Today is a special day! It’s a certain someone’s birthday… you know, that guy I live with? Yeah. It’s his birthday.

Brownie Banana Bread Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting I

He turns 83 today!

Oye. Okay, he’s really only in his 30s. I guess the “he’s older than me” jokes got old themselves about three years ago. I’d say I need some new material but the fact is that he gives me new material daily. Sometimes even hourly.


This marks the 5th birthday that Mr. How Sweet and I will celebrate together. In fact, we started “officially” dating only a few days before his birthday 5 years ago. “Official” simply meaning that I had to stop flirting with other boys and he had to stop drunk-dialing girls. True story!


I thought he was super old. I am the oldest child – the oldest cousin, grandchild – oldest everything. So to be dating someone that was 10 years older than me… it seemed like a big deal because it was just different than anything I was used to. I denied the feelings for a long, long time (read: like seven months) before he finally broke me down and got me to commit. Romantic right?


Next came our first “official” date. I’m not going to explain anymore of this “official” business but you are more than welcome to speculate. He planned a fun night: going to see a Pirates games (if that’s what you want to call it) which really translates to eating a bunch of Pittsburgh-themed food while watching fireworks, then going out for dinner and drinks. It was the perfect end to summer and I was even too annoyingly enamored with him to care that he was taking me a baseball game outdoors in 90 degree heat. AKA: my worst nightmare. I’m a huge sweater.

Just before we arrived he decided to glance at the tickets and realized they were actually for September 30th – over a week away. Oops! Secretly I thought this was perfect because it would be a fun way to celebrate his birthday… which was on the 30th. Trying to figure out what to buy your new boyfriend for his birthday is challenging… you don’t really know each other well enough to be fully aware of his favorite interests (or insanely annoying quirks) and well, when he’s a good bit older than you and has his own place, and when you have only ever dated boys who lived with their parents and taken you to the Olive Garden where they order the Tour of Italy every.dang.time… yeah, it’s challenging.


So I stopped fretting about what to plan and simply had to find the perfect gift for his birthday… which was on the 30th.


Brownie Banana Bread Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting I

Yeah. Not sure if you’ve looked at a calendar… but today is September 20th, so you can imagine how great it is forgetting your new boyfriend’s birthday two days after you started dating. Someone clued me in that morning on the 20th back in 2006 – of course after I had talked to him numerous times with no mention of a birthday. I argued back, “uhh… no. His birthday is on the 30th. I know this!” To which I was just stared at with a blank glare.

Turns out, his birthday is September 20th. Who knew? Instead of admitting defeat and turning his day around, I acted like the stubborn ass that I am and pretended that I “purposely” forgot just so I could surprise him. And my pathetic attempt at “surprising” consisted of me tying a balloon to his door like he’d just had a baby or something and buying him a season of Entourage on DVD, because seriously, what do you get the guy you’ve been seeing for two whole days?!


I still have a difficult time deciding what to buy for his birthday considering he has almost everything and what he really wants (a vintage $60,000 Rolex, anyone?) I can only dream to afford. So I just make him food and give him a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need.

He loves chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes after they’ve been in the fridge, so I went the cupcake route. As I was frosting them, I called out, “you like banana bread, right?”

Him: “Ugh, no. You know I don’t like banana bread! I only like bananas when they are green and banana bread has black bananas in it. Blech.”


Hmmmm. I thought that sounded eerily familiar.

Fail. What the eff? Why do birthdays and I not get along?

Brownie Banana Bread Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting I

Lucky me, these looked too appetizing for him to turn down. After I frosted them and packed them away for the night, and after we returned home from seeing Straw Dogs and fulfilling my Alexander Skarsgard void, he opened the fridge and yelled, “What the %$&@ is in this container? I think I want one.”


I then spent the next 20 minutes watching him eat four cupcakes over the sink with a can of Diet Coke. Apparently cupcakes are the new chocolate chip cookie.

