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Mom's Gone Bananas!

I always keep a close watch on bananas that are getting overripe, wondering what muffins or cakes I might make when I get two or three too far gone for anyone to eat. Bananas are a favorite, however, so weeks may go by where the bananas simply disappear without a trace, none lasting long enough to form those tell-tale brown spots of ripeness. So when I saw one that was perfect and knew I’d need a second, I decided to “mark” them for baking!


With my bananas now “reserved,” I could plan my baking sometime in the next 2 or 3 days. I had made the Penuche Frosted Banana Cake recipe once before and it was a huge hit—largely due to the frosting which has a unique praline-like flavor that is amazing. It’s easy to make, too.

Start by gathering all the cake ingredients. I measured the 2 cups sour cream into a 4-cup measure and just added the bananas, and put all the dry ingredients into a medium bowl.


Begin by whisking together all the dry ingredients in the bowl.


Next, mash away at the bananas, smashing them against the side of the measuring cup with a fork, and mixing them together with the sour cream. You can also mash them separately, of course, and then add them to the 2 cups of sour cream.


The recipe calls for adding the bananas, sour cream and vanilla together, so get ready by adding the vanilla to this wet mixture.


With the ingredients prepped and ready, the batter comes together quickly. Begin by beating the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. This will take about 3-6 minutes.


When the mixture is creamy, add the eggs one at a time.


Now it’s time to add the banana/sour cream/vanilla mixture.


Mix this together and you’ll get a creamy thin batter. Add the flour mixture gradually; I tapped mine from the bowl as the mixer was running, but I’m guessing it would be less messy to just stop the mixer and add it in batches!


Last step for the batter is to stir the chopped nuts in by hand.


Now simply spread this into a 9” x 13” pan and pop it into the oven. If you are using a glass pan like I am here, you’ll want to lower the baking temperature in the recipe by 25˚—note that the Test Kitchens recommend a metal pan for cakes. I used this because my metal pan is getting rusty and my glass pan has a custom cover that makes it convenient and presentable for traveling to my mother-in-law’s house.


When the cake is done, test with a toothpick or cake tester in the center of the cake—it should come out clean.


Now, the frosting! I must say that the penuche frosting makes this simple banana cake something special. The term “penuche” refers to a frosting that uses brown sugar instead of the typical powdered white sugar, and is boiled in the first step, creating a rich caramel flavor. It’s all quite simple. Begin by combining the brown sugar, butter, salt and half & half over medium heat.


Stir continuously until the butter melts and the mixture is combined. Then, just keep an eye on it and stir occasionally. In about 6 minutes, the mixture will come to a full boil.


Smells divine, just like caramel! Take it off the heat and let it cool to lukewarm—about 15-20 minutes. Then stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla and you’ll have a very creamy, very special frosting that I find very addictive.


To frost the cake, simply spoon the frosting onto the cake and, using a knife or spatula or cake spreader (shown), spread the frosting gently from the center toward the edges.

Last, sprinkle on the nuts and cut the cake into 15 pieces. You could easily cut the pieces smaller if you needed to serve more people or just wanted a smaller serving.


This cake is deliciously moist and serves up beautifully!


Shortly after enjoying this excellent cake and receiving many compliments, I noticed a couple more bananas that could be “marked.” I went a little bananas and decided to make a second batch of this wonderful cake a couple days later, using some heart-shaped foil cups I’d found at the grocery store.


I filled the tins a little over half-full, and had mini-banana cakes with that amazing penuche frosting to share with friends and the kids’ classmates!


Marking the bananas had another fun effect—everyone looked forward to my baking and anticipated what I might make. And of course they smiled every time they walked over to the fruit bowl. I’d love to hear your comments or your experience if you try this Penuche Frosted Banana Cake. Don’t forget to “mark” your bananas!

Check back in a few days when Amanda bakes up some easy muffins.  

Liz is paid to write for the Land O'Lakes Recipe Buzz™ Blog.


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• Comments •

Thank you, this looks delicious! The photographs help a baking novice like me!

Posted May 17 2011 by debbie m.
Test Kitchen Comment


Debbie, Hope you try it! This is such a great cake and everyone in my family loves it, especially the frosting with that brown sugar praline-like sweetness.
Posted May 19, 2011

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