What’s better than banana cake? Banana cake topped with streusel! French chef Christophe Michalak is known for his amazing recipes and I couldn’t resist trying this one out. The cake is flavored with rum, brown sugar and packed with ripe bananas, making it moist and delicious. The crunchy streusel topping takes it to the next level!
What Is A Streusel Topping?
Streusel – which means “to sprinkle” in German – can be added to baked goods such as cakes, muffins and pies for a wonderful crunchy layer. Streusel is primarily composed of sugar, butter and flour. But you can add oats, spices (such as cinnamon, cardamom etc.) and nuts (chopped or ground) for even more flavor and texture.
How To Make Streusel Topping
- In a bowl, stir together all the ingredients except for the butter.
- Add the cold butter (cut into small pieces). Using your fingertips, rub the butter and dry ingredients together until crumbly and you get pea-sized chunks. Don’t mix until you get a smooth dough. You can use a pastry blender or a fork if you don’t want to dirty your hands.
- Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the cake batter or up to 3 days.
Time to take out those ripe bananas and make the batter!
When I decided to make this banana cake, I hid (badly apparently!) a few bananas so that they would be extra ripe when I needed them. When it was time to make the cake, I realized my kids had eaten them!
Using naturally ripened bananas is best. But if you have a sudden urge to bake a banana cake and no ripe bananas, don’t despair!
How To Quickly Ripen Bananas For Baking
You can actually bake the bananas to speed up the process.
- Place the bananas (with the peel) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake in a preheated oven (150°C/300°F) until the peel turns black, about 12 minutes. It might take longer, depending on your oven and how ripe the bananas are.
- Remove from the oven and let them cool down completely before using them in your cake.
The bananas will become sweeter once baked. And mushy, which will make it even easier for you to mash them with a fork! Don’t try this with green bananas though!
Making Banana Cake, Step-by-Step
Preheat the oven and prepare the pan
- Preheat the oven to 170°C (338°F).
- Grease and line a 23 x 13 cm (9 x 5 inch) loaf pan with parchment paper. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can find step-by-step pictures in the marble cake post.
Prepare the flour mixture
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl then set aside.
Mash the bananas
- Peel the bananas and mash them with a fork.
- Transfer them to a bowl and mix in the rum. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar
- Place the brown sugar, softened butter and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Mix on medium-low speed until lightened in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. You can mix by hand using a hand-mixer or even a whisk if you have enough arm strength! You could also use a stand-mixer if you prefer, fitted with the paddle attachment.
Mix in the eggs
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition until combined.
Add the flour alternating with the mashed bananas
- Sift a third of the flour mixture over the batter. Fold in with a spatula just until combined. It’s best not to use a mixer from this point forward, to avoid overmixing the batter which would lead to a tough cake.
- Add half the banana mixture and gently fold it in.
- Add the remaining (sifted) flour in two additions, alternating with the banana mixture (flour, banana then flour).
Why alternate between the flour and the banana mixture? If you add all the flour first, you’ll find it harder to mix the batter. And you might end up overmixing it, leading to a tough cake (too much gluten formed). If you add all the bananas first, your batter will curdle. By adding a little bit of flour before the bananas are added, you reduce the chances of curdling.
Bake the banana cake
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smoothen the surface with a spatula. The batter will be quite thick which is ideal so that the streusel doesn’t sink.
- Sprinkle the streusel over the cake batter then lightly press it down into the batter so it doesn’t detach from the cake once baked.
- Bake in the bottom third of the oven (level 2 out of 5 for example) for about 75 minutes, or until golden and a skewer comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake the cake so it doesn’t come out dry.
- Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
I also added a layer of streusel inside the cake in one of my trials which we all enjoyed. If you’d like to do that as well, make a bit more streusel (use 60 g/2.1 oz. of each streusel ingredient instead of 40 g/1.4 oz.). Pour half the batter, sprinkle with a third of the streusel. Cover with more batter and sprinkle with the remaining streusel. Just make sure to press it a little into the batter or the cake will split in two where the streusel is.
How To Slice a Streusel-Topped Banana Cake
The streusel is crumbly and will have a tendency to fall apart. To slice the cake, it’s best to use a long serrated knife. And don’t forget to slightly press the streusel down into the batter before baking it so that it sticks better.
This cake tastes even better the next day and will actually be easier to slice! Hope you enjoy it!