I am always on the lookout for good recipes for using up overripe bananas. Even though I frequently try new recipes, I keep coming back to this recipe for Banana Nut Coffee Cake with Caramel Icing. I've made it several times and people rave about it. It's a moist cake with a ribbon of cinnamon and nuts, topped with a thick layer of caramel frosting. The generous amount of frosting might be too much for some people, but I love it.
An impulse purchase at Target made the recipe even better. I found cute mini fluted tube pans, sold in packs of two for less than $5, and used them to make mini cakes that I gave to neighbors as holiday treats. I wasn't sure how many mini cakes to make from one recipe, so I guessed at five. I think the shape would be nicer, and the serving size more reasonable (I figure that one mini cake is two servings) if I made six. I liked the mini cakes so much that I may never go back to making one big cake (which is shown below).
Banana Nut Coffee Cake(s) with Caramel Icing
Adapted from Penzeys
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed (3 medium to large)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups flour (I usually use 1 cup all-purpose and 1 cup King Arthur white whole wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a Bundt pan with Bakers Secret and set aside. Combine pecans and cinnamon sugar; set aside. With a mixer, cream shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, banana and vanilla. Add the sour cream and mix until blended. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the batter and beat until blended. Sprinkle half of the sugar/nut mixture into the greased pan. Top with half of the cake batter. Follow with the second half of the sugar/nut mixture and end with the rest of the batter. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in the pan, then turn out the cake to finish cooling. If desired, drizzle with caramel icing.
(For mini cakes, divide between six Wilton mini fluted tube pans. Sorry, I didn't keep track of baking time. Start checking at about 20 minutes.)
Yield: One Bundt cake, 12 – 16 slices or 6 mini cakes, 2 servings each
Caramel icing (Optional but highly recommended. Cut recipe in half if you don't like lost of frosting.)
6 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed (I prefer dark but light works fine)
6 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the sugar and the milk. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 1 minute (it's in bold because I often forget this part). Remove from the heat, add the vanilla and gradually mix in the powdered sugar. Let cool until slightly thickened and drizzle over cake. If too much runs off the cake, wait a few minutes before drizzling again. If it hardens up too quickly, add some more milk to thin it out.