Banana Crumb Cake

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Once, I my friends and I decided (as we do) that it would be a great idea to take on our local creamery’s famous ice cream challenge.

15 minutes, one sundae. Doesn’t sound that bad, right?

Wrong. Three pounds of ice cream and a quarter-hour later found each of us sunken into a comatose stupor–something between sugary crash-and-burn and uncontrollable (but lackadaisical) giddiness. I vaguely recall laughing a lot about cherry stems, but that’s about it.

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Of the twelve of us there, I was third to finish. Weirdly, as I looked around at my struggling companions, I had the strangest craving for more ice cream than I had already inhaled–yes I am a shameless bottomless sugar pit–but then again, I was always an ice cream fanatic. In fact, the heavy, sloughing weight on my belly was coming from an altogether different source of revulsion…

It was the banana. 

Yes, folks–I almost lost an ice cream challenge to a banana. Three pounds of ice cream were no problem–even a whopping pound of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry couldn’t deter me–and while I wasn’t a huge fan of the whipped cream piled on top, or the three syrups in which the entire sundae was slathered, it wasn’t until I hit the innocuous-looking yellow fruit that I seriously considered giving up.

Of course, Mama didn’t raise no quitter, so in my final minute I sucked it up and shoveled down that banana with a mountainous scoop of strawberry ice cream, gulping it down as fast as I could to rid myself of that sickening scent of sweet rotting garbage (which is exactly what bananas taste like to me).

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I can’t remember a time when I didn’t intensely dislike bananas. There was a brief period when my grandma, meaning well, told me that I had to eat them for potassium, so I would begrudgingly swallow one down for show before running away and hiding, heaven forbid anyone followed me waving another five to be eaten. (I’m really bad at refusing food from my grandparents. Once, I forced down an entire tuna sandwich for breakfast [and I HATE tuna] because my grandma had made it for me, bless her heart–I also recall vomiting quite heartily half an hour later in the workplace bathroom.)

After I went away to college, however, my taste buds began to shift. No, I never experienced that miraculous transformation in which I suddenly grew to like lifetime edible antagonists like tuna, avocado, or heavily spiced curry–but I did begin to discover the resourcefulness of using banana in new ways. First came banana bread, then bananas foster, followed quickly by other banana baked goods–these days I’ll eat part of a frozen banana and a spoonful of peanut butter every morning for breakfast. As long as it’s not an unadulterated raw banana, it turns out I can stomach the fruit after all–if only the folks at the creamery had the foresight to make mine a bananas foster!

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After frozen bananas, this banana crumb cake is hands down my favorite way to enjoy those pesky bananas now. Aside from using 4 regular (or 3 large) ripe bananas, what keeps this recipe so insanely moist for days on end is the freezer trick! When you pull this cake out of the oven, transfer it straight to the freezer for 30 minutes before pulling it out again. Trust me, you don’t want to skip this step: I now use it on all of my cakes, it’s so easy and lengthens cake shelf life by days!

Did I mention that topping I decided to throw on top at the last minute? Don’t judge me by my bad life choices (cough ice cream challenge cough), because this crumb topping was an amazing life choice. Texture, spice, moisture, flavor–this cake has it all!

And okayyy, Grandma was right: I guess bananas are all right, after all.

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I mean, come on…just look at that!

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What about you: do you hate or love bananas?


Banana Crumb Cake

Banana Crumb Cake

This banana cake is AMAZING: texture, spice, moisture, flavor, this recipe has it all! The key to keeping it moist for days on end? Simply throw it in the freezer straight from the oven after baking, then pull it out 30 minutes later! It'll stay fresh for days!


For the cake:

  • 3 large bananas or 4 regular VERY ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups and 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

For the crumb topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed


For the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. Place mashed bananas in a bowl and drizzle with lemon juice. Set aside.

For the topping:

  1. Combine flour, both sugars, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in the butter with a fork until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle on top of cake before baking.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla.
  4. Alternate mixing in flour mixture and buttermilk (I divided them each into 3 portions). Gently fold in bananas.
  5. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with crumb topping (recipe below). Bake in preheated oven for 55-65 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it (not from the crumb topping, but from the cake itself). Transfer directly to freezer and store there for 30-45 minutes. Remove from freezer and cut yourself a slice for a job well done!


11 Replies to “Banana Crumb Cake”

  1. WHOA!! That ice cream challenge sounds intense and like fun lol! Glad you buckled down and ate the bananas so you can come in third…great job!! My sister for some reason still doesn’t like bananas but I LOVE them and this cake sounds amazing.

    1. Oh my goodness, talk about the bonding experience of a lifetime! I’m surprised I still love ice cream after THAT, ha! I feel your sister–hope she can get on board with this cake, though!! Have an amazing week, lady!

  2. The crumb topping is genius! What comfort must come from every bite. I’m SO glad you’re over your aversion or I wouldn’t be here drooling over your luscious cake 🙂

    1. That makes two of us–SO glad! Hope you’re having a lovely week, Liz!

  3. Wow, 3 pounds of ice cream? In my youth, yes. Now? No way! Fun story. And great cake! Super topping. And isn’t it interesting how our tastes change as we get older? Glad you got over the banana thing!

    1. I’m starting to feel the same way–no more three-pounders for me! Have a fabulous week, John!

  4. This is my favourite way to eat bananas too, Ala! I’ve never tried it with the crumb topping, but now I want to, of course. Sounds absolutely delicious!

    1. Yes, you totally should, Helen! We are kindred spirits 🙂

  5. I’m all about bananas! There’s no day without bananas in our home….and ice cream? That sounds like a fun competition. Once the hubs challenged himself in an ice cream place for 8 scoops of ice cream with all the toppings in 30 minutes. It was wild! This banana crumb cake looks delicious and totally calls out my name.

  6. Anita Fisher says: Reply

    I have read the recipe three times, and hate to appear to be stupid, but when do you add the banana mixture?
    Anxious to try the recipe as I have some overly ripe bananas stinking up my refrigerator! Thanks.

    1. Anita, HI! Thanks for catching that–I’ve added the banana-folding step into the recipe where it belongs 🙂 Happy baking!

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