Monday, February 20, 2012

Banana Snack Cake and The Hunger Games

Banana Snack Cake

Banana snack cake is super delicious and easy. I saw this on Aileen's blog, Happy Little Southern Nest a few weeks ago and knew I was going to drop everything and whip it up that very day. It's the perfect mid-day snack because it only dirties one bowl, and bakes up quickly. I loved the idea of mashing all those bananas in the batter to subtly sweeten the cake which keeps additional sugar usage at a minimum. Besides the banana cake recipe, Aileen had been talking about the Hunger Games in some of her posts. The name alone did not appeal to me so I didn't think much of anything at first. But, if you know anything at all about this book series (and I'm sure you do) one thing is certain. You'll keep hearing about it. The Hunger Games are not going away. It's wildly popular and the movie is coming out in March.

Hunger Games

Aileen was the third trustworthy person to recommend these books to me. I hesitated because the story takes place in the future, and I reminded myself that I don't usually like sci-fi (the book is not sci-fi). Then, when I got my hands on a copy to check it out, the book description started off with this:

"In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts."
A little Star Wars-ish if you ask me

It continues:

"The capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV."
Wha???? The second something is not completely believable, I tend to lose interest. Hmmmm


"Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love."
Intriguing. But I still hate that the main characters name is Katniss, which is clearly made up. I decide I can get over it, though.

I'm standing in the book store and decide to read the first couple pages and see if I like it. Nothing wows me immediately except I can't help but want to continue, so I decide to go ahead and buy the book. Initially, I was having difficulty making the purchase because it seems absolutely everyone who picks it up loves this book. The same thing happened with Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and I read it... and then didn't love it. Would this be the same? I asked the girl at the register. She looked me straight in the eye and said "You will love The Hunger Games. In fact, we can't keep it on our shelves. You are lucky it was here today. We must have just got a shipment. When you start the book and decide you like it, because you will, you should call us right away to order and hold a copy of the second book (there's three in the series) since you'll finish this one in two days because you won't be able to put it down, and you'll want the next one."

She was wrong about one thing. It took me three days to read. I am obsessed. End. Of. Story. Recommended highly.

Banana Snack Cake

And now look at what's happened. The Hunger Games have stolen all of the banana snack cakes thunder and it really is a shame because this cake is very, very good. I suggest you get yourself off the computer, buy some bananas and the book, then come home and make the cake and while it's baking, start the first chapter. Make sure you set the timer to go off when it's done though, or you might end up forgetting and reading for hours. No, what am I thinking? The heavenly smells wafting in from the kitchen will get you first.

Banana Snack Cake

Banana Snack Cake
adapted from How Sweet It Is

makes 9-12 squares
1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with non-stick spray

In a large bowl, whisk egg and brown sugar until smooth. Add in vanilla extract and mashed bananas, mixing until combined. Add in flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt, mixing until the batter comes together. Add in melted butter and mix until evenly distributed.

Pour batter in the baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until center is no longer jiggly and edges are golden. Top with cream cheese glaze.

Whipped Cream Cheese Glaze
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream, or more depending on texture

1/4 cup whipped cream cheese, at room temperature

In a bowl, whisk cream cheese vigorously until it smoothes out. Add in sugar, vanilla and cream one tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly. This glaze will be a bit thicker (almost like a thin frosting), so add more or less cream depending on your desired consistency.


  1. I was the same way about The Hunger Games, I held off for so long then finished all 3 in a week. I can't wait for the movie! And that banana cake does look amazing :)

  2. LOL! I knew you would like it. Can you say I was right?!?!?! PLEASE!!! Thank you!

  3. you always make THE best food ... you deserve your own show .. I know Ive said that before! :)

  4. I'm so glad you like both the banana snack cake & The Hunger Games! :) Your photos look great!

  5. I haven't read The Hunger Games yet but so many people have told me I need to read them! And that cake looks delicious! I used all my ripe bananas yesterday in banana bread. This is at the top of my list to make with the next batch of ripe bananas!

  6. Love the book and can't wait to try the cake!

  7. I know that I am in the vast minority here but I do not see the big deal about Hunger Games. The first book was good but not re-readable. The second book felt and read the same as the first and the third annoyed me half to death. That being said I will watch at least the first movie to see how it translates :)

    This cake looks pretty good, how do you think adding some lemon would taste?

  8. Could that possibly look anymore amazing? I definitely need to make these ASAP! xo

  9. mmmmmm that banana cake looks AMAZING!! must make asap :)
    and i'm obsessed with THG - that picture is hilarious!! xo