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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Revisiting banana cake



When I started my food column almost 12 years ago, I relied on readers to send in their recipes. I made the recipes sometimes, but I didn’t photograph any of them.

Alma Barnes gave me quite a few recipes in those early years. Not only did she bring me the recipe, she also brought in the food for me to try. Her son, Keith, worked at The Wilson Times then, and she’d bring goodies for all of us to share.

One of those recipes was for a banana cake. In early 2003, Mrs. Barnes, who has since passed away, brought by a banana cake fresh from the oven. My co-workers and I quickly finished off that cake that had the wonderful aroma of bananas mixed with cinnamon and nutmeg. I first ran that recipe in my food column in February of 2003.

Lucky for me, I have a slice of banana cake on my desk for my morning snack. Yes, I’m still making that recipe 10 years later! The banana cake is one of my daughter, Anna’s, favorite recipes, and I enjoy making it for her.

The cake starts with a yellow cake mix that is "doctored” with a box of banana cream pudding mix, two ripe bananas and spices. It’s very simple to make, and the aroma from the oven is heavenly!

When I made the cake this week, Anna convinced my granddaughter to try it. Getting 4-year-old Sora to try anything new isn’t an easy task, but Aunt Anna was persuasive and made sure she didn’t tell her the cake has bananas in it. Sora ate her slice of cake and seemed to enjoy it. And in the process, the two of them have named it Anna Banana Cake. Since we often refer to Anna by that nickname, it didn’t occur to Sora, apparently, that the cake has bananas in it.

If you like the flavor of bananas and banana bread, I think you’ll really enjoy this delicious cake.


Anna Banana Cake
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 small box banana cream instant pudding mix
  • 2 mashed (very ripe) bananas
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour tube or Bundt cake pan. (I used Baker's Joy spray instead.)

Put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Beat 4 minutes on medium mixer speed.

Pour into prepared pan. Smooth in pan with spatula. Bake 50 minutes to one hour.*

Cool 15 minutes on cake rack before removing from pan.

Alma Barnes

*Mrs. Barnes called this cake Easy Banana Cake, but we renamed it Anna Banana Cake. My cake, cooked in a dark Bundt pan, was ready in about 50 minutes.

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