Brazilian Banana Cake (Cuca de Banana) Recipe

Banana cake - Brazilian flavor
Getty Images/Lelia Valduga
  • 80 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: 1 large coffee cake (8 servings)

Cuca de banana is a delicious treat from Southern Brazil, where German immigrants have left their mark on the local cuisine. This cake has a layer of banana and a rich crumb topping, reminiscent of German streusel cake. Also, the name "cuca" may derive from the German word for cake -- kuchen.

However it came into being, this cake is delicious and an excellent cross between banana bread and coffee cake. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week (if it lasts that long!).

What You'll Need

  • For Cake:
  • 4 bananas (very ripe; almost black)
  • 2 bananas (ripe)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • For Crumb Topping:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter (cold)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

How to Make It

  1. Butter the sides of a 9 or 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom of the pan with a circle of wax paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make the crumb topping: Mix 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup light brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Mix butter into the flour and sugar with your fingers, rubbing the butter and dry ingredients together until the butter is well blended and mixture is crumbly, like a very coarse meal.
  1. Peel and slice the 2 ripe bananas into very thin slices and set aside.
  2. Mash the 4 very ripe bananas in a small bowl.  Add the oil, water, eggs, and vanilla and whisk to mix well.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients (2 cups sugar, 2 2/3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt) together.
  4. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. 
  5. Place the batter into the prepared pan. Layer the banana slices on top of the batter, then sprinkle the crumb mixture over the banana slices.
  6. Place cake in the oven and bake until the crumb mixture is golden brown and the cake springs back to the touch in the center (or when a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out dry), about 45 to 50 minutes.
  7. Remove cake and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove ring and serve warm or at room temperature.