Vegan Banana Bread French Toast Cupcakes

Did you catch me on The Perfect 3 with Kelsey Nixon on The Cooking Channel? I showed her how to make yummy vegan cupcakes without any scary ingredients. All you need is stuff you probably already have in your kitchen – bananas, cinnamon, maple syrup and a few other things. If you missed the episode, you can check out my segment here:

Tune into The Cooking Channel to catch a re-run:

  • August 19, 2012 10:00 AM
  • August 21, 2012 11:30 AM
  • August 22, 2012 5:30 PM
  • August 24, 2012 4:00 PM
  • August 25, 2012 10:00 AM

Want to see the video that landed me this sweet appearance? Check it out here!

Vegan Banana Bread French Toast Cupcakes Recipe

vegan banana bread french toast cupcake

By BakeandDestroy Published: July 18, 2012

  • Yield: 12 cupcakes (12 Servings)
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Ready In: 30 mins

Inspired by the breakfast special at Salt & Pepper Diner in Chicago, these cupcakes combine bananas, cinnamon, maple syrup and walnuts for a breakfasty treat any time of day.



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pan with paper liners.
  2. Toast walnuts in a 350 degree oven for just a few minutes – 4-5 should do the trick. Cool, then chop into small pieces.
  3. Throw your mashed banana in a blender or or just smash it with a fork.
  4. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and sugar into a large bowl, mix well.
  5. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, soy or rice milk, vanilla, almond and mashed banana.
  6. Stir or fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Small lumps are fine. Finally, add the walnuts, folding gently.
  7. Fill liners 2/3 full. Bake 20-22 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely before frosting.
    Cooking Channel Kelsey Nixon Natalie Slater Bake and Destroy
  8. To make the vegan maple buttercream frosting, beat together 2 cups confectioner's sugar, 6 Tbs (Earth Balance) margarine 6 Tbs non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, 2 Tbs maple syrup, 1/2 tsp maple extract and a pinch of salt until light & fluffy.

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    Posted in baking on TV, BLOG, Cupcakes, Media, More, Recipes, Vegan, Videos | 7 comments

    15 Minutes with Buddy Valastro of Cake Boss

    Back in June I was issued a challenge by the TLC Cake Crew: make a video featuring your favorite summer dessert for a shot at interviewing Buddy Valastro. It was a competition after my own heart – a chance to act stupid, make dessert and talk to my favorite Jersey native (eat it, Snooki.) I threw on my Elvis shades and whipped up the Cake Shake, Rattle and Roll, a combination of cupcakes, milkshakes, vegan food, terrible puns and cowboy boots that was destined for greatness. A few months later I was crowned the champ, and set up on a conference call with America’s favorite baker, Buddy Valastro.

    Being the couch potato that I am, I’ve been watching Buddy decorate cakes on TV for years. I always loved his “I don’t need this crap” attitude on Food Network’s Cake Challenge, his larger-than-life assistant Mauro, and his Kerry Vincent-defying skills with a piping bag. So when Cake Boss debuted on TLC you can bet Tony and I were instant fans. Plus, my first job in Chicago was at an Italian bakery called Letizia’s and all the yelling and hand-waving brought me back to those days of pressing out 225 caramel nut crostata in an hour while Fabio and Letizia yelled at each other over the sound of NPR on the radio.

    I’ve never been to Carlo’s Bakery (all my trips to the East Coast were made during my 5 years of veganism so my snackventures were limited) but from my own experience shooting reality shows, it’s as real as it gets. Sure, they edit it down to the yelling and the dumping-buckets-of-junk-on-people, but as a hand-waiving, yelling Italian girl, I can tell you that the family interactions are real… and from my 15 minutes with Buddy, I got a sense that he’s a genuine guy as well.

    So I hope you like the interview, I apologize for the sound – I was recording in my office in downtown Chicago and it’s noisy there. One of my Twitter followers called this “the battle of the accents.” Thanks again to TLC and to Buddy for setting this up – and if you need a dinner date in Chicago, I know my way around Taylor Street.

