I like the idea of an everyday cake, a delicious cake that you can whip up on relatively short notice that is simple enough that you’l want to make it even when you’re on your own, but could still be served to company in place of something more elaborate. I don’t know all that many people who keep freshly baked cakes at the ready these days, either for themselves or for guests (myself excluded, as I almost always do have something freshly baked sitting around), but it’s the kind of thing that my grandmother and her friends might have done years ago, giving such a cake a sweet and nostalgic feel.
This Marbled Banana Bundt Cake really fits my idea of this type of cake. It looks fairly plain, with its shiny brown crust concealing a vanillla, chocolate and banana interior, but still elegant because of the shape of the bundt pan it was baked in (a fancier pan would produce a fancier cake, of course). The only time I wouldn’t have the ingredients on hand is if I happened to eat all my bananas before they reached the “very ripe” stage usually associated with baking, or if I ran out of sour cream, so 9 times out of 10, it would be an easy last-minute cake to whip up.
The cake itself has a beautiful texture. It is much lighter than your average banana bread, but is still very moist, thanks to both the banana and sour cream in the cake. Although it can easily be served after a meal for dessert, it goes wonderfully with a mug of coffee or hot chocolate in the morning. The swirl has a strong chocolate flavor that works well with the banana, but it can easily be omitted if you prefer to have just a plain banana cake. One other variation would be to stir about 1/2 of chocolate chips into the batter before baking it for even more chocolate.
Marbled Banana Bundt Cake
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe, medium bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream (low fat is fine)
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 12-cup bundt pan (12-inch diameter).
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in the eggs one by one, waiting until each has been incorporated to add the next. Beat in vanilla extract and mashed bananas.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mix and stir to combine. Add in the sour cream, followed by the remaining flour mixture.
Remove 1 1/2 cups of batter into a small bowl and stir in cocoa powder.
Pour 2/3 of the plain batter into the prepared bundt pan, top with cocoa batter and spoon the rest of the plain batter on top. Run a knife through the batter gently to swirl.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Turn cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
Serve plain, or dusted with powdered sugar.