sugar, flour, cornstarch, water, nondairy milk, and vanilla. Otherwise, you prepare it much the same way as the traditional kind, but you don’t have to worry about eggs!

  16. Kari says:

    Cralsies: Can you get ahold of lard where you live? I know it sounds kind of gross, but it’s actually slightly better for you (can you say that about straight fat?) than shortening is.

    Traci & Sydney: At my local Costco, I found a package of two vials of vanilla beans (near the spices and extracts) for only $11 or $12. I don’t know if Costco carries them nation-wide, but out here in NorCal, we were able to find them. We bought a bunch for Christmas this year for stockings–definitely a hit!

    • Sydney says:

      @Kari: Thanks for the tip!

      @Caroline: Thank you!

      @Michelle: Me either!

      @Ben: I have! They are AMAZING. I actually tasted their cupcakes/cakes/cookies and was completely hooked. I went out and bought the book right after I tried a piece of their bourbon pecan pie. Everything they make is incredible.

    • Sydney says:

      @Kari: Thanks for the tip!

      @Caroline: Thank you!

      @Michelle: Me either!

      @Ben: I have and everything they make is amazing. After trying their bourbon pecan pie (and their chocolate cloud cookies, red velvet cake, and an assortment of their cupcakes), I went out and bought their book immediately.

  17. Caroline says:

    Pastry cream is on my baking bucket list. I really have to give it a go – I love it so much and yet have never made it! These cupcakes are gorgeous!

  18. Michelle says:

    Oh, this sounds awesome. Haven’t seen or tasted a recipe from Baked yet that has disappointed.

  19. Ben says:

    Is this the same Baked as the one out in Brooklyn? Have you had a chance to visit them yet? They seem to come up in nearly every baked good “best of” list.

  20. traci says:

    Kari- I hear ya! Last year I made sisters wedding cake with a pastry cream filling and scouted the beans at costco, but my husband made be wait until it was closer to the wedding to buy them and of course, they were nowhere to be found. I was livid and had to drive around to 4 stores before finding them. Lesson learned, I bought a ridiculous amount – they freeze great.
    If anyone is wondering – the 2 vials contain 5 beans each so it’s around $12 for 10 beans, an amazing price.

  21. Samantha says:

    Wonderful! Currently my cupcakes are cooling and my pastry cream is in the fridge. I am insaaaanely excited for them!

    Just a note – step 2 uses ‘butter’ twice instead of ‘shortening.’ I hate being that person that corrects websites (especially one as fantastic as yours!) but I was a little thrown off, as the pictures depict mixing the butter and shortening together pre-creaming with sugar, and step 2 neglects the shortening! (it 100% didn’t matter the order I creamed or added the shortening/butter, as I did just eat a cupcake and it was WONDERFUL.)

    As always, thank you for the perfect recipe!

  22. Jess says:

    Mmm! Alright. Count me in. These look like they’re out of a movie scene with the adorable topped cherry and sprinkles.

  23. kwanster says:

    awww that looks so cute!! banana + pastry cream = Yummmo!

  24. […] adapted this recipe from regular banana cupcakes that I found on Crepes of Wrath.  Simply, I subbed mango for some of the banana.  And I veganized […]

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