    Posted in baking on TV, BLOG, interviews | 5 comments

    French Toast Cookies + A Cupcake Wars Giveaway

    When Stefanie of Red Velvet Stefanie sent me her French toast cupcake mix Teno could not wait to make it. Every day he harassed me to make them – but the mix makes 24 and I’m pretty sure we never need two dozen cupcakes in our house. We compromised when I remembered a recipe I used to make when I was a kid – cake mix cookies.

    Now, if you’re using store-bought cake mix you can take that recipe and tweak it to your heart’s content. German chocolate was always my favorite, but I’ve had success with banana cake mix, coconut and walnuts and lots of other combinations.

    Since this is a gourmet cake mix, made with actual flour and sugar instead of whatever the balls cake mix is made of, we tweaked my family’s favorite recipe a bit.

    We used:

    • French toast cake mix
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup butter, melted and cooled
    • 1 cup quick oats
    • 1 cup white chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup milk

    Basically, you mix everything together and bake it for about 12 minutes. Not too tough, but Teno and I made a video to show you how. After you watch, keep reading to find out how you can bake along with Stefanie when she competes on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars July 27th.

    That was a family production, by the way. Tony was our camera man. And yes, Teno says bad words and I’m trying to make him stop so just don’t encourage him please.

    So – ready to bake along with Stefanie? Awesome, because she’s going to send one of you her Cupcake Wars Surprise Pack! The pack includes mixes for the four recipes Stef used in competition – did she take home the $10,000? You’ll have to tune in to find out! Leave me a comment about the first thing you ever baked all by yourself and I’ll choose one random winner to bake along with Stef with their very own Cupcake Wars Pack. (I’ll pick a winner one week from today. Open to US addresses only, please!)

    Thanks everyone! Congrats to our winner Samantha!

    Posted in baking on TV, BLOG, Cookies, Videos | 75 comments

    Vegan Cake Shake, Rattle & Roll!

    There comes a time in every girl’s life when cupcakes just aren’t good enough anymore. It happened to me, anyway. Sad, I know… but I decided to face this challenging life event by taking one of my most popular cupcakes – the Vegan Elvis Comeback Special – and turning it into a tall, frosty milkshake.

    I won’t waste your time explaining the how and why because I made this nice video to waste your time with instead:

    The ice cream requires several hours to set up, so I made mine one day ahead.

    For the dairy-free peanut butter ice cream you’ll need:

    • 2 cups coconut (or any other non-dairy) milk
    • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar (or DIY it with this recipe)
    • 1 Tbs pure vanilla extract

    Then you:

    Stir the milk, peanut butter and sugar together over medium heat in a medium-sized sauce pan. Everything should melt together as you stir – bring it to a boil and stir briskly to make sure all the sugar melts. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until chilled. Follow the directions on your ice cream maker to freeze. I use the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment so it takes about 20 minutes to churn. Stick that in the freezer to firm up.

    For the cupcakes you’ll need:

    • 1 mashed ripe banana
    • 1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
    • 2/3 cup non-dairy milk
    • 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp almond extract
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate or vegan chocolate chips, chopped

    Then you:

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your pan with paper liners. (You don’t have to make cupcakes – you can also bake this batter in an 8″ square pan or 9″ round.)
    Smash the banana with a fork – it just needs to be smooshed, but it doesn’t have to be liquid.
    Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, vanilla, almond and mashed banana. Stir or fold the wet ingredients into the dry, but don’t over mix or you’ll get tough cupcakes. Small lumps are fine. Finally, add the chocolate, folding gently. (You could also leave the chocolate out of the cake and add it to the shake at the end.)
    Fill liners 2/3 full. Bake 20-22 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

    Finally you:

    Throw one cupcake in the blender along with 2-3 scoops of ice cream and a splash of non-dairy milk. I went with coconut throughout because it adds a nice sweet flavor. I topped mine with Soyatoo Vegan Whipped Cream, although Melisser tells me that the mix is better because you can add sugar to taste. Topped with a cherry and poured into my Cake Boss pint glass this was a dessert fit for The King.

    Thank you, thank you very much.

