I’ve just come home from school. I walk into the kitchen, look to my left, and see it: a huge pile of bananas. I’m not just talking one particularly large bunch of bananas. No, I’m talking about that new large bunch of bananas on top of another bunch of bananas that we already had. Now why would anyone buy so many bananas? Beats me. All I know is that there’s no way all these bananas are going to be eaten before a number of them turn all brown and rejected.

Low and behold, a week later the fruit bowl is filled with overripe bananas (note the bananas above are in their prime eating condition and not too overripe). Such a sad sight. They’ve watched as the apples, oranges, even the occasional melon were picked up and eaten, as they, slowly losing hope as they brown, lay there, left behind. What’s going to happen to them now? The trash? No, that would be wasteful. They’re headed for something better: the “A-Number-1 Banana Cake,” the recipe that I fall back to whenever there are abandoned brown bananas in the fruit bowl, giving them a second life. It’s pretty simple, moist, reliable, tasty, AND economical.

I’m calling it standard because I use it so often. We’ve all got some of those recipes, those dishes that have become a kind of staple. This one’s pretty tasty though. Although if you make it as often as I do, it just might become standard for you, too. The basic recipe is just banana bread: no glitter or frills. But on my mom’s request, I add cranberries/dried cherries and LOTS of chocolate chips. She has this sort of, not addiction really, but sometimes intense need or craving for this chocolate-cherry banana bread from a certain cafe. So this is also my attempt to recreate it, which apparently I do a pretty good job of doing, according to her.

Also, I believe that the original recipe is from Allrecipes.com. My mom’s friend just made a few minor adjustments before passing the recipe on to us.

A-Number-1 Banana Cake

Adapted from Mom’s Friend’s recipe

2 & 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1 Tablespoon Baking Soda

1 Pinch Salt

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter

1 Cup White Sugar*

3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

4 Ripe Bananas, mashed

2/3 Cup Milk

Handful of Dried Cranberries/Cherries and Chocolate Chips

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.

In a small bowl, whisk together Flour, Soda, and Salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream Butter, White Sugar, and Brown Sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in Eggs, one at a time. Mix in Vanilla and Mashed Bananas. Add flour mixture alternately with the milk to the creamed mixture. Stir in the Cranberries/Cherries and Chocolate Chips. Pour batter into the prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes* or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a damp tea towel to cool.

*I cut back on the white sugar a little bit and do not pack the brown sugar.

**In my experience, it usually takes about an hour.

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