One of these days, I'm going to figure out what grocery stores actually do with past-their-prime bananas instead of pondering it all the time. I kid you not, last night I was laying in bed thinking about this question. What is wrong with me? For now I'll pretend that's the first time it's ever crossed my mind.

I buy bananas all the time. My issue is that not only do I love them baked into just about anything, I also like them on sandwiches, plain, on cereal, in peanut butter, etc. So basically not only am I always buying bananas, I am also always running out of bananas to serve both these purposes.

I found this recipe the other day and decided it was worth saving some bananas to make. I think cream cheese enhances pretty much anything (anybody else a fan of cream cheese in their scrambled eggs?). I've found so many banana recipes I love that it's rare for me to find something new I want to try. This bread is extremely moist. It's not as flavorful as I was anticipating, but it was still delicious.  Also, if I could figure out a way to just bake a huge batch of this crust I would in a heartbeat. It is hands down the best part of this bread. The weird thing was that I couldn't really taste the cream cheese in the bread. I don't know why this would be considering there is a huge line of it smack dab in the center of the cake. It wasn't so bad because it still tasted great, but I might try to figure out some way to bring out that flavor a little more. This is a great way to change up the usual banana bread routine (or if you're like me, to change up the usual banana and peanut butter cupcake routine). Enjoy!

Banana Brunch Cake
Recipe from Lemons and Lavender, originally from Dining By Design: Stylish Recipes-Savory Settings
Yield: 12 to 16 servings

For the cake:
Nonstick cooking spray
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg, divided
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium-sized ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup chopped pecans

For the topping:
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 defrees F.  Coat a 10-inch tube or bundt pan with the cooking spray.

Combine the cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon of the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of the nutmeg in a medium bowl.  Beat until smooth.  Add 1 of the eggs, beating to mix.

Cream 1/2 cup softened butter in a large bowl, gradually adding 1 1/2 cups sugar.  Beat well.  Add the remaining 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Whisk the baking soda and hot water in a small measuring cup.  Mix into the butter mixture.

Combine the remaining 3 cups flour, the baking powder, salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl.  Mix, alternating with the orange juice, into the butter mixture.  Mix in the vanilla, bananas and pecans.

Spoon 1 1/2 to 2 cups of batter into the tube pan and make a slight well in the center.  Spread the cream cheese mixture over the banana batter.  Spoon the remaining banana batter over the cream cheese mixture.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for 15 minutes in the pan.  Remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Brush with the melted butter.  Mix together 1 tablespoon sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.  Sprinkle over the cake.
Look at that crust! Mmm.


Lemons and Lavender said... @ October 13, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Hi! The cinnamon-sugar-toast-meets-banana-bread topping is the best part about this cake. If you're looking for more flavor from the cream cheese, perhaps skipping the addition of nutmeg would help. Just a thought. And thanks for linking my site in your post.

briarrose said... @ October 21, 2010 at 7:26 AM

Looks wonderful. Love the cream cheese layer/swirl.

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