Banana pudding evokes feelings of nostalgia and can be found on the table at many Black family reunions and church potlucks. While bananas aren’t native to Africa, many African slaves on Caribbean plantations consumed a plethora of bananas because they served as cheap slave rations.
In her cookbook, Black Girl Baking, Jerrelle Guy puts a new twist on this classic dessert by replacing the traditional vanilla wafers with homemade banana “croutons”. Not only is this dessert delicious, but it’s also gluten-free and vegan.
Ready in 2 hours – Makes 2 large parfaits
Banana Cake Croutons
- ⅓ cup (80g) semisolid virgin coconut oil or softened butter
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) vanilla extract
- 2 ripe bananas, pureed in a blender
- 2 cups (240g) oat flour
- 2 teaspoons (6g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup (80ml) oat or nut milk
- 5 ripe bananas, 3 mashed, 2 sliced
- 3 cups (720g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt or plant-based yogurt, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons (15-30ml) agave, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and have an oiled rimmed 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) sheet tray nearby.
To make the cake croutons, in a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add the pureed banana, mixing until combined. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into the bowl, folding gently, then add the milk and finish folding until just combined. Pour the batter into the sheet tray, spreading evenly to the edges of the pan, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cake is cooked all the way through. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (170°C).
Cut the cake into bite-size pieces, then place the cubes back on the sheet tray and bake for another 35-40 minutes, tossing the croutons halfway through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and harden.
When you’re ready to assemble the parfaits, have 2 glasses on hand. In a bowl, mix 2 of the mashed bananas with 2 cups (480g) of the Greek yogurt, vanilla, and agave to taste. Set aside. Add the last mashed banana to a bowl and set aside. Add the remaining 1 cup (240g) of yogurt to a disposable piping bag with a star tip. Spoon some of the yogurt and banana mixture into the bottom of the glasses. Top with some of the banana croutons, followed by some of the mashed bananas, some of the sliced bananas, and a piping of the plain yogurt. Repeat the layering until the glasses are filled. I like to end with a decorative piping of the yogurt, and then garnish with crumbled croutons and a couple of banana slices on top. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. The cake will soften as it sits.
Tip: If you plan to make the parfait in advance, hold off on garnishing with the sliced banana, because they will brown.