Vintage Kitchen: Gingerbread Banana Shortcake

This recipe was submitted by a reader, Peter Budd, or rather he sent me a pdf booklet of his great-grandmother’s family recipes. I scrolled through it, seeing several options, and then decided that given the season, this one was a good choice. That, and it’s not a flavor combination I would have chosen on my own, but it does work nicely. Or, if you don’t like bananas like the First Reader, it’s a superior firm gingerbread on it’s own.

I did make two small changes to the recipe, one for personal preference, and the other for practical needs. I have been baking for some thirty-odd years, and when I look at a batter that isn’t a batter… well, let’s just say this didn’t look right, so I borrowed from what I know about other cake recipes and adjusted on the fly.

Sarah Benham’s Gingerbread Banana Shortcake
3 tbsps. shortening (I used lard, and melted it. Oil would also work)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
1 3/4 c flour
1 tsp ginger (we like ginger, I upped this to 2 tsps.)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda (baking soda)
1 tsp baking powder

(Preheat oven to 350. She didn’t say what heat, so I went with middle-of-the-road)
Sift together dry ingredients, mix as for cake (which is why I added 1/2 cup milk as I was mixing and not getting all the dry into the wet). Bake in pan where dough will be about 2 in thick (she doesn’t say when baked, or before. I used two 8″ round cake pans, split the batter, and smoothed it out for even rising). Bake for 25-30 minutes (I may have the heat wrong. Mine only took about 15 minutes before a toothpick came out clean). While slightly warm cover each layer with sliced bananas and whipped cream.

Even wither the added milk, the batter is very stiff.

This came out very well. The cake was a little dry, very firm, but for the purpose that was a good thing. The flavor is great, rich and gingery the way we like it. The First Reader eschewed the bananas, and had a wedge with just whipped cream, which he said was perfect. I liked the way the bananas tasted with the cream and cake – it might not have occurred to me to put them together, but they do work very well in conjunction with one another.

Wintertime shortcake!


4 responses to “Vintage Kitchen: Gingerbread Banana Shortcake”

  1. D Gail Begley Avatar
    D Gail Begley

    I’m with Sanford. I only like bananas in their original form or made into banana bread. I despise when mixed with anything else especially that overused strawberry banana mixture.

    1. I’m not a fan of ‘banana flavored’ anything, but these were fresh banana slices, so it was nice. I rarely buy bananas, I got some just for this recipe!

  2. Gingerbread, peaches, and whipped cream is another good combination — actually the only fruit I’ve ever eaten with gingerbread.

    1. I was thinking that peaches would work nicely with this, yes. Might try that tonight…