BOLO DE BANANA
Banana cake in Brazil is very unlike Banana bread in the States. The best banana cake I ever had was on a small farm in Minas Gerais. We arrived on the farm one afternoon after soaking under the waterfalls all day and Tia Sirlei had a rustic banquet of classic specialties from Minas Gerais lined up on her dinner table: coffee with a pot of leite de vaca heated alongside, queijo minas, goiabada, doce de leite cremoso, pão de queijos filled with catupiry and the most memorable: the banana cake. This was no banana bread nor was it a generic sweet cake with cut up bananas on top. It was moist and fluffy, the bananas drenched in caramel that sunk into the sponge cake. It is the only banana cake I will eat and thus the only banana cake I will make.
BRAZILIAN BANANA CAKE RECIPE
To start, make the banana layer:
In a round cake mold place about 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Place the pan over a medium flame until a dry caramel starts to form. Once the sugar has melted and taken on a copper color, remove the pan from the heat and mix in a tablespoon of butter. Make sure the caramel is spread evenly along the bottom of the pan. Cut about 5-6 bananas lengthwise and place them as closely as possible over the caramel.
To make the cake, start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
2 cups (240g) all purpose flour
1 cup (90g) cornstarch
1 tbsp baking powder
4 large eggs, divided
4 tbsp (56g) unsalted butter
2 cups (200g) sugar
1 cup (200ml) milk
Sift the flour, baking powder and corn starch and set asside. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, and combine the egg yolks with the butter and sugar. Next, add the dry ingredients in increments, alternating with the milk. Finally, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and gently fold the egg whites into the batter with a spatula. Pour half of the batter over the banana layer then add one more layer of sliced bananas, top with the rest of the batter and bake for about 40 minutes.