Banana Bread – Banana Cake
Can someone could explain to me what the difference between Banana Bread and Banana Cake is? I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with an explanation, any explanation…and I just can’t think of one. If you presume that because Banana ‘Bread’ is made in a loaf pan, whereas a cake is usually baked in a round pan—by that same logic, Pound Cake would be Pound Bread, which doesn’t sound quite as inviting. So you’re going to have to try harder.
Take muffins, for example. It’s funny when people eat a muffin thinking they’re being so ‘healthy’. The word ‘muffin’ is just the Latin derivative of ‘deceptive baked-good’. (Go ahead…look it up.) Swapping oil for butter, which often happens in muffins is fine, but you’re not fooling anyone, folks.
You can make them in little molds, and you can eat all the muffins you darn well want for breakfast, but I had an intern once who was in culinary school and she told me they were making something called ‘Health Muffins’ in their classes which had a whopping 900 calories each. Add a big, tall caramel latte with a crown of whipped cream and a sqiggle of caramel and that’s one, um, healthy way to start the day, I tell you. I’ll stick with a croissant, or a slab of Banana Cake, merci.
Since I was on the subject of using up leftover egg whites a bit back, I was thinking about this Banana Cake, or Banana Bread, which uses up one of them. Hey..it’s a start. And that’s the kind of logic goes through my brain.
So I’m also the kind of person who if I have one egg white leftover, I’ll go out and buy bananas, sour cream, chocolate chips and more eggs just to make a Banana Cake.
But why not try making one yourself? For one thing, it’s easy as pie to put together. For another, it actually really does fall into the ‘healthy’ and low-fat category—there’s just a smidge of butter added and just a bit of sour cream, low-fat or regular can be used, which you could probably swap out with yogurt and be just as healthy and happy. And speaking of nuts, you could add a handful of toasted walnuts or pecans if you’re so inclined.
This is a recipe I’ve been making for years and I love it. It’s a variation of my Banana Upside Down Cake with Chocolate Chips, but I thought it was time to revisit it. And that one egg white was driving me nuts! You’ll notice I didn’t do the caramelized banana topping like on the original, which you’re welcome to do. Now stop loafing around and make it. It’s so simple—in fact, it’s a piece of cake. Or bread.
Banana Cake or Banana Bread
Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) cake
Be sure to use very ripe bananas, whichever you choose: the skin should have black speckles on them and be soft to the touch. I often add a shot of hyper-strong espresso to the batter, which is positively delicious. People often raise an eyebrow when I tell them how good coffee is with bananas, but since coffee is a tropical fruit (or berry), as are bananas, the combination makes sense.
- 1½ cups (210g) flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (I always use Rumford)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup (150g) sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30g) melted butter (salted or unsalted)
- 1 large egg white
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 cup (250ml) banana puree, made from about 2 very ripe medium-sized bananas
- ½ cup (125ml) sour cream, regular or low-fat
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (60g) chocolate chips or 3 tablespoons (30 g) cocoa nibs
Butter a 9-inch (23cm) square pan and line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350F (180 C).
1. Sift together in a bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix in the sugar.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, egg white, egg, banana puree, sour cream, vanilla and espresso, if using.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and stir in the wet ingredients with a spatula until almost mixed. Add in the chocolate chips or cocoa nibs and stir until just combined, but don’t overstir: stop when any traces of flour disappear.
4. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until the center feels lightly-springy and just done.
5. Cool on a baking rack.
Storage: This cake will keep well for 3-4 days, or can be frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap, for a few months.
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