Banana candy gives bananas a bad reputation. When I was a kid, I liked bananas enough but banana candy was just gross. Most kids feel the same. Those yellow-wrappered candies always pile up at the bottom of the otherwise-empty candy jar. Now I eat a lot more other sweets - cakes, cookies, ice cream - and less candy. Through many tastings I've realized that real bananas are a delicious addition to desserts.
My first introduction to a banana dessert that I liked was fried bananas at a Thai restaurant. The bananas caramelized under the heat of frying. They were buttery yet sweet, and the scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream on the side balanced out the flavors. There was no banana-candy-flavor flooding my mouth and the banana dessert was delicious.
Two years ago, a friend got a banana cake for their birthday. It was delicious. There were strong hints of that sweet, caramelized, buttery banana flavor floating throughout a moist and fluffy cake. The creamy vanilla frosting again added a balance that helped your mouth absorb the intermingled flavors. I couldn't wait until the next time I had past-their-prime bananas so I could make my own banana cake.
2 bananas, ripe
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 sticks butter, salted
3 cups flour
Crumb Topping Steps
1. Whisk together the first three dry topping ingredients: white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon.
2. Melt the butter. Pour over sugar mixture and stir butter in.
3. Add flour to sugar and butter mixture, mixing until evenly combined.
Banana Cake Steps
4. Roast the two bananas (still in the peel) in the oven while it preheats. After 20 minutes, remove then from the oven and let cool.
5. Cream the butter until fluffy.
6. Add the sugar and vanilla. Beat until fluffy.
7. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition.
8. In a seperate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
9. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined.
10. Add 1/2 of the sour cream to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined.
11. Add the second 1/3 of the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Add the second half of the sour cream, mixing until just combined. Add the remainder of the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
12. In a small bowl, mash the roasted and peeled bananas.
13. Fold bananas into cake batter.
14. Pour cake mix into buttered and floured pan.
15. Grab handfuls of the topping mixture, squeazing into large crumbs as you sprinkle the topping onto the batter. Start sprinkling the topping around the edges of the cake, working your way in. The majority of the crumbs should lay towards the edges of the cake - too much topping in the middle of the cake will prevent it from rising properly.
16. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the cake springs back when you touch it and a toothpick insterted into the middle comes out clean.