Bananas seem to be the perfect fruit for baking on top of just being an awesomely nutritious fruit. They keep everything moist, they add natural, healthful sugar and they taste awesome to boot. Did I mention they are inexpensive and most people have them on hand? Baking with them is practically no fail. My husband is a banana lover and I am constantly searching for sweet treats he can enjoy with his lap-band diet restrictions (low fat, almost no sugar, low sodium).
If you are trying to figure how to use sugar substitutes, baking with bananas will allow you the most forgiveness. I found that substituting Stevia for sugar worked well in this recipe. Stevia tends to be sweeter than sugar, I always use a 1/4 c. less and add in a tablespoon or two of honey or sugar to ensure I still get that chemical reaction (or carmelization) that sugar gives but Stevia does not. The science simply can't be avoided, so I never go completely sugar free in baking, however when you divide 2 tablespoons or less of sugar in your recipe, the amount is almost negligible.
I don't ever replace honey in a recipe as it is a good sugar: It has many medicinal properties. Honey was used by the ancient Egyptians to make a neosporin like salve that would stave off infections and heal wounds. The old wives cure of tea with honey has some merit because honey has natural antiseptic properties, along with soothing a sore throat. I recently learned that helps with gastro-intestinal ailments as well. Plus, the body processes it much slower than traditional cane sugar. You can read all about the goodness of honey here.
Instead of butter, I used Smart Balance with Olive Oil- it's half butter and half olive oil (which is loaded with fats your body needs). There's also another good product on the market called Best Life Spread. I find its tastes great and does the job butter would do. If you are a traditionalist, use butter.
This recipe came from Everyday Food via Martha Stewart dot com. I am very glad I printed it out because I can no longer find it on their site. My only critique is that it only makes 12 cupcakes. The icing is a perfect complement to the cupcakes, and thankfully, I'm sharing both here.
(I wished I had taken a photo of these cupcakes because they were as pretty as they were delicious, except my cupcake liners had footballs on them for some reason. No one cared because they were too busy peeling them off to get them into their mouths. Photo Fail. I'll make them again soon and post a photo, but I wanted to type this for my friend, Michelle, whose husband did the grocery shopping- You can guess how many bananas she now owns.)
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter (1 stick) melted
1 1/2 c. mashed or pureed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas)
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 t. vanilla extract (the real stuff, not imitation-yuck!)
Preheat oven the 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with 12 paper cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, whisk dry ingredients.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. In well, mix together bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate dry ingredients. Do not over-mix. Spoon batter evenly into cups.
Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Ice with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting.
1 1/4 c. confectioners sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter (1 stick) softened
1 T. honey
1/8 t. ground cinnamon
Using an electric mixer, beat ingredients in a bowl until smooth- about 5 minutes. If it doesn't look like icing, keep mixing until it does! Trust me, it will get there.
Now, unfortunately, you can't sub Stevia for confectioners sugar. You may be able to find a confectioners sugar substitute- I think I may have spotted one the last time I was grocery shopping, but don't quote me. I don't think a little bit of sugary icing hurts on a cupcake. You can always use less icing on the cupcake and add a banana slice or two on top to make up for it. As long as you don't eat 6 cupcakes at once, I think you'll be okay.
Now I'm hoping Martha Stewart won't bake me into a hipster-pot-pie for reprinting her lost recipe.