I wanted him to start his special day with some cupcakes to share with his colleagues at work. One of my favorite banana cake recipes comes from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home To Yours. This recipe is usually made in a bundt pan, but it translates nicely into cupcakes. Unlike a lot of other banana cake/bread recipes, this cake isn't overly dense, and has a light texture and is very moist.
If you are interested in making this recipe, Dorie has written about this recipe at Serious Eats. Please note that this link makes a half batch. The recipe I used is from Dorie's cookbook and is a full batch. My only modification to the full batch recipe is to add 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and increase the vanilla extract to 2 tsp. I yielded 28 cupcakes from the recipe.
For the chocolate frosting, I stumbled onto this delicious chocolate buttercream recipe on Joy The Baker's blog. The unexpected ingredient in this recipe is Ovaltine, and I couldn't resist trying this out. I made the buttercream as written, but did cut back on the powdered sugar by 1 cup (as it seemed to be a bit much). I loved the light, creamy texture, and enjoyed the malt flavor from the Ovaltine. This is a terrific recipe!
The combination of the banana cake and the chocolate buttercream was absolutely delicious. Most importantly, I got a huge thumbs up from my birthday boy! :)