So there’s that. If that isn’t love… I don’t know what is.


Oh! And by the way, Mr. How Sweet has a name. I know…weirrrd. But let’s be serious – you’ve probably wanted to virtually stab my eye out every time I type the words “Mr. How Sweet” as much as I mentally punch myself in the face each time I write it. His name is Eddie. Or Ed, which my dad calls him because he thinks it’s more manly. I might still call him Mr. How Sweet or I might call him Ed or I might call him something completely different, but I sure as heck won’t call him late for dinner.*

Brownie Banana Bread Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting I

Brownie Banana Bread Cupcakes

[adapted from my brown sugar banana cupcakes + red velvet brownies]

makes 20 cupcakes

brownie layer

1/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder

pinch of salt

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips, lightly tossed in flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy – about 3-4 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, and mix until combined, scraping down the bowl a few times. With the mixer on medium speed, add in flour, salt and cocoa powder, mixing until just combined. Line a cupcake tin with liners, then spoon about 1/2-3/4 of a tablespoon of brownie batter in each cup. Press down with the back of a spoon coated in non-stick spray.

cupcake layer

1 1/3 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

1 egg

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup butter, melted

Combine dry flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside. In a bowl, whisk egg and add brown sugar, mixing until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract. Add sour cream and melted butter and mix. Stir in dry ingredients, then add mashed bananas and mix until batter comes together. The batter will be thicker than normal cupcakes. Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measure, scoop batter in liners over top of brownie batter. Bake for 15-18 minutes, then let cool completely before frosting.


Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cups of butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature

8 ounces (1 brick) of cream cheese, at room temperature

1 3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese in the bowl of your electric mixer until completely combined and creamy, scraping down the sides a few times. Add in brown sugar and powdered sugar, beating on low speed and gradually increasing to medium speed. Add in vanilla extract. Beat frosting for 4-5 minutes on medium-high speed until really creamy and combined. This frosting is not very thick or study, so make sure to either frost immediately before eating, or keep in the refrigerator for up until 30 minutes before serving.

Brownie Banana Bread Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting I

*yeah… desperately need some new material.

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195 Responses to “Brownie Banana Bread Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting.”

  1. #
    mary beth — August 8, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

    Just made these last night for my 3-yr-old’s little birthday party…ummm…AMAZING. You are a genius. That’s all I have to say.


  2. #
    Twanna Sandus — April 22, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

    There are three main myths about the creation of the brownie. The first, that a chef accidentally added melted chocolate to biscuit dough. The second, a cook forgot to add flour to the batter. And thirdly, the most popular belief, that a housewife did not have baking powder and improvised with this new treat. It was said that she was baking for guests and decided to serve these flattened cakes to them. This became our beloved treat of today. Whatever may be the case; all three myths have gained popularity throughout the years due to its mysterious beginnings.”

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  3. #
    vaish — October 13, 2013 @ 5:33 am

    Hi.. I tried making these cupcakes but there were a couple of things I wanted to check on first:).. you haven’t mentioned what should be done about the chocolate chips for the brownies.. and also when I baked them for 18 minutes they were still not done( brownie batter was runny:(((.. please help!!!


    • Sara — June 19th, 2014 @ 1:15 pm

      Every oven is different. Mine took closer to 20 minutes. Also depends on size of muffin tins you use. Next time, you lightly touch center and will be able to tell if runny and just set for additional 5 minutes. They will be done when spring back when you lightly touch.


  4. #
    Sara — June 19, 2014 @ 1:13 pm

    Delicious! They were better the 2nd day and straight from the fridge. Only things I would do different next time is double the brownie part, and fill with 1/2 brownie mixture and 1/2 banana bread mixture because I was having a hard time tasting the brownie in these. I would either cut the banana bread mixture in half or use leftover to put in loaf pan. I would also consider using a different icing without the cream cheese because was a little rich, but that’s a personal preference. However, once they were in the fridge overnight, this wasn’t as big a deal.



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