    Posted in baking on TV, BLOG, Media, Vegan, Videos | 80 comments

    WTTW Chicago Tonight

    I won’t lie – Angie and I were pretty stoked to hear ourselves referred to as Chicago Tonight’s “resident food bloggers” during a promo as we waited to be called on to the set. Dana Joy would have liked it too, except she was in make up getting a massive bruise covered up. It seems in her smoothie-making frenzy she’d clobbered herself in the face with a kitchen cabinet. Ouch. Ah well, it’s the price you pay for a wild green smoothie!

    We had lots of fun clearing up the Great Macaron Misunderstanding of 2010 and giggling about “other uses” for a yucca. (My friend Lisa put it best, “That yucca could be a home wrecker.”)

    So here’s the clip for my non-Chicagoan friends, I actually haven’t watched yet so I apologize in advance if I made a weird face or pronounced anything wrong. I know for a fact I pulled one boner move and forgot to wear my Lucky Cupcake Hairclip I had all picked out for the show! I was in a mad rush to get to the studio and I left the house with a naked head. Today I am wearing two bows as penance.

    We did a little Q&A with viewers after the show and one great question I got was “Where can I find macarons in Chicago?” Well, I’d definitely check out Fritz Pastry‘s 100 Macaron project – 100 flavors in one year. They have something different every time I visit and they make a mean macaron. (Fritz supplied the macarons I had on the show.) I had my first macaron ever at Vanille Patisserie and you can’t really beat a French confection made by a World Pastry Cup champion, now, can you? Alliance Bakery in Wicker Park has a nice selection of macarons, and of course Macaron Chicago subscribes to the “do one thing and do it well” philosophy. Those are all the macarons I’ve eaten in Chicago – did I miss any?

    Another question was “How do you make a French macaron?” Well, there are lots of recipes and theories to be found, but if it’s your first go at it, you might want to check out this video my friend Lisa and I made for our video blog, BrutalSnack.

    Oh, and I also got a few questions about where one can score a salted caramel cupcake. I cannot stress enough how amazing the salted caramel cupcake from More Cupcakes is. When Cupcake Wars aired I invited the snobbiest of cupcake snobs over for a viewing party and reveled in watching them melt upon taking their first bite. Transcendent. Truly.

    I believe the three of us have become WTTW staples – I can’t wait to go back!

    PS My fabulous Chicago flag bowl was from Circa Ceramics!

    Posted in baking on TV, BLOG | 7 comments

    Food Blogger Unity Forever

    The Early Bird Special

    If you were to walk by the Chicago Tonight green room last night you would have seen what appeared to be three very different women nervously making conversation over a basket of peanut butter cookies. Had you come inside with us, though, you would have met three people on a similar mission – to de-stigmatize eating and food. To wake people up to the fact that eating for pleasure doesn’t have to be gluttonous or unhealthy but that rather, a passion for cooking and eating can only lead to a healthy relationship with food.

    Of course, as I write this, I am eating one of the peanut butter cookies Angie of Angie’s Pantry supplied us with back stage so… don’t cross me off the glutton list too quickly. Seriously, though, meeting Angie and meeting Dana Joy Altman of Real Food Rehab just reinforced what I’ve been feeling for the past few years, since becoming a food blogger myself – food is more than fuel for your body. It’s a unifying force, an expression of love and passion, and it’s a giant ball of yarn for curious cats like me.

    Anyway, it was loads of fun to wander the WTTW hallways. For a kid who grew up watching Bob Serat on the morning news it was a total “look, ma, I really made it” moment. You can watch the segment below – and for the record, 2010 is the year of the French macaron, not the coconut macaron. Although I will not say no to one of those, either. (More on that soon when I post my interview with the folks behind Fritz Pastry!) You can findthe recipes for my retirement village-inspired trip of desserts, the Early Bird special on the WTTW site.

    Special thanks to Lucky Cupcake Hairclips for my cute red bow and Circa Ceramics for the Chicago flag dinnerware.

    PS Tony doesn’t use recipes, so don’t expect his soup recipe anytime soon, sucka.

    Posted in baking on TV, BLOG, Media, News | 15 comments