Banana Pecan Raspberry-Swirl Crumb Cake
Let’s take a moment to discuss our options. Each morning we get up—slip out of our comfy beds and our warm sheets and our loved one’s arms—with big stretches and yawns and growls that mimic those of a lazy lion in the zoo. A quick glance in the mirror only confirms this. Our hair, wild and crazy, going in all sorts of directions. Untamable, however, we proceed unfazed and without a thought in our heads, other than wanting desperately to get back into bed. Half asleep and unwilling to compromise, we find ourselves at a fork in the road. Having to make choices so early in the morning should be illegal. We can grab that boring box of cereal. The one that’s been sitting on top of our fridge for weeks getting good and stale on us, because someone left it partially opened. We can reach into that refrigerator and grab the just about expired milk—regular, soy or almond or maybe even settle for a yogurt—plain or greek infused with fruit. Perhaps we don’t have the luxury of time because we woke up late or decided to spend all our time getting ready (we have our lion selves to thank for that) knowing that our allotted breakfast eating time would suffer and diminish. So because we’re running late we proceed to reach into a box of granola bars. We fool ourselves into believing it’ll be a good enough morning meal. We get a hold of the box, grasping inside, only to come up empty handed. We make a mental note to reprimand the person who took the last bar and left the empty box in the cabinet, reminding us of yet another thing we can’t have. Spontaneity and unpredictability aren’t traits we posses this early in the morning nor do we want to, so what next?
If only we had some sort of morning pastry to cut, grab and go. Something tasty that would fit the breakfast bill. A delicious treat to eat alongside our coffee, tea or juice on our drive to work or school or whatever other activity that doesn’t occur to me at the moment. What we really need is a banana bread kind of a thing. A banana bread meets coffee cake. And if said cake happened to have a raspberry-swirl filling in the middle and a pecan crumb topping, well then, we wouldn’t be angry about that. Who are we to complain about such things? Yes, a hybrid breakfast cake slash dessert meets decadent treat is just what we need in the morning to lift our spirits up, but where do we get such a delight? Where do we come across such a marvel?
There are a few steps to get done prior to making the batter for this cake. They’re easy steps so don’t worry. We begin with the pecan part of this Banana Pecan Raspberry-Swirl Crumb Cake. Boy, it’s even a handful to type out.
The pecans or pe-cons (whichever way you pronounce it) are going into the crumb topping so we need to chop them. Just give the nuts a rough run-through with your knife. It doesn’t have to be precise or perfect. It’s morning bread for crying out loud. No one is going to stand over you, looking at your pecan (pecon) chopping skills and point out the fact that they’re not even and uniform. You can leave it slightly chunky and if anyone asks, you tell them that’s how it’s supposed to be. I told you it’s okay.
Now we’re moving onto the crumb part of this Banana Pecan Raspberry-Swirl Crumb Cake. Do you recall how in the last post, the chocolate tart, I mentioned crust being the best thing on the planet. Well, that statement still stands. Crust is delicious. I’m now adding crumb/streusel topping to that list. It’s the second best thing on this planet.
We need the normal crumb things.
Note that I put in extra cinnamon because it happens to be my favorite spice. There’s just something about cinnamon that makes me happy. Plus you can’t have a crumb or coffee cake without cinnamon. Well, I guess you could, but it wouldn’t be good. There’d be something missing. You’d serve it and people won’t eat it because they’d know the cinnamon was missing. You’d be left with an entire coffee cake with no one to eat it. You don’t want that do you? So do yourself a favor and add the cinnamon to it, what’s more, add extra cinnamon like I did.
Give the crumb ingredients a stir to evenly combine.
Add butter to the mix and begin to break it down with a pastry blender or a fork or two knives or your hands. Look at that, I’m giving you options.
Sometimes the pastry blender doesn’t work all that well, don’t get me wrong it’s a great tool it just takes it’s time to crumb things. I like to crumb things fast. So I just dug in with my paws and started to crumble it by hand to speed up the process, towards the end.
Throw in the chopped pecans (pecons) you so not-perfectly cut.
Once the crumb topping is done, set it off to the side. Forget ’bout it. Let’s move on to the next “pre-step.”
We’re going to focus on the raspberry part of this Banana Pecan Raspberry-Swirl Crumb Cake. Phew.
Pour the raspberries into a medium-ish bowl.
Zest a lime and cut it in half.
Now I know what you must be thinking, “Lime and raspberry Jonathan?! You’re a madman. A crazy lunatic.” Yes I am a madman, but that’s neither here nor there. Lime and raspberry happen to pair incredibly well together. You won’t be able to taste the lime flavor, I promise. The sweetness from the sugar and the tartness from the berries will balance everything out nicely. Money back guarantee. But not really because you didn’t give me any money to begin with. It’s an expression.
