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Tropical Paradise Banana Cake
For an exquisite variation on plain banana bread, try this large cake with banana, chocolate, and coconut: the coconut topping toasts to a rich, deep brown. You can save your over-ripe bananas in the freezer until you have several. Two minutes on defrost in the microwave will thaw a frozen banana; if you end up with more puré than you need for this recipe, simply freeze the excess in a small container to use later in another recipe.

Batter

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups ripe bananas

 

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 cups unbleached white flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

˝ tsp salt

1 cup sour cream

Filling & Topping

˝ cup firmly packed Demerara sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

˝ cup large flake coconut

Banana Bread
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Preheat oven to 350° F. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack.

Combine the brown sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl or measuring cup.  Mix the chocolate chips and coconut in a separate bowl.

Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a very large mixing bowl.  Add eggs and continue beating until smooth.

Banana Bundt Cake
Slice bananas into a 4 cup measuring cup and mash with a potato masher, adding more until the 2 cup level is reached. Over-ripe bananas can be stored in the freezer until you are ready to bake and have roughly four small bananas. Three large bananas and one pear make 2 1/2 cups. Core the pear, but you need not peel it.

Add the vanilla and mashed fruit to the butter mixture and beat well.  Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.  Add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream, ending with dry.  Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each dry addition.

Pour a little less than half of the batter into a greased 13” x 9” baking pan or large bundt pan.  Use your fingers to sprinkle half of the sugar and cinnamon mixture over the batter.  Distribute half of the chips and a little less than half of the coconut over the sugar mixture.  Then, pour the remaining batter into the pan and spread it smoothly.  Repeat sprinkling the sugar & cinnamon, chips, and coconut over the top of the batter, ending with the coconut.

Bake in the center of preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until center springs back when pressed. Makes approximately 12 servings. Freezes well.

A Piece of Cake: banana
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