Banana Loaf Cake

bananabreadiiWhat makes this a loaf cake, and not a quick bread? Butter, mostly, and the creaming method of incorporating sugar into the butter. While this recipe was originally billed as banana bread, I’m calling it a loaf cake because of its ingredients and its process.

Most quick breads use vegetable oil as their fat, and a process of mixing the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another, and then combining them all at once and mixing until they’re just combined. This recipe calls for creaming the butter and sugar – mixing the sugar into the butter until the mixture becomes light and fluffy – and then adding the remaining wet ingredients of eggs and sour cream, followed by the dry ingredients, like you would mix cake batter.

Whatever you call it, this banana loaf cake – which actually makes two 8 x 4 loaves – is a good way to use up overripe bananas. The streusel topping is optional, and of course you could mix in some walnuts or pecans if you prefer. Next time, I might make a chocolate drizzle icing instead of the streusel topping.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 very ripe medium bananas, mashed

For the streusel topping

  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into cubes

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8 x 4 loaf pans with cooking spray.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

In a mixer, combine butter and sugar; cream together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add eggs and sour cream and mix well, then add mashed bananas and mix well.

Add flour mixture and beat until combined.

Divide batter evenly between loaf pans.

Make the streusel: in a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon; cut in butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle streusel over each loaf; you’ll have enough for both, with just a bit left over.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely or serve warm.

Banana Coffee Cake

banana coffee cakeWhen one’s bananas are overripe, banana bread is an obvious solution. But this time, I wanted to do something different…and so to the internet I went. On another blog, Tide and Thyme, I discovered the recipe below, and although I still think the preparation process is a bit odd everyone proclaimed the end results to be delicious.

Next time, I’d reduce the streusel quantity by about a quarter, as it seemed like a bit much. I’d also add a drizzle icing, which was included in the original recipe but I didn’t use this time – and I’d make it a chocolate drizzle. I might also toss some pecans into the streusel for extra crunch.

Ingredients

For the streusel:

  • 12 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray, set aside.

Make the streusel: in a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or rub in with your hands, like I did) until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs; set aside.

Make the cake: in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat bananas until they become liquefied. Add butter and mix until combined; the mixture will look very lumpy but that’s okay. Add sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla and mix until combined.

With the mixer running on low, carefully add flour and mix until just combined. The batter will be fairly thin for a cake, but this is okay.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan; cover with streusel mixture, then top with remaining batter and remaining streusel.

Bake 50-55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely before serving.

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

pb banana muffinsWhat’s the difference between a muffin and cupcake? A sweet treat like this one might hover on the border of being a cupcake flavor-wise, but what really divides muffins from cupcakes is their chemical makeup and preparation style.

Muffins, which are small quick breads, tend to rely on vegetable oil for their fat content. Their dry ingredients and wet ingredients are mixed separately, then incorporated all at once until they’re just blended to avoid gluten activation so they have a crumbly texture. Muffins can be sweet or savory, ranging from chocolate chip to bacon cornbread.

Cupcakes, which are small cakes, rely mostly on butter for their fat content. Cupcake batter is normally prepared by creaming butter and sugar together, then adding other wet ingredients like eggs and flavorings before finally incorporating the flour to activate the gluten and yield a fluffier, less crumbly texture. While cupcakes tend to be sweet, anyone who’s watched an episode of Cupcake Wars on Food Network knows that all sorts of savory ingredients have appeared in cupcakes in more recent years.

These muffins combine the great flavor friends of peanut butter, banana, and chocolate. They’d be perfect with a bit of peanut butter smeared on them, but they’re also delicious without any further enhancements.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup very ripe mashed bananas (about 3 small bananas)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with paper liners; this recipe yields about 20 muffins.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Add the bananas, milk, peanut butter, vegetable oil, and egg all at once, using a fork to mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of batter into prepared muffin tins, filling about 1/2 to 3/4 full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tops are light golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

Serve warm or cool.