There are all kinds of cakes out there, from single-serving cupcakes to towering layer cakes. One of my favorite types of cake is a snack cake, an admittedly less official category than some of the others. Snack cakes should be easy to make and are usually single-layer affairs, with straightforward ingredients that you can throw together on short notice. They’re not the showstoppers you might bring out for an event, but they’re delicious and satisfying any day of the week. This Cinnamon Sugar-Topped Banana Snack Cake is the perfect everyday cake, loaded with banana flavor and topped with a crisp sugary topping.
The best thing about this recipe is that it is very easy to make and requires only a few ingredients. You only need a single banana, making this a good choice for days when you want a banana dessert but don’t have enough ripe bananas for a full sized banana bread loaf. I added a handful of chocolate chips simply because I was in the mood, and chopped nuts could be used just as easily. The batter bakes into a light, tender cake with a good banana flavor. It has just the right amount of sweetness to highlight the banana without being overly sweet.
It’s just as well that the cake itself isn’t overly sweet, since the sugary topping is what sets this apart from other cakes by creating a crisp and sweet crust that contrasts well with the tender cake underneath. I used a mixture of cinnamon and sugar for most of the topping, but added an additional sprinkling of coarse sugar to add even more texture. The coarse sugar I used is called Swedish pearl sugar and you can find it online or at specialty baking stores, though turbinado sugar is a great alternative if you already have that on hand.
The cake is at its best when it is freshly baked and has just cooled, since that is when you get the best contrast between the sugar topping and the fluffy cake. The smaller sugar crystals will soften when the cake is stored, but the larger crystals will retain their texture, so even leftover slices of cake will have a bit of crunch on top.
Cinnamon Sugar-Topped Banana Snack Cake
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large banana, mashed (approx 1/3-cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp coarse sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Bear in egg, mashed banana and vanilla extract. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in the remaining flour mixture until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.
In a small bowl, make the topping. Whisk together all topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clear or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Allow cake to cool completely before slicing.