To the berries add:
Muddle and mash and smash everything together with a fork until the mixture resembles a chunky jam-like consistency.
Set the raspberry bowl mixture of goodness off to the side along with the pecan (pecon) topping. With that, we’ll move on to yet another “pre-step.”
I did warn you that there were a few steps to get through before we started on the cake batter.
This is the last one. Cross my heart and kiss my elbow.
Let’s work on the banana part of this Banana Pecan Raspberry-Swirl Crumb Cake. Okay, that’s getting tired.
For recipes like this, I like to use giraffe bananas. That’s what I call bananas that are all spotted and ripe and perfect because they look like the skin of a giraffe. Clever right? Okay, it’s not that clever.
Open the bananas and place them in a large bowl.
Using a fork or a tater masher or that same pastry blender, give the bananas a mash and smash and mush. I like it sort of smooth with little chunks. You can decide for yourself what kind of texture you want the bananas to be.
Okay now we are ready to make the batter. Finally, I know.
We start with butter, softened butter, two sticks of course. Place it in the bowl of an electric mixer. And while you’re at it why don’t you throw in the granulated sugar as well.
Cream the two ingredients together for several minutes until light and fluffy and pale and creamy.
Start on low and then raise the speed gradually to medium high.
Next up, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Plop. Mix. Plop. Mix. Plop. Mix. Plop. Mix. One plop for each egg, thank you very much.
Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Continue to mix.
Add a huge splash of vanilla extract.
Okay, next step is to add the mashed bananas.
Give it a mix.
At this point, once you’ve mixed in the bananas, do not be alarmed! The mixture will look curdled and begin to separate slightly when you the mixer has stopped. That is okay. It is normal. It’s supposed to look like that. You’ve done nothing wrong.
Now let’s combine the dry ingredients.
We need some cake flour.
**Tip: Cake flour makes this cake light and moist. But if you only have all-purpose flour on hand then you can just use that. The texture of the cake will be slightly different but it will taste delicious nonetheless.**
Pour the flour into a large bowl or a sifter (if you’re into that sort of thing) and add the rest of the dry ingredients.
Whisk the ingredients to evenly combine.
Add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir after each addition, until just incorporated.
Make sure you do not over-mix the batter at this point. Doing so will result in dry, dense cake. No one wants that, my friends. No one.
Towards the end you can stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, giving the batter one final mix by hand to make sure you get everything combined well.
We’re making this cake in a tube pan, mainly because it’s easier to remove the cake later on, but really it’s because I just found a tube pan at a thrift store for 5 bucks. I’m now obsessed with tube pan baking. I think monkey bread is in the near future. Yes?
Grease the tube pan with non-stick spray and coat with flour.
**Tip: If you get that non-stick spray with flour in it already, you’d be better off than the rest of us. Saving yourself a step.**
Start with a layer of cake batter, using about a third of the batter.
Spoon half of the raspberry-lime mixture on top of the batter layer.
Top with another layer of the cake batter and then spoon over the remaining raspberry mixture on top of that.
Top with the remaining cake batter. The final step is to sprinkle the very top with the pecan (pecon) crumble topping.
Pour all of it on top of that cake. Don’t waste a single crumb.
Bake the cake in a preheated 350° for 45 to 1 hour and 10 minutes. I realize that’s a big window of guessing whether or not the cake is done, but it really depends on the oven and the pan. My cake took the entire 1 hour and ten minutes to bake. The top should be golden brown and a toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the middle.
And through the magic of the internets the hour zoomed by…
Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool down.
Run a knife along the sides (don’t forget the middle) to loosen the cake from the pan.
**Tip: Do not try to remove the cake from the pan while it is hot. Doing so will result in the cake sticking to the pan. You’ll have a mess on your hands. It needs to cool down for at least half an hour. Once the cake is out of the pan you can allow it to cool down completely. At least another half hour.**
Because my main goal in life is to make everything unhealthy as possible, and because this cake is really healthy at the moment we’re going to make a simple glaze to go on top of the cake.
In a small bowl add the powdered sugar. Combine it with the butter, salt, vanilla and milk.
Whisk the icing ingredients until completely smooth. If the glaze is too thick, add a bit more milk. If it is too thin add some more powdered sugar and whisk until the desired consistency is reached.
Use a fork or the whisk itself like I did (why dirty another utensil?) to drizzle the glaze on top of the cooled cake. You can go rustic with it. No fancy patterns or methodically planned technique here. Just easy baking folks.
