I pulled my fair share of all-nighters when I was in college. This was aided by my discovery of coffee / coffee flavored drinks. One of my favorite drinks, served at a local coffee shop, was called a Jumping Monkey. It was a simple drink – just a banana blended with 4 shots (yes, 4) of espresso, and it fueled many a late night study session.


Banana Espresso Cupcakes


Although today I can barely stomach 2 shots of espresso (let alone 4), I haven’t forgotten the delicious banana / espresso flavor combination. So in honor of finals week, which at Pitt is this coming week, I decided to create a caffine-laced cupcake version of a Jumping Monkey, and topped it with creamy mocha frosting.

This coffee-house inspired project was not without setbacks. Banana cupcakes are tricky because the moisture-filled  banana tends to weigh down the cake, and the first iteration of the cakes turned out too dense for my taste. I even tried including egg whites beaten to stiff peaks to no avail. That’s when I decided to  try something new – meringue powder. I had some in the cupboard, as it’s often used in cookie decorating. It’s basically dehydrated egg whites with a few other additives to keep it from clumping. When mixed into batter, it adds structure and lift without adding anymore moisture. Just look at the difference it made in my banana cupcakes!


Meringue Powder


Jumping Monkey Cupcakes

(Makes about 12 cupcakes)

1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
2 Eggs
2 ripe Bananas, mashed
1 Tbsp. Instant Espresso
2 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
1 1/2 cup Flour
2 tsp. Meringue Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together espresso powder and heavy cream until dissolved. Then set aside. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until pale yellow, and then add eggs one at a time. Mix in the bananas. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients. Then incorporate the dry ingredients a bit at a time, and mix until fluffy. Pour the batter into floured or lined cupcake tins, and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 min until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.


Easy Mocha Frosting

1/2 cup Butter
2 cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tbsp Instant Espresso
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
1 oz. high quality Semi-Sweet Chocolate

In a small bowl mix espresso powder and cream. Cream butter and sugar then add in espresso mixture. Melt semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler (or carefully in the microwave). Pour melted chocolate into frosting, and mix thoroughly.


Banana Cupcake Mocha Frosting


Here’s to a smooth sailing through finals week.

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One Response to Jumping Monkey Cupcakes with Mocha Frosting

  1. A jumping monkey sounds like my kind of drink! I absolutely love the sound of your cupcakes!

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