Put some extra-ripe bananas to good use in these triple chocolate banana cupcakes. A dark chocolate buttercream and homemade caramel sauce drizzle makes them an irresistible dessert!
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin tin with paper liners. This recipe makes about 16 cupcakes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time. Beat until incorporated.
On low speed again, add the mashed banana. Then, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing after each addition. Finally, add the buttermilk and beat on medium speed until just incorporated.
Using a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins, filling each one about 2/3 of the way full. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick, it should come out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cupcakes cool in tins for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and beat until combined.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the cocoa powder, then the powdered sugar, mixing to incorporate after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, then add the heavy cream one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Frost cupcakes as desired.
Over medium heat, melt the sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon until melted (it will begin to clump together then melt completely into an amber-colored liquid).
Reduce heat to low and add butter (the sugar may bubble and splatter when the butter is added, this is okay). Continuing stirring until the butter is melted and incorporated with the melted sugar.
While continuing to stir the mixture, slowly pour in the heavy cream (the mixture will bubble and splatter again). Mix until incorporated, then increase heat to medium again. Allow caramel to boil for another minute or so, stirring occasionally.
Remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Pour into a heatproof jar or bowl and let cool until no longer hot, but still fluid. Use a spoon to drizzle the caramel over the cupcakes. Top with banana chips!