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Amish Friendship Banana Coffee Cake with Vanilla Chai Streusel

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As you may recall, I’ve been working on perfecting my banana bread recipe for next year’s state fair competition.  I’m on a personal mission to beat a certain lady whose banana bread has won first place for the last three years I’ve participated.  I’m not sure if it’s even possible, because she seems to have magical baking powers, judging by how many ribbons she wins each year.  But if I lose this year, it’s not because I didn’t try.

So far I’ve made seven recipes and have frozen a piece from each loaf so that by the time I feel that I’ve got a winner, I can do a taste-test comparison to make sure.  My husband and his co-workers (they’re my judges) all told me to stop after loaf number three, and they keep telling me that none of the loaves since that one have been as good, but I have to make sure I’ve really got the BEST one.  So I soldier on.

So what does my banana bread quest have to do with this coffee cake?  Well, it was actually inspired by the most recent banana bread I made. The bread version did not turn out as I had hoped, but this cake is utterly perfect.  The winning loaf of banana bread was one that I added cardamom to on a whim, and I figured that adding all the chai spices to it would make it even better.  I keep trying it in different ways, the latest with a chai streusel, but for some reason it’s never as good as the cardamom alone.  It’s giving me a twitch.  I really don’t want to submit a bread called “cardamom banana bread,” when I could submit “chai banana bread,” which sounds so much cooler!

Anyway, after making the chai streusel banana bread, which was good but not knock-your-socks-off, I still had three over-ripe bananas waiting to be used and I was just tired of reinventing my banana bread.  I had to do something else with those bananas.  I happened to get an email notification for a contest for new Amish Friendship Bread recipes at the same time my bananas were screaming to be used, so I defrosted one of the Amish Friendship Bread starters I saved months ago, and created this coffee cake with it.  I’m really hoping to get that $75 Amazon gift card with this one! :)

This is one delicious coffee cake, people.  I really love the flavor of the banana cake and the vanilla chai streusel with the crunchy toasted walnuts.  Match made in heaven.  This is my favorite Amish Friendship Bread recipe I’ve made to date!

If you want to make this but don’t have any Amish Friendship Bread Starter, click here to learn how to make the starter, or if you’re local, I might be able to hook you up if you request it quick enough–I still have one to spare.

Amish Friendship Banana Coffee Cake with Vanilla Chai Streusel

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Vanilla Chai Streusel:
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split & seeds scraped out
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons cardamom
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
¾ cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour

Banana Coffee Cake:
3 large over-ripe bananas
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
¼ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Generously butter a 13”x9” cake pan and set aside.

To make the chai streusel, combine the sugars, vanilla bean seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in a small mixing bowl; stirring with a fork until well combined. Stir in the walnuts, then pour the butter over the top and mix until combined. Add the flour and mix until incorporated. Set aside.

To make the coffee cake, mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the melted butter until completely incorporated. Add the eggs and whisk them in until fully incorporated. Add the sour cream and whisk until well combined, then whisk in the starter and vanilla until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until well mixed.

Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and sprinkle the streusel over the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before serving or covering with plastic wrap. Serve at room temperature.

A Veronica’s Cornucopia Original

About Veronica

I have a kitchen addiction and love to collect & share recipes. My passion is baking but I love to cook as well. The only thing I don't like to do in the kitchen is wash dishes, but my husband generally does them for me in exchange for his dinner.

13 responses »

  1. This sounds absolutely amazing!!! I can’t wait to try it. As for your quest for the perfect, award winning banana bread…I’ve never tried cardamom in banana bread but I am definitely going to next time I make it. I wish you luck with your quest.


  2. My Italian Smörgåsbord (Aka Barbara)

    ok… what if I don’t have the Amish thingy? :) love the idea of posting updates of the same recipe, I was thinking of doing that too


  3. Yum, this looks delicious! I love Amish friendship bread…it’s definitely lots of fun and made the rounds with my friends a couple of years ago. If it shows up again, it would be nice to have an alternative recipe to try with it! This one looks super tasty, yum. Good luck with finding the perfect banana bread! :)


  4. Your coffee cake looks really good. I wish you lots of luck in this year’s competition. You deserve to win after all your hard work and patience :) I can’t imagine baking as much as you!


  5. You’re like the Mad Scientist of baking–I love it! And I really hope you find that winning recipe to beat your nemesis. But in the meantime, all of the experiments sound quite tasty too!


  6. Yum, this looks so good. I’m new to your blog, having just learned about you from Sugarfoot Eats. I can’t wait to try this, and I’m excited to learn about the Amish Friendship Bread Starter! Thanks so much for all this great information.


  7. Veronica, maybe you could bake this in a loaf pan and enter it in the contest! It looks and sounds fantastic!


  8. Alright, so my goal for this weekend is to get started on that starter. And to purchase some green banans to let ripen. Because this looks award-winning to me! And because I’m a sucker for all things chai.


  9. Mmm, I love everything banana! And this certainly coes look good!


  10. I appreciate your committment to finding THE best recipe. This sure looks like a most winning recipe, indeed! What is it about banana bread? I pulled out a few banana nut muffins from the freezer last night for breakfast this morning…it was smart thinking :)


  11. Sounds delicious! That struesel on top looks mouthwatering. Great idea freezing a slice of each of your banana breads. In my quest to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie, I realized that a side by side taste test is the only way to tell! Best of luck on your entry. I hope you beat a certain someone! ;)



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