In the early 19th century, when Brazil became independent from Portugal, thousands of Germans settled in the south of the country to work farms, bringing with them their recipes for streuselkuchen (crumb cake). Back home in Germany, the cake would have been made with apples or plums, but bananas were a natural adaptation in the new tropical and subtropical land. In southern Brazil today, cuca de banana is almost as ubiquitous as Australia’s banana bread. The coconut we’ve added in the topping is our own nod to the country’s produce.
- 6 bananas, peeled
- 330 g (1½ cups) caster sugar
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 4 eggs, separated
- 300 g (2 cups) plain flour, sifted
- 250 ml (1 cup) buttermilk
- 240 g (1 cup) sour cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- icing sugar, sifted, to dust
- 100 g (⅔ cup) plain flour
- 75 g (⅓ cup) brown sugar
- 25 g (⅓ cup) shredded coconut
- 125 g cold unsalted butter, chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line base and side of a 22 cm springform pan.
To make crumb topping, combine flour, sugar, coconut and 1 tsp salt in a bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in butter until coarse crumbs form. Refrigerate until needed.
Process 265 g bananas (about half) in a food processor until smooth, then set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in reserved banana purée, flour, buttermilk, sour cream, vanilla, baking powder and ¼ tsp salt. Whisk egg whites to stiff peaks and, working in 2 batches, fold into mixture.
Thinly slice remaining bananas. Pour half the batter into prepared cake pan and arrange banana slices over batter. Top with remaining batter, then scatter with crumb topping. Bake for 2 hours or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in pan. Serve dusted with icing sugar.
Photography Chris Chen
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