it seems oddly fitting that my first blog post of this strange time in our world would be of a cake traditionally shared over a cup of coffee. one that's best enjoyed with the company of loved ones gathered around the table. but, right now all it can be is comfort. this cinnamon streusel banana coffee cake is filled with as much comfort as I could possibly imagine in a recipe.
there's something incredibly comforting about following a recipe from ingredients, through each step, to the final dish. this process is comforting, predictable, therapeutic even. as so much around the world feels so unstable, these time honored skills bring me back to a safe place. needless to say, i've been baking - a lot, lately. each recipes brings me a bit of respite from the chaos, the worry. it gives me something to occupy my mind and my heart. my hope is with each recipe i post, that you find a moment of peace, of joy and of comfort.
how this cake became a recipe
as I began researching coffee cakes, i was truly curious about what exactly makes coffee cake, coffee cake! its a pretty broad definition of any cake that can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee. not being entirely satisfied with this, I started to think about what components make up the most classic versions. turns out that most traditional coffee cakes have a buttery cake, filled with a cinnamon sugar filling, topped with some kind of streusel/crumble topping. having this basic structure in place, i tweaked my old banana bread recipe and voila, my cinnamon streusel banana coffee cake was created.
when i first started working on this recipe, i knew I wanted to use pantry basics (even better if food that would otherwise be thrown away could be used). typically I like to use more specialty ingredients like tahini, caster and muscovado sugar. with this recipe, i eliminated any ingredient I couldn't find at my local grocery store or in my pantry. I also had the idea to use bananas in place of milk, since bananas are currently plentiful, while milk is becoming harder to find. if you have flour, butter, sugar, yogurt, eggs, bananas, cinnamon, baking soda and powder, you can make this coffee cake.
this cinnamon streusel banana coffee cake is best described as
- a cross between banana bread, a cinnamon rolls and coffee cake
- full of spiced flavor
- crunchy top
- easy to make
- hard to stop eating! (trust me on this)
here's what you need from the store
- all purpose flour
- cake flour
- baking soda
- baking powder
- bananas (ripe, with many brown spots)
- brown sugar
- granulated sugar
- unsalted butter
- greek yogurt
- vanilla extract
- cocoa powder (for color, optional)
- ground cinnamon
- powdered sugar
from these ingredients you will make: cinnamon streusel, banana coffee cake with cinnamon swirls and the glaze
a few helpful tips
- cake flour vs all purpose flour: i happened to have cake flour in my pantry when I made this recipe. my favorite way to use cake flour is in a blend with all purpose. this gives my breads/cakes a more cake like texture, while still providing a sturdy structure.
- if you don't have cake flour, all purpose works equally as well in this recipe. if you're curious about the difference in the kinds of flours, this article is very helpful
- whole milk greek yogurt: this is my go to for subbing butter or making my cakes extra moist.
- you can sub with any yogurt you do have
- you could also use a dairy free yogurt if that's what you already have
- brown sugar or white sugar: brown sugar is basically regular sugar with a bit of molasses added to it.
- don't have one or the other, as called for in the recipe, its fine to sub one for the other
- remember that the bread will be either a little more moist or a little less
- butter: this is pretty essential for the streusel part of the cake. if you're short on butter:
- save it for this part (4tbsp for the streusel).
- if you're looking for a sub for butter in the cake part of the recipe, you could use oil (3/4: 1) for this recipe
- that would be 6 tbsp oil in place of the 8 tbsp melted butter.
- make sure you like the taste of the oil when eaten alone
- spring form pan: I made this in a 9" spring form pan, mostly because I needed to take a picture and needed it to come out with all the edges/cake intact.
- if you don't have a spring form pan, any circular/square 8-9" cake pan would work, too!
- lining the pan: if you're using a non stick pan AND you simply don't have any parchment paper (it happens!), this shouldn't be an issue
- lightly grease the pan bottom and sides with some of the melted butter used in the recipe.
- again, this ensures it comes out of the pan cleanly. between non stick and the greasing, you shouldn't need to worry about the parchment.
- however, if you DO have parchment, its recommended that you use it in this recipe.
- pastry cutter: I wasn't entirely sure this was a needed tool for this recipe until I made the crumble without it. yeah, it definitely makes a difference in how the streusel bakes
- if you don't have a pastry butter, you could use a food processor
- or two forks to work the butter into the four/sugar mixture.
- make sure the end consistency is like larger grains of sand mixed in with finer pieces of sand
cinnamon streusel banana coffee cake
- 9" springform pan with removeable bottom
- parchment paper
- stand mixer, optional
- pastry cutter
banana coffee cake
- 1 1/4 c all purpose flour (150g)
- 1 c cake flour (120g) sub with all purpose
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 c mashed banana ~3 medium bananas
- 1/2 c brown sugar (110g)
- 1/2 c sugar (110g)
- 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 c whole milk greek yogurt, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 c brown sugar (67g)
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp cocao powder, optional for color
- 1/2 c brown sugar (110g)
- 1/2 c flour (60g)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, evenly cubed into small pieces
- 1 c powdered sugar
- 1-2 tbsp water or milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 F, line bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease pan with butter. I use a pastry brush dipped in some of the melted butter. To make the streusel, combine dry ingredients together. Using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the dry mixture until its the consistency of finer sand. Once the mixture resembles wet sand, you can use your hands to work some of the pieces into slighly larger chunks of "wet sand." Place streusel topping into the fridge to chill until the cake is ready to be topped. To make the filling, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon and cocoa powder until very well combined.
- In a stand mixer with whisk attachment (or by hand), beat butter and sugar until smooth and well combined. Add eggs, beating well after each one until well combined. Add mashed bananas and vanilla extract, beating until well combined.
- In this order (dry ingredients, yogurt, dry, yogurt, dry), add dry ingredients to the wet alternating with the yogurt. Slowly beat each time until JUST combined. A few flour streaks is okay!
- Pour 1/2 of the banana cake batter into the prepared pan. Scatter most (3/4) of the cinnamon filling over the batter. Using a knife, create swirls. Pour remaining batter on top. Scatter any remaining cinnamon over the top and repeat swirls. Top with the streusel.
- Bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Check the topping. If its browning too quickly, top with a foil tent. Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes, checking for doneness every 5 minutes (55-65 minutes total). The top will be a deep golden brown and edges will pull slightly from the sides of the pan. When a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with very few moist crumbs, its done. Cool in pan for 20 minutes. Gently remove from the spring form pan. Cool an addtional 30-45 minutes to room temperature. If topping with glaze, combine all glaze ingredients in a bowl until smooth and well combined. Pour over the cooled coffee cake. Allow 30 minutes for the glaze to set. Slice and enjoy with a cup of coffee!