Last weekend, we went camping. When we returned, I found three VERY ripe bananas in the refrigerator. I knew something needed to be done with them before they were completely useless, but I just didn’t feel like baking banana bread.
So I made banana cake instead! I knew from the get-go that I wanted the cake slightly more healthy (surprise surprise!) than the original recipe. So I swapped whole wheat flour for the AP flour and used maple syrup in place of the brown and white sugar. To compensate for the maple syrup, I increased the flour by 1/4 cup.
This recipe was very forgiving, even with all of my crazy substitutions. The cake was moist and flavorful and rose beautifully in the oven.
The original recipe instructed me to serve the cake with slightly sweetened whipped cream. Since I don’t take orders from recipes very readily, I just served it with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkled it with some toasted pecans.
Maple & Pecan Banana Cake
from How to Bake by Nick Malgieri
For the Cake
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 2 3.4 cups (11 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup mashed, not pureed, bananas
- 3/4 cup milk or buttermilk
For the Frosting
- 1 eight-ounce package cream cheese
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened but still firm
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup toasted pecans, for garnish
To make the cake:
1) Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 13×9-inch glass baking dish and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2) In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand beater, cream the butter until soft and light. Gradually add the maple syrup and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes more, or until very light. The butter and maple syrup may separate slightly.
3) Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bowl and beaters occasionally. Beat in the vanilla.
4) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture along with the milk and bananas. Beat on low speed just until combined.
5) Scrape the batter into the prepare pan and bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until the cake is well risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack, removing the paper, and allow to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
1) In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter, maple syrup, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
2) Store in the refrigerator until serving. If the frosting becomes too hard, let it sit a room temperature until spreadable.
To serve the cake:
Cut the cake into desired sized pieces. Spread with frosting. Garnish with toasted pecans. Serve immediately.
Makes approximately twenty-four 2-inch squares