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Sara Lee Banana Cake recipe?

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41 replies to this topic

#1 Abra

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 12:05 PM

As some of you know, I have a personal chef business cooking for people in their homes. I often bake for my clients, simple cakes, pies and tarts, muffins, biscuits, stuff like that.

Now I have a client who has asked me if I can duplicate the Sara Lee banana cake, which is apparently not being made anymore. I googled for a copycat recipe, and even emailed Sara Lee, from whom I never got a reply, unsurprisingly. Does anyone have a recipe that turns out like Sara Lee's? If I've ever eaten it myself it was eons ago, so I have no clear idea of what she wants.

#2 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 12:11 PM

Don't be silly....if anyone yells at you, we'll yell at them back.

I actually loved Sara Lees banana cake, it was darn good for a mass produced product (maybe a little too sweet, but good none the less)! I didn't know they stopped making it. I think my banana cake recipe with a soft cream cheese frosting would make your client happy. Have you tried it yet?

#3 chefpeon

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 01:49 PM

GOD DAMMIT ABRA!!!
Sorry.....I.....couldn't resist yelling at you. :laugh:

Here's Wendy's recipe.....seems it has some rave reviews. As a matter of fact, I'm going to try it today because I have overripe bananas and a cranky husband.

Wendys Secret Banana Cake:

Cream together:
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter

then add:
3 way over ripe verging on completely gross bananas, aprox 1 1/2 c. banana

To that creamed mixture add:
1 c. sour cream
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. soda
3/4 tsp salt

Lastly add:
2 c. flour
Nuts are optional......1/2 c.

Bake 350F. I spray my pan with release spray and line with parchement. I multiply this recipe into huge batches with-out needing to change anything. You can bake this in any size or type pan. It's not a huge riser, so fill your pans accordingly. I hope you all enjoy it.



#4 Abra

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 02:12 PM

I haven't tried Wendy's cake, and it does look good. Annie, have you had the Sara Lee one? Can you compare them, after you try Wendy's? This looks like it might be richer and denser than a SL product, which I think of as sort of fluffy.

#5 JSkilling

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 02:19 PM

Yell at me too cuz I love that coconut cake that comes in the square... :shock:

I don't actually remember the banana cake, though. But when you figure this out I'll test out a recipe as well since my family loves banana stuff....
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#6 chefpeon

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 02:58 PM

I've never had a Sara Lee thing in my life. One, because my mom wouldn't buy that stuff at the store....not 'cause she was worried about sugar in those days, but because it was expensive.
And two, because people who know me know not to buy Sara Lee, since I'd rather make it myself. So, I don't know how to compare.

But, I do have cakes in the oven as we speak, and I will report back on fluffiness, flavor, texture and all that.

Gotta check 'em......!

#7 chefpeon

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 04:29 PM

Ok.....here are my banana cakes (courtesy of Wendy) fresh out of the oven. As she mentioned, they aren't big risers, so I filled my cake pans nearly full. They probably rose about a half inch or so.
Observation number one: made the house smell GREAT!
Posted Image


As you can see I sliced the top off one of them to expose the crumb. Not super fine and fluffy, but not banana bread densy either.
Observation number two: my taste from the sliced off top was DEEE-LISH! Nice and moist.....this cakey is a keeper for moi!!!
Posted Image

I followed Wendy's recipe to the "T", except:
*I used fat free sour cream because I didn't have the regular stuff around (I'm going to Weight Watchers....I gotta cut points where possible.)
*I did a bonehead kind of thing.....my overripe bananas were frozen, so I microwaved them a bit then stuck 'em in the Cuiz to puree. They were still partially frozen when I pureed them, so were very very cold when I added them to my creamed butter/sugar mixture. This then made my butter/sugar mixture kinda lumpy, which then probably created some micro-butter pockets in my batter and I probably didn't get as good of a crumb as I could have. Remember kids, don't be like Annie.....and make sure all your ingredients are close to room temp when you add them!
I know better, I really do, but something about baking at home makes me kind of a dumbass. :blush:
*I used cake flour instead of all purpose.

Final observation:
Best banana cake I've ever made, dumbass stuff and all. I'm sure when I do it right next time it'll be even better.
I also believe you could probably make it fluffier by separating the eggs and folding the whites in at the end. I might try that next time.

