Crumb-tastic Banana Crunch Cake

Crumb-tastic Banana Crunch Cake
Tea parties often invoke images of trays full of light and sweet desserts. If you’re looking for something a little different, banana crunch cake may just be the ticket! This is an incredibly moist cake with an earthy, nutty flavor like banana bread. Sometimes called banana crumb cake, it’s perfect for both a breakfast treat and dessert alike.

Making Banana Crunch Cake

This is a pretty dense and moist banana crunch cake, so I chose to stack several smaller layers on top of one another so it would bake quickly and evenly. You can also make this in a round cake pan if you don’t have small ones. I also made enough of the topping to bake some on its own and add it between the layers for some extra crunch. Be sure not to over-bake it, though, or it will get too crunchy and become inedible.

How to Make Tea-Infused Butter

It’s easy to include tea in recipes that have water: just turn it into tea and add to your recipe. But did you know you can do the same with butter?! If your recipe doesn’t call for water, like this one, just melt the butter in a sauce pan and add the tea. Steep for five minutes or so. Once it’s steeped, you have two choices: You can strain the butter, pushing on the steeped leaves to get as much butter off of them as you can, or you can just eat the leaves.
Because Plum Deluxe's Banana Bread herbal dessert tea has so many ingredients that are deliciously edible, I opted not to strain the butter. The little apple pieces, cocoa nibs, and other ingredients gave my banana crunch cake not only a delicious flavor, but also a beautiful presentation.
If you’re new to incorporating tea into your food and want some more ideas, check out this primer on baking with tea.
Very important note: Cool the butter before you add it to the other ingredients! This recipe includes eggs; if you add hot butter to eggs, it will cook the egg and make your batter lumpy and really gross. Chunks of apple are ok; chunks of egg, not so much. It doesn’t need to be cold since you’ll be adding it to the sugar first. Just make sure it isn’t boiling hot.

Mixing Up the Ingredients

For this banana crunch cake, you’ll end up making four bowls of mixes and then adding them together. In the first bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set this bowl aside since you’ll add it last. Second, mash up three bananas and mix together with the eggs, extracts, and sour cream until they’re well mixed. If you don’t have maple extract, you can simply substitute vanilla or almond extract; just make your total extract measures a full teaspoon. Set the bowl of wet ingredients aside. Third, combine all of the topping ingredients in the last bowl and set it aside. You won’t be adding this last bowl into the batter; rather, you’ll be sprinkling it on top once you pour the batter into the pans.
Now it’s time to combine everything! Combine the cooled butter and sugar in either a stand mixer or a large bowl if you’re using a hand mixer. This is the bowl to which you’ll be adding all the other ingredients. Next add in the wet ingredients, then the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients gradually so they are well blended.
Spray your pan with non-stick spray and pour the batter in until the pan is about three quarters full. Don’t fill it all the way or it will overflow in the oven as the cake rises. If you’re worried, you can put the pan on a cookie sheet to be extra sure not to make a giant mess in your oven. Finally, sprinkle the topping mixture on top of the cake or on top of each layer of the cake. If you have leftover topping, put it in another pan and cook it for the same amount of time. This will give you extra crumbles to put between the layers. The crumbles will look a little undercooked, but don’t cook them longer. Doing so will give you very difficult-to-eat crumble rocks.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes for shallow pans, or 30 minutes for a regular round cake pan. While it’s baking, get started on a pot of Caramel Almond black tea or Toasted Nut Brûlée, either of which would be a great addition to this banana crunch cake.
Once the cake is finished in the oven, pile it up, serve, and enjoy!

Banana Crunch Cake Tips

You can add chocolate chips to the batter if you would like! The Banana Bread dessert tea has cocoa nibs in it, so the flavor is already in there.
If you want a little extra crunch, add pecans to the topping before baking.
Make sure you cool the butter before adding to the sugar. Hot butter plus eggs can cook the eggs and make your batter gross and lumpy.
You can either strain the tea leaves out of the butter, or you can leave them in and just bake the leaves into the batter.
This cake would also be fantastic with cream cheese frosting or honey buttercream.

Banana Crunch Cake

1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons loose Banana Bread herbal dessert tea
1 and 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 over-ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350
Melt 1/2 cup of butter in a small sauce pan and add tea leaves. Steep for 5 minutes and remove from heat.
While butter cools, combine flour, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. Mash bananas, eggs, extracts, and sour cream in another bowl. Combine all topping ingredients in a third bowl.
Once butter is slightly cooled, add sugar and butter into a large stand mixer or other large bowl. Mix together.
Add banana mixture into the sugar/tea bowl and mix.
Gradually add dry ingredients (but not the topping ingredients) into the mixer bowl and make sure it’s just mixed. There’s no need to over mix, but you definitely don’t want dry flour lumps.
Grease cake pan or pans and fill 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle topping onto each of the layers. Put any extra topping in another cake pan or baking sheet and bake alongside the cake.
Bake for 20 minutes for small layer pans and 30 minutes for a regular round cake pan.
Make sure your cake is baked by sticking a knife into the middle of it. If the knife comes out clean, the cake is ready to come out of the oven. If the knife comes out with a bunch of batter on it, bake a little longer and try again.
Remove from oven and top with extra topping. Serve and enjoy!

Jesse McDonald

Jesse is a photographer and author currently living Jacksonville, FL, or wherever the Marine Corps sends her family. Her favorite thing to do is have tea with the most amazing little toddler the world has ever known.
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