Allow the glaze to harden and set for a few minutes before cutting. These last five minutes are probably the hardest part of this entire recipe. Difficult because you have to wait a whopping five whole minutes before you can dive in and devour it.
We really don’t need an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. I mean sure, dessert for breakfast is shunned upon (mostly by our parents, thanks mom and dad) but let’s face the facts, this is a coffee cake. It’s meant to be eaten for breakfast with a cup of coffee. We go to a coffee shop, whoop there it is. We go to a cafe, well what do you know, it’s there as well. We can’t escape it, nor do we want to. So stop fighting the inevitable and just have this crumb cake for breakfast. Come on, you know you want to. Everyone’s doing it. You’ll be cool if you do. Meet me behind the bleachers and we’ll eat the cake together. I’ll bring the coffee or tea or juice (which ever you prefer).
I also realize that not everyone has my mentality (although you really should) so if you’re not into the glaze on top of the cake, it’s totally optional. You don’t have to include it. The cake alone is wonderful. Perhaps a dusting (light sprinkling) of powdered sugar interests you instead. That’ll still take the cake over the edge without dragging you along with it. But you know what I say, my friends, Jonathan says to live a little. So let’s you and I live.
When banana meets pecan meets raspberry meets coffee cake, nothing else in life really matters because it can’t get any better than that. All other breakfast cakes (it’s a thing) can just go home. Throw in the towel and call it a day. Nothing can compete. Am I right ladies and gentleman?
Let’s hear it for breakfast cake! Without it I’d be lost and confused and wouldn’t have anything to eat in the morning. Sure, it’s probably (okay most definitely) not the healthiest thing I could eat for breakfast but you know what….do you want to know what?….I don’t really care because I’m eating cake for breakfast and that makes me like the luckiest person on Earth. But don’t fret my saddened non-cake eating friend, you too can have cake for breakfast. How so you ask? Well simply by making this treat for yourself. Go on, get the recipe below, and dive into the fantastic world of breakfast cakes. You’ll never be bored. You’ll never go hungry. So a hip hip hooray for that moist crumbly banana-y cake at 8 in the morning.
Banana Pecan Raspberry-Swirl Crumb Cake
A delicious banana bread collides with a cinnamon coffee cake. Mixed together with a homemade raspberry filling and a pecan crumb topping. This might just be the best breakfast pastry ever. Cake for breakfast? Yes please!
yield: 9-inch crumb cake, 12 to 16 servings
For the pecan crumb topping:
- ½ cup (63 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (40 grams) rolled oats
- ½ cup (110 grams) light brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons (5.6 grams) ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons (80 grams) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) pecans, chopped
For the raspberry filling:
- 2 (6 ounce) containers (340 grams) fresh raspberries, rinsed and dried
- 2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- pinch of salt
For the cake:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups (500 grams) granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
- 3 teaspoons (15ml) vanilla extract
- 1 cup (242 grams) sour cream, room temperature
- 4 cups (380 grams) cake flour
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
- 2 teaspoons (16 grams) baking soda
- ½ (4 grams) salt
For the glaze:
- 1 cup (120 grams) powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) milk, plus more if needed
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare a 9-inch tube or bundt pan by greasing it with cooking spray and dusting it with flour. Set aside.
2. To make the crumb topping, combine all the crumb topping ingredients, except the pecans, in a medium bowl. Use a fork, two knives or a pastry blender to work the butter into the dry ingredients. Cut in the ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs the size of peas. Stir in the chopped pecans. Set aside.
3. To make the raspberry filling, combine the raspberries, sugar, lime zest, lime juice and salt in a small bowl. Mash with a fork until the mixture resembles a chunky jam or until your desired consistency is reached. Set aside.
4. To make the cake batter cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract and mix again. Add the mashed bananas, stir once more. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure it’s well incorporated. The mixture might appear to look curdled after the bananas have been added, that’s okay.
5. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add it to the creamed butter and sugar, alternately with the sour cream, starting and ending with the dry ingredients until both are used up. Do not over mix the batter. Pour ⅓ of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Top with half of the raspberry filling, and then top with half of the remaining batter. Repeat with the rest of the raspberry filling and the last of the batter. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the pecan crumb topping. Bake in preheated oven, in the middle rack, for 45 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Once the cake has cooled for half an hour you can remove it from the pan. Allow to cool completely before icing.
6. Whisk together all of the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until smooth and drizzling consistency. If the glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar a little at a time. At the same time, if the glaze is too thick, add more milk a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over the top of the cake. Let the glaze set and harden for a few minutes before cutting. Can be stored at room temperature covered with plastic wrap for up to 5 days. Enjoy!