Oatmeal Crumb Banana Cake

This post was thiiiiis close to being another edition of “let me tell you all the crazy things that can happen to the brain.”

I have decided not to subject you to this, and for that, you’re welcome.

Instead, let’s talk about the great and honorable intentions I have for spring break.

I always approach breaks from school with faaaar too much ambition.  There is usually a huge gap between what I dream I will accomplish, and what I actually end up doing.  My rough goals for spring break look like this:

1. Organize all the drawers and the whole closet.
2. Cook all the foods to freeze for when it’s not break anymore.
3. Clean the whole pantry and freezer.
4. Watch all of last season of Mad Men plus every episode of Girls.  Catch up on Nashville, Modern Family, and Parks & Rec.
5. See Argo and that Oz movie (these at least seem doable).
6. Finish that crazy book about the man and his hat.  Re-read The Great Gatsby and The Once and Future King.  Read some book that was actually published in the last 30 years so I can be up to date with current society.
7. Pin everything.  All day.  Every day.
8. Bake everything, take photos, and stockpile recipes for this here blog so that I can actually plan ahead.  In short, change my entire life approach.

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What I will actually accomplish during spring break, since just like during the rest of the year, there are only 24 hours in a day?

1. Refold one stack of tshirts in the closet, get tired, and go on pinterest.
2. Choose a recipe to make a giant batch of soup or what have you.  Fail to make soup, order pizza, and drink wine instead.
3. ….seriously?  Whose idea was that?
4. Watch 2 episodes of Girls the night before school starts and get obsessed like everyone else.  Then be unable to watch TV again until hell freezes over.
5. See Argo and that Oz movie (I told you I could achieve something).
6. Finish that crazy hat book.  Get on pinterest.
7. Done and done.
8. Bake one thing, then realize that since I’m not in school I have nowhere to give away the goods.  Eat 3/4 of whatever I made…and get on pinterest to pin inspirational quotes about working out.


Pathetic.  Pathetic I tell you!  I’m unconcerned by it however.  Really I just want to go to sleep for multiple days.  (I would appreciate it if someone could wake me up 3 times a day to eat macaroni and cheese.  Thanks.)

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ACTUALLY I kind of accomplished one of my spring break plans already!!!  I took these really ripe bananas out of my freezer (totally counts as cleaning), and tried to think about how to not make banana bread with them.  Instead I made banana cake (face it, basically banana bread in a different pan).  I wanted to top it with some crumb topping, because is there ANYONE in the WORLD who doesn’t like crumb topping??  Exactly.

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Buuuuut after making my go-to recipe for crumb topping, spooning it all over the cake, and putting the cake in the oven, I realized this: the topping recipe I used was really more for crisps…like that kind of topping.  I had no fears about the deliciousness of this happy accident, but I was a little worried that the cake wouldn’t get done with all that butter-heavy crumble topping on there.


Fortunately, everything baked perfectly, and I am now the proud inventor of the newest dessert/snack/breakfast sensation to sweep the internet: crumble-crisp-cake-quick bread! (still waiting on the sweeping the internet part.  also need a better name.)

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The only bad part is that there’s a little extra crumb topping in my fridge, which I eat unashamedly by itself.  Except I’m a little ashamed because when crumb topping is cold and not baked, it really just drives home the fact that I’m eating…butter.  With a spoon.

Oatmeal Crumb Banana Cake

Makes one 9×9-inch cake.

For the cake
1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
5 TBS unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (regular milk or buttermilk would work fine)

For the topping
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
12 TBS (= 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, chilled

1. Preheat the oven to 350F with a rack in the middle position.  Butter and flour a 9×9-inch pan and set aside>
2. Make cake – In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Set aside.
3. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the egg and the vanilla for 1 minute. Beat in the bananas until blended (the batter will look curdled, but it will smooth out when you add the dry ingredients).
4. Add about half of the dry ingredients and mix them in with a rubber spatula.  Stir in the almond milk, then stir in the remaining dry ingredients just until combined.
5. Make topping – In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients except the butter.  Add the chilled butter and work it in with your fingers or a pastry cutter until you have lumps about the size of marbles.  (You could also do this in a food processor – just pulse the ingredients after adding the butter until you reach the right texture.)
6. Spread the batter in your prepared pan.  Spoon about 3/4 of the crumb topping evenly over the batter – be generous!  (You could probably add it all and it would still work, but I had about 1/2 cup of topping left after I had generously covered the whole cake.)
7. Bake the cake about 42-50 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the sides of the cake spring back with pressed lightly (it may not do this in the center even though the cake is done, so test the sides and judge by the topping).  Cool cake completely on a wire rack.  It’s important to cool the cake before cutting it so that the topping can firm up!  Cake will keep in an airtight container for 5 days.  I ate it on its own, but it would probably be fantastic warmed up with ice cream!

Recipe for cake adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

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Thanks for reading, happy baking!



  1. These look amazing. And I’m totally with you on the eating the late majority of your baking when there is no one else to give it too! Glad I’m not alone.

    I think your better than most- I bet most people did even getting round to sorting a to do list! So in my eyes your already way better than me!! Xx

  2. This is delicious and it made the house smell incredible whilst baking! But I’m gonna have to buy a 9×9 pan if I keep following this blog… no fewer than three 8×8 pans in cabinet, but no 9×9. And if you do the math (I know you can!) there is a big difference in the surface area of the two sizes. I did make up some of the difference by baking several 3″ ramekins along with my 8×8. Such a problem to have…

    1. Baking in ramekins means you don’t have to share. I would say we could accommodate your pan size problem but…I have all 9-inchers and no 8-inch pans! Glad you liked it!
      ~ H

  3. I have not laughed so hard reading a blog in forever. Oh my goodness I think we are legit the same person – from the Pinterest-ing to to Girls episodes to the eating all the baked goods yourself and making motivational fitness boards! So good! And this cake looks beautiful as do your photos !

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