This time however, I will be waiting for it to cool, slicing it in layers (about 3 or 4 I guess) and filling it with an espresso-Kahlua ganache, then icing it up in coffee buttercream and pouring it with more ganache. Then I'll serve it to my cranky husband. That'll make him feel better!

#8 SweetCaroline

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 05:05 PM

I've never had a sara lee banana cake either, but remember really liking their pound cake (especially, frozen). But, as stated above, there is none better than Wendy's banana cake. I know how it is though...when you have a memory of something and want that exact thing. Good luck in your search and let us know if you can replicate.

#9 TrishCT

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 05:21 PM

I think many of us agreed that Wendy's cake made with cake flour was excellent.

I remember Sara Lee's Banana Cake well, it was very good. I agree that Wendy's cake makes a great base for it. The tricky part is the icing. I also agree with Wendy that a cream cheese icing is good...but the Sara Lee Banana Cake icing wasn't white... So perhaps a cream cheese icing that has some mashed banana in it? And the icing needs to be very thick and sweet. The kind of icing you can drag a fork through and the tine marks stay put.

#10 rooftop1000

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 05:24 PM

Ok I have found a recipe that claims to be as good or better


the recipe

and a foodservice pack from Sara Lee

sara lee
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#11 fiftydollars

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 05:28 PM

I thought this was about Sandra Lee...

#12 Abra

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 05:47 PM

Woohoo for you, rooftop, you're a better googler than I, and I always claim to be the best. I bow to you! Vegetable shortening is a no go for this client, but I suppose I could sub butter. That looks like a very standard cream cheese icing, whioch doesn't square with TrishCT's recollection. Hmmm.

Annie's Wendy cakes look beautiful and yummy. Thanks for the photos! The crumb is an issue here, I think. Now I wonder which one to try. Trish, when you look at those two recipes, can you tell which would be more SL-ish?

#13 chefpeon

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 06:11 PM

Note that the cake recipe rooftop Googled uses the methodology of folding the whites in at the end. This will give a you lighter fluffier crumb. I'm sure you can do the same with Wendy's recipe.

Since you're looking to imitate Sara Lee, go with the recipe that claims to be just like it. Give your client a sample......see if she likes it.....

#14 Patrick S

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 08:57 PM

Final observation:
Best banana cake I've ever made, dumbass stuff and all. I'm sure when I do it right next time it'll be even better.
I also believe you could probably make it fluffier by separating the eggs and folding the whites in at the end. I might try that next time.

This time however, I will be waiting for it to cool, slicing it in layers (about 3 or 4 I guess) and filling it with an espresso-Kahlua ganache, then icing it up in coffee buttercream and pouring it with more ganache. Then I'll serve it to my cranky husband. That'll make him feel better!

View Post


Sheesh that sounds good.

I love Wendy's banana cake too. Its so good on its own, I bet its deadly with espresso-Kahlua.
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#15 TrishCT

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 05:05 PM

Abra, notice how the recipe rooftop found is described as "fresher and lighter." It won't be like the Sara Lee Cake. The Sara Lee cake is one layer and very very very moist, and has a pronounced banana flavor. I still think Wendy's recipe made with cake flour would be a good facsimile.

The key is the icing. The icing was not white. It was tannish/brownish, and very sweet. This is what it was most like--Do you recall a cake called Spanish Bar Cake put out by A&P and its successors---SuperFoodMart/Waldbaum's? That was a spice cake with a very dense, sweet icing....(white in color).

The Sara Lee Banana cake had the same type of icing only, I think, with banana in it.

Wow, I just did a quick google and found a picture of the banana cake. See...brown icing... They call it a buttercream.

Sara Lee Banana Cake

Edited by TrishCT, 21 February 2005 - 05:13 PM.


#16 Abra

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 09:45 PM

Thanks, Trish, that really helps. Ok, so Wendy's cake made with cake flour it is. Now to figure out that icing. I'm not sure that it could have had fresh banana in it - that seems unstable. So probably a little banana flavor? And what would make it tan? I'm starting to remember that sort of icing, from way back in my childhood food memories. I have no idea how to recreate that.

#17 momlovestocook

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 06:48 AM

I have made icing with fresh banana before. It was a banana cake with chocolate banana icing.
Here's the recipe(It's from a parenting magazine and fairly sweet since it's geared towards kids)

1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp butter softened
3 tbsp cocoa powder(I guess you just leave this out)
half a ripe banana
1 tsp vanilla

You can either mash the banana and mix it all together in the mixer or just throw it all in the food processor.

