Coconut crusted brown butter banana cake

I have all kinds of ideas for good desserts, but to be honest, I'm too afraid to waste ingredients to try a lot of them. Then again, how many combinations based on flour, sugar, and butter could be totally inedible...? So maybe my pride stands on the line a little, too. Heaven forbid an idea turns disaster and I'm exposed as a sham of a baker...! No but seriously, I've never thought of my skill as a baker as much more than my thorough attention to detail. Maybe also experience. But I'd like to be not only adapting stand-by recipes but also to develop my own. It requires time and focus and I'll probably have some disasters. I guess I'll have to embrace the error element in the trial-and-error process! (I probably just won't share them here haha.)

Anyway, this morning I decided I'd start going solo a little more often. I figured banana cake was a safe start - pretty basic and familiar. Just playing with flavors, elements, and process. The result was a success! The coconut topping gets caramelized during baking and creates a sweet, buttery, chewy topping. The browned butter adds depth of flavor and the cake is moist and tender. It's like the dressed up sister of banana bread. Plus it's great for dessert but still totally acceptable for breakfast. It might be basic but it's a start!

Coconut brown butter banana loaf cake

makes 1 9x5 inch loaf, 8x8 inch square cake, or 9 inch circle cake

I roasted the bananas for this, but mostly because my bananas were not spotty brown. You can skip if you want.

I used a loaf pan, but I think a flatter, wider pan would have been better. 

I did not flip the cake out as early as I should have because I got distracted, hence its disheveled appearance. If you wait too long it will harden and stick to the pan. 



  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened

  • 1 cup coconut

  • 1/3 scant cup brown sugar

  • 1 Tbsp flour


  • 1 stick butter (8 Tbsp, 4 oz, 1/2 cup)

  • 2 large bananas or 3 medium/small

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

  • 1/4 cup white sugar

  • 2 Tbsp sour cream

  • 1 tbsp vanilla

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350. If roasting bananas, place bananas on baking sheet and roast until dark brown all over, 25 minutes. Let cool.

  2. Topping. Spread 3 Tbsp softened butter evenly over the sides and bottom pan. Sprinkle coconut over butter, followed by brown sugar, then flour.

  3. Cake. Brown the stick of butter by heating in a small saucepan over medium heat. It will melt, then foam, then settle down. Swirl continuously. The solids that settle to the bottom will start to brown. When the butter turns amber and starts to smell nutty and fragrant, remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl or measuring cup to cool. Be sure to scrape out all those yummy browned bits!

  4. Mash the bananas in a small bowl. Mix in sour cream and vanilla.

  5. Using the whisk attachment on a mixer, whip together the eggs and the sugars until light and fluffy, a few minutes. Slowly add the browned butter in a thin stream. Stir in the banana mixture until just combined. Sprinkle the baking soda and baking powder, then the flour and salt. Stir until just combined.

  6. Scrape into prepared pan and bake 45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes, then flip onto a plate.