These healthy banana cupcakes are gluten-free, dairy free and sweetened only with agave. The recipe is even grain-free with the use of almond flour. Eggs, plenty of blueberries and 2 soft bananas are most of the rest of the ingredients. Yes, there is sweetener (agave), because these ARE cupcakes mind you. But these are cupcakes I can feel pretty good about eating.
Almond flour– be sure to use almond flour – not almond meal. It is also known as blanched almond flour which removes the brown skin from the almonds before milling. Also a super fine flour will work best.
Bananas – As with banana bread, be sure that the bananas are very ripe – mostly brown. The more ripe the bananas the stronger the flavor. But there is an option if your bananas are not ripe enough. Peel off half of the peel (lengthwise) and place on a small plate, peel side down. Microwave for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Almost ripe enough will need around 30 seconds, barely brown 1 minute or more,
Blueberries – I know, blueberries are usually a muffin thing but the blueberries add nutrition as well as awesome flavor and natural sweetness to these “healthy” cupcakes. Fresh blueberries are my preference but frozen blueberries can be used too. Rinse the frozen blueberries in a strainer with cold water until the water runs almost clear. Dry the berries on an absorbent kitchen towel.
Agave nectar is the only sweetener in these cupcakes – no cane sugar. If you don’t have any agave, you can whip up this agave nectar substitute with just brown sugar and water.
To be sure that these cannot be mistaken for muffins, I topped these cupcakes with a coating of chocolate ganache, which is simply chocolate melted with cream, coconut cream in this case. To keep it low-sugar I use Lakanto chocolate chips – monkfruit sweetened. Another option to keep it low sugar is with Ghirardelli 92% Bittersweet Chocolate or Lindt Excellence Bar 90%. The natural sweetness of the coconut cream will help to balance the bittersweet chocolate,
The white icing, instead of using powdered sugar, is made with coconut cream whipped with a tiny bit of agave. The coconut cream is naturally sweet so just teaspoon of sweetener does the trick to make these cupcakes beautiful & delicious. See my full post and video Icing without powdered sugar.
Healthy Banana Cupcakes with Almond Flour
- 2 very ripe bananas
- 6 Tbsp maple syrup/agave
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cup super fine blanched almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 c blueberries fresh or frozen
Icing without Powdered Sugar
- 1/4 c coconut cream canned, do not shake, stir or refrigerate
- 1 tsp agave
- 3/4 c chocolate chips or 6 oz chopped 90% bittersweet chocolate
- 2 Tbsp coconut cream
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
- If using frozen blueberries: Place the blueberries in a strainer and rinse under cold water until the water draining out runs almost clear. Place on a towel and dry them thoroughly. Place in the fridge on a dry towel until ready to use.
- Mix the almond flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a small bowl
- Puree the banana with the agave/maple syrup in the blender or using an immersion blender so that there are no chunks. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients and stir until smooth.
- Stir in the blueberries.
- Fill the liners to 3/4 full.
- Bake 22-25 minutes or until the top is set and bounces back from a gentle tap.
- Cool in the cupcakes in the pan 5 minutes then cool on a wire rack.
- While the cup cakes are cooling prepare the toppings.Make the Icing without Powdered Sugar
- DO NOT SHAKE or stir the can of coconut milk. Scrape the thick, white cream off the top. There may or may not be coconut water underneath. Save the rest for the ganache.
- There will likely be some chunks in the coconut cream. Puree in the blender or with an immersion blender to be sure it is smooth.
- Stir in the sweetener. If it seems too thin, refrigerate 5 minutes and top just before serving.
- For best results, place in a squeeze bottle. Shake before using.
Make the Chocolate Ganache
- To keep it low sugar, use either Lakanto chocolate chips or a 90-92% bittersweet chocolate (Ghirardelli makes a great one).
- Stir the coconut cream remaining in the can then spoon out the 2 Tbsp.
- Place the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate and 2 Tbsp coconut cream in a microwave save bowl.
- Heat in the microwave on high for 20 seconds. Stir.
- Heat for an additional 20 seconds. The chocolate will not be completely melted – do not heat any further. Stir until the residual heat melts it.
- Spread onto cooled cupcakes. Let it set for 15 minutes then drizzle on the icing using a squeeze bottle or spoon.