Chunky monkey cupcakesDennis Weaver

We have a store in Rigby, Idaho. Most of our business is online but the store is such a great way for us to connect with customers and get suggestions. We serve samples to our customers and learn what they love and what they aren’t so crazy about. They love Chunky Monkey Cupcakes.

One sweet lady picked up a Chunky Monkey Cupcake to eat on the way home. I chatted with her for a few minutes before she left. She was back to the store in about fifteen minutes.

“Give me everything I need to make those cupcakes,” she insisted.

What do you need to make Chunky Monkey Cupcakes?

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes are banana cupcakes with chocolate chips and with a banana Bavarian cream filling in the center. They’re made with nuts and topped with a banana buttercream frosting.

So what are the key ingredients?


The Cupcakes

We don’t often use the boxed store mixes we find in the grocery store. They are too light and fluffy and when the cupcakes are filled with cream and frosted, there is just not enough substance to create a balance between the sweet and the cake. We use our cream cake mixes designed for cupcakes but the recipe below is a reasonable substitute. A cream cake is not as light as boxed mix but not as dense as a pound cake.

The Filling

No one should make Bavarian cream from scratch—not when you can buy pre-made for less than three bucks a pound. This is much easier.

In the following video, we show you how to fill cupcakes right from the dispenser bag—just poke and squeeze—but in this case, we added mashed bananas, three parts Bavarian cream to one part bananas. We loaded a pastry bag with a top and filled it with the banana cream. We loaded the cupcakes just like in the video.

The World’s Easiest Way to Make Filled Cupcakes

The Frosting

This is a buttercream frosting with a banana flavor. Meringue powder was added to make the frosting stiffer and get it to hold its shape during the course of the day. We constantly add meringue powder to our buttercream frosting. It’s a great stabilizer.

The Recipe for Chunky Monkey Cupcakes (from scratch)

Once upon a time, we spent a week in the test kitchen making banana muffins. We tested and tried muffins until we knew what made them work, how to make the best banana muffins. We adapted this cupcake recipe from our muffin recipe.

From that week in the test kitchen, we learned that all bananas are not created equal. Some are sweeter than others; some have more flavor. Even with the best of bananas, it’s a stretch to get enough flavor. Banana bread, cakes, and muffins need to be reinforced with banana flavor.


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups ripe mashed banana

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup sour cream (not low fat)

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 large egg yolks

1 1/ 2 teaspoons banana flavor

2/3 cup walnut pieces

2/3 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl, mix the mashed banana, sugar, sour cream, vegetable oil, water, egg yolks, and flavor together.
  3. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until the ingredients are mixed well. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chunks.
  4. Line 22 to 24 cavities with paper cupcake liners. Divide the batter between them.
  5. Bake for 14 minutes. (Because different ovens heat and cool differently, times may vary.) Remove the cupcakes from the pan to a rack to cool.
For the Filling

1 cup Bavarian cream pastry filling
1/3 cup mashed bananas

Mix the Bavarian cream and mashed bananas together. Place in a pastry bag equipped with a star tip. Poke the tip into the tops of the cupcakes squeezing the filling into the centers of the cupcakes. Frost after filling.

For the Frosting

1 teaspoon banana flavor

1 cup butter

2-1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons meringue powder

4 tablespoons milk or cream, more or less to reach the right consistency

Make a vanilla buttercream frosting from our mix or with a recipe. Add two teaspoons banana flavor.

Yes, it worked. It really worked. We’ll stack these cupcakes up against any other Chunky Monkeys.

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