What really takes this recipe from the average dense, average banana bread-like cake is the toffee sauce. DON’T YOU DARE TRY AND MAKE THIS WITHOUT THE TOFFEE SAUCE. YOU MIGHT AS WELL JUST MAKE BANANA BREAD. heavy cream, butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and a little bit of salt… how could the combination of these decadent ingredients not produce a heavenly result? That was a rhetorical question. They can’t. The result will always be fantastic. This sauce is a smooth caramel, runny and sweet and creamy, and it moistens up the cake very well, which I needed because I overcooked my cake (so badly that I had to slice the burnt bottom off).
Funny story about the sauce actually, I brought this cake to our family friends’ house where we have Thanksgiving dinner each year. I left a Mason Jar of the sauce out on the counter to heat up and pour over the cake when it was time for dessert. But, our family friend saw the jar of brown, thick sauce on the counter and assumed it was unused gravy, and poured the rest of the gravy leftover from dinner into the Mason Jar, right in front of my eyes. Horrified, I snatched the jar out of his hands, and luckily, the gravy was a lot thicker than the sauce, so the two did not combine, and I was able to skim off the gravy from the top of the sauce, and no harm was done. Mini heart attack.
For the cake:
- 1-¾ cups cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with a knife
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup very ripe mashed bananas, from 2-3 spotty bananas
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1-½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the sauce:
- 1-¼ cups heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Pinch salt
For serving (optional):
- Sliced perfectly ripe bananas
- Chopped pecansPreheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8×8 baking dish.In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the melted butter and sugar until blended. Add the eggs, mashed bananas, lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix well. On low speed, stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Do not over mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. It may not look or even test done, but take it out at 35 minutes. I made the mistake of overcooking it because the top did not look done, only to realize that by the time the top c finished, the bottom was badly burnt. Learn from my mistakes!
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Bring the heavy cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt to a boil in a heavy small saucepan over high heat, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook at a gentle boil, whisking occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. It should be the consistency of maple syrup – it will continue to thicken as it cools. Remove the sauce from the heat and cool.
Spoon 1/3 cup of the toffee sauce over top of the baked banana cake. Return the cake to the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbling vigorously, about 6 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for at least 30 minutes. Cut the cake into 9 squares or 12 rectangles. Serve the cake slightly warm or at room temperature with warm toffee sauce and top with sliced bananas and pecans, if desired.
Note: Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill; then rewarm slightly before using. If it seems too thick, add more heavy cream to thin it to desired consistency.