Last week, my parents rented a spacious house in Lake Tahoe with four bedrooms, a living room and loft, a wraparound porch, two-story-tall floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides, and an airy kitchen with a double oven. I nearly called the owners on the spot when I first opened the door to ask if I could housesit semi-permanently. Two ovens and all of that natural light? It was a baking blogger’s dream!
Wednesday afternoon, I shoved my PJs and hiking clothes into a small overnight duffel and hopped in my cart to twist and turn my way up those winding mountain roads to spend 24 hours with them. I eased into the driveway shortly before 6 pm, and with all of our stomachs growling, we backtracked three miles into Tahoe City to dine out at one of our favorite tiny restaurant chains: Jake’s on the Lake.
The hostess seated us a table out on the back patio, gazing out over the docks where the sailboats gently bobbed in the small waves while their siblings, tiny triangles way out in the distance, gracefully floated on the other side of the massive lake.
Knowing we mainly came for dessert, we ordered a side salad and two entrées—halibut and ahi—to split between the three of us. While we nibbled, we chatted and caught up, occasionally staring out over the water at the gloomy rainclouds gathering and bumping into each other, sending down long slivers of lightning, accompanied by loud bass drums of thunder, about 10-20 miles away.
When our server set down our highly anticipated sweet treat, a gigantic “Hula Pie” ice cream dessert (I created a smaller copycat recipe last summer!), we dug in with spoons and forks (required for that thick Oreo crust) with ice cream flying towards out mouths so quickly that it probably appeared as if we hadn’t eaten any in 10 years.
With fully satisfied stomachs, we paid the bill and drove home, settling back into the lounge chairs on the porch to watch the rosy pink sunset. As the stars started twinkling in the slowly darkening sky, another bolt of lightning flashed almost directly above our heads, immediately followed by a loud clap of thunder that rattled our eardrums, so we dashed inside just before the heavens opened and raindrops pelted the deck.
With Mom in an easy chair and Dad on the larger couch, I curled up on the love seat, staring out through the two-story-tall windows at the tiny beads of water slowly trickling down the glass. Although I generally dislike the rain, I gladly welcomed it in Tahoe. It forced me to slow down—something I don’t normally do with this full-time blogging job!—and I felt so cozy inside of the comfortable cabin.
Just like my Tahoe thunderstorm experience, these Peanut Butter Banana Cupcakes are cozy and filled with familiar flavors. Pretty swirls of slightly nutty frosting sit atop the tender banana cakes—a fun rendition of Elvis’s favorite PB and banana sandwich! Despite their sweet taste, they’re still skinny and clean-eating. Yes, they contain NO butter, refined flour or refined sugar!
The banana cupcake batter comes together in a snap. Whisk the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another; mix them together (remember to alternate additions for the most tender cupcakes!) then spoon the batter into lined muffins cups and bake. It’s that easy—no mixer required! The cupcake batter will be very thick, almost like muffin batter, but with two entire mashed bananas and Greek yogurt, they still turn out fabulously moist.
I used whole wheat pastry flour in these cupcakes. Compared to regular whole wheat flour, the pastry variety is ground a little finer and produces a lighter texture closer to all-purpose flour. I chose Bob’s Red Mill, one of my favorite brands. If you don’t own whole wheat pastry flour, you can substitute either regular whole wheat (to keep them “clean”) or all-purpose, but the regular whole wheat may turn out ever so slightly denser.
After biting into one fresh out of my oven (the official taste test!), I nearly squealed with joy and texted my guy. “I think these banana cupcakes are the best I’ve ever made.” So moist… So tender… So full of banana flavor. And without the frosting, they totally count as muffins! So I left a few unfrosted to nibble on for breakfast for a couple of days.
But since Greek yogurt is the base from the frosting, you could probably still count a frosted cupcake as breakfast food too! That’s right, the frosting is just Greek yogurt, peanut butter, Stevia (or your favorite sweetener), and a tiny bit of xanthan gum to stiffen it up and make it pipe-able. If you don’t have xanthan gum, you can skip it! Just spread the frosting across the tops instead.
With their classic flavor combination, these healthy Peanut Butter Banana Cupcakes are an absolutely irresistible dessert. With their minimal prep and super easy frosting, they’re perfect for easy weeknight treats, laid-back weekend get-togethers, or even a special birthday dessert!
Other than the two I brought up to the cabin for my parents, I saved the rest for me—because who wouldn’t want healthy cupcakes for breakfast?
If you like this recipe, then be sure to follow my Healthy Baking board on Pinterest!