banana cake

Banana Crunch Cake

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I am always amazed at the amount of fruit that I buy -- and that is consumed -- when my children and grandkids come. Quarts of berries of all kinds. Mangoes, pineapples, grapes and kiwi fruit. In season, also stone fruit such as peaches, fresh apricots, plums and so on.

Plus oranges, clementines, grapefruit.

Apples of course.

And bananas. Lots of bananas.

Usually I am left with nothing, which is why I am always amazed, just at the sheer quantity of what has been eaten.

And I am not complaining at the lack of leftovers! Eating fruit is a good thing. Glad my family is good with that.

IF and when I have leftover bananas I use them for banana bread or cake. I have so many different recipes it's difficult to choose one or another, so I often come up with something new.

Like this. The crunchy crust gets it one step beyond homey, making this suitable for company.

 

Banana Crunch Cake

Crust:

  • 1 cup crushed raisin bran or similar flakes
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons liquid coconut oil (or use melted butter)

Combine the cereal, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Pour in the coconut oil and mix until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated. Set aside. 

Cake:

  • 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan. Make the crust and set it aside. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a small bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the vegetable shortening and sugar together at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until creamy and well blended. Add the eggs and bananas and beat the ingredients for another 2-3 minutes or until thoroughly blended. Mix the water and lemon juice together. Add the flour mixture alternating with the lemon-water and blend in ingredients thoroughly. Stir in the vanilla extract. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Cover the top evenly with the crust mixture. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 12-16 servings

 

Banana Fruit Cake

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I don't celebrate Christmas but I do love Christmas fruitcake. You know, the kind everyone makes fun of and laughs about.

So sue me. I like fruitcake. The kind that those in the know bake around Thanksgiving time, wrap in cheesecloth and soak in booze so it will mellow and be ready at Christmas.

My friend Vaughan Mitchell, z"l gave me one of the best fruitcake recipes ever. It was one of his family treasured recipes, from his Grandmother Sue. He and I used to tinker with her recipe every year, add a little of this or that, change the alcohol, add a new fruit or something and then exchange our yearly version every December.

I miss him, our correspondence and the fruitcakes.

I don't make fruitcake anymore because, with the exception of my son-in-law Greg, I am the only person who eats it. 

So this year I decided that, rather than make a fruitcake for just two of us, I would use the best of what I love about fruitcake -- the dried and candied fruit and the booze -- and combine it with banana bread, which everyone likes. And I'll see how it all goes down.

Here's the recipe. The only problem is that I can't eat it because I am allergic to bananas.

So maybe next year maybe I will bake a half recipe of my standard fruitcake plus this. 

Banana Fruit cake

  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups diced dried and/or candied fruit
  • bourbon or brandy, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch (8-cup) bundt pan. Mix the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda together in a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the shortening and sugar until well blended. Add the bananas and blend in thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat well. Add the flour mixture and beat until batter is well blended. Fold in the dried/candied fruit. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and, if desired, brush the surface with 2-3 tablespoons of bourbon or brandy. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a cake rack to cool completely.

Makes one cake, serving 16-18

 

Banana Marble Cake

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Whenever my mother had leftover sour cream that was still safe to eat but had been hanging around the fridge for too long for it to taste fresh, she would use it to bake something. Like her marble cake. 

That cake was a simple wonder. Tender, vaguely sweet, with just enough melted chocolate swirling through the vanilla crumb. Rarely frosted, we ate it like coffee cake, just as is.

I've made that cake many times, and for the same reasons. Leftover sour cream (I also use leftover plain Greek yogurt when I have some). I've made it the original way and with coconut oil in place of shortening. 

Recently I had sour cream and yogurt leftover, the not exactly new kind.

I also had bananas left over. I always have bananas left over. I usually make banana bread with the leftover bananas.

So I took a cue from my mother and decided to bake marble cake. Using bananas.

So good.

Banana Marble Cake

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 very ripe medium bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup dairy sour cream or plain Greek yogurt 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a (10-inch) 8-cup bundt pan. Melt the chocolate and set it aside. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the sugar and eggs for 2-3 minutes or until well blended. Add the vanilla extract and vegetable oil and beat for 1-2 minutes or until thoroughly blended. Add the bananas and sour cream and beat them in. Add the flour mixture and beat for 1-2 minutes or until the batter is well blended. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Pour in half the melted chocolate and swirl it into the batter using a knife or wooden spoon. Repeat with the remaining batter and melted chocolate. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a cake rack to cool completely.

Makes one bread, serving 12-16

 

 

 

 

Banana Cake with Chocolate Chips and Coconut

Every year our synagogue, Temple Beth El in Stamford, CT. brings Christmas dinner to two homeless shelters in the area (and helps serve too). 

This year I roasted a turkey for the event and also sent two cakes, including this one, a Banana Crunch Cake with Chocolate Chips and Coconut.

This is a very versatile recipe. My 9”x13” pan was in use, so I used a 9” square cake pan instead.

The result: cake was fabulous (yes, I cut into it and snipped off a tiny piece for myself!!). It was much moister, although it took longer to bake of course. The sheet cake version has a more tender, more delicate crumb.

Either way — as a tall 9” square cake or a 9”x13 sheet cake, this dessert has all the right counterpoints: tender cake, crunchy top, sweet and salty at the same time. It’s also lovely looking. A good choice for a dessert if you’re having people over for new year dinner.

I’ve made this cake in several variations: you can add chopped dried fruit or raisins or season it with cinnamon or orange peel instead of or in addition to vanilla extract.

Banana Cake with Chocolate Chips and Coconut

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 33/4 cup quick oats
  • 3/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter and set it aside. In a bowl, combine the oats, coconut, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Mix ingredients. Pour in the melted butter. Mix until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated with the butter. Set aside. 

Cake:

  • 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9”x9” cake pan or a 9”x13” cake pan. Make the crust and set it aside. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a small bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until well blended. Add the eggs and bananas and beat the ingredients for another 2-3 minutes or until thoroughly blended. Add the flour mixture and yogurt and blend in ingredients thoroughly. Stir in the vanilla extract and chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Cover the top evenly with the crust mixture. If using a 9”x9” pan, bake for about 50 minutes; if using a 9”x13” pan, bake for about 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 12-18 servings

Banana-Chocolate Cake with Dried Cranberries

Banana Chocolate Cake with Dried Cranberries

Today is last time our local Hadassah chapter will be hosting a Tea for cancer patients and caregivers at Stamford Hospital. The women have been baking and serving hot tea and pastries for 5 years now — in fact today is our 5th Anniversary — to great festivity and much success. The patients, who have been undergoing chemo and other treatments have looked forward to our bi-weekly party. Their caregivers have also enjoyed the respite that this little get-together brings.

Unfortunately we have to stop. Fortunately, it is for a good reason. Stamford Hospital is in a building boom, growing into a modern, state-of-the-art facility. Construction is going on everywhere and there is simply too much confusion already for so many people to be bringing in tables and teapots and cakes and cookies.

We will be back. Afternoon Tea has meant too much to too many people over the last five years for us to give it up.

So, everyone, we’ll see you later, for sure.

This is the last cake for awhile.                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Banana-Chocolate Cake with Dried Cranberries

  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the pan
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup sour cream, plain yogurt or kefir
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a (10-inch) 8-cup bundt pan. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the sugar and eggs for 2-3 minutes or until well blended. Add the vegetable oil and vanilla extract and beat for one minute or until thoroughly blended. Add the bananas and sour cream and beat them in. Add the flour mixture and beat until the batter is well blended. Fold in the cranberries. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 50-55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a cake rack to cool completely.

Makes one cake, serving 12-16