Sandra
ps I remember that cake from A&P-my mother bought it all the time for my Dad

#18 sarah o

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 08:17 AM

Oh mi god, TrishCt! i remember that Spanish Bar cake too! It came in a loaf shape,didn't it? We used to have an A&P 2 blocks from our house and my mom always bought that cake! That brings back so many memories. Thank you for bringing that up.

#19 FoodMan

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 10:00 AM

I was getting ready to yell thinking we were talking about Sandra Lee as well!! :smile:.

I do have a question about this great looking Wendy banana cake though. Is the recipe enough for two 9inch cake pans? From the picture (which are great BTW) it seems so.

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#20 CompassRose

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 10:31 AM

I've never had the Sara Lee banana cake (or anything Sara Lee for that matter) but the icing looks just like an icing my mother used to make for her quick scratch cakes, which started with brown sugar and butter cooked together.

I can't help thinking that actual banana in a "buttercream" sounds sort of eugh. Especially in a cake that's meant to sit around on a shelf for a while. While a brown sugar/banana combination would be yummy!

Edited by CompassRose, 22 February 2005 - 10:31 AM.


#21 Patrick S

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 10:32 AM

I do have a question about this great looking Wendy banana cake though. Is the recipe enough for two 9inch cake pans?

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#22 lcdm

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 10:47 AM

That icing looks similar to the icing on a butterscotch krimpet (from Tastykake)
http://www.tastykake...nelID=73#100336

#23 chefpeon

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 01:50 PM

So probably a little banana flavor? And what would make it tan?


Banana extract or emulsion is good.....and you know how I make my icing tan?
I make cinnamon roll icing once a week and I add quite a bit o' vanilla. Just the color of the
vanilla gives you a nice tannish hue. I also don't see a problem with using fresh banana, but you would need to be wary of "soupyness" in that case.

I honestly think the best icing for that banana cake would have a little cream cheese in it. You need that tang to offset that huge banana sweetness in my opinion....otherwise it's major overkill. :wink:

#24 jgarner53

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 05:46 PM

I would be inclined to think of cream cheese icing with brown sugar in it maybe? Did the Sara Lee icing taste like banana? I can't remember.
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#25 TrishCT

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 06:28 PM

I agree the icing is a quandry, knew it would be. But yes, the icing did have a faint sweet banana taste. Maybe adding some vanilla and banana extract would work in a sweet simple buttercream....I dunno.

#26 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 09:08 PM

Banana extract or emulsion is good.....and you know how I make my icing tan?
I make cinnamon roll icing once a week and I add quite a bit o' vanilla. Just the color of the vanilla gives you a nice tannish hue.

I honestly think the best icing for that banana cake would have a little cream cheese in it.



I do think Annie is correct. I've had that cake Sara Lee cake many times over the years and I feel pretty certain there wasn't banana flavoring of any sort in the frosting. As I recall it was a very soft cream cheese frosting and I attribute the off white color to vanilla and real butter as mentioned..........and in real life the frosting wasn't tan, only off white, as most frostings with real butter are.

#27 scott123

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Posted 23 February 2005 - 04:58 AM

Abra, from the sara lee website, it looks like this cake is still being sold, just not retail. There has to be some cafeteria (school/business) in your area that's selling this stuff. Make some calls.

If you can get a piece of cake in your hand, it'll take all the guessing out of the equation.

#28 JSkilling

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Posted 23 February 2005 - 05:30 AM

If you look at the ingredient list on the site mentioned you can see what they have in this cake and frosting. There is no cream cheese listed or flavoring other than vanillin, which is giving the off color most likely. I'm betting on a simple shortening buttercream with vanilla flavoring. But I personally wouldn't recreate that and would use a cream cheese frosting on this!
Josette

#29 Abra

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Posted 23 February 2005 - 08:41 AM

You guys are wonderful!

#30 achevres

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Posted 23 February 2005 - 08:59 AM

The fact sheet on the cake says "butter cream icing," made with shortening (which I wouldn't use, either)

The end of the ingredient list says: "...Natural Flavor, Vanillin (Artificial Flavor), Annatto Extract (Color)." The natural flavor is banana (they say it). Annatto is also known as "achiote." It looks like they use a tiny amount of that. It is also what gives yellow cheddar its color.

The proportions of flavor and color that are in the cake vs the icing will be better judged with an actual piece of the cake on hand :hmmm: .


Sara Lee Banana Cake Fact Sheet





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