Putting leftover bananas to work in the most delicious way possible! Banana Bars are delicious on their own, but the Cream Cheese Frosting puts them RIGHT over the top.
I'm a sucker for a good banana dessert.
If a restaurant has a banana option on the dessert menu, done deal. Game over. That's what I'm getting. (Exception: If the restaurant is Italian, I'm ordering Tiramisu).
And if I have leftover bananas on hand, it's a done deal. I'm making Banana Bars with cream cheese frosting.
Whether you have bananas in the freezer waiting for their second act (I have a story about this which I'll come back to) or you have bananas on the counter that are sliding into darkness, this recipe is your solution.
"My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana, I said 'No, but I want a regular banana later, so ... yeah.' " -Mitch Hedberg
Like many food bloggers, I often find myself in a situation where I have more food than mouths to feed. When this happens, I call friends who help alleviate the "burden." Desserts are especially problematic for me because I REALLY don't want to eat an entire cake in a day.
And it sounds crazy, and you think I'm exaggerating, but that's only because you've never seen me eat. I can out-eat you. Whoever you are, I am sure that I can eat more than you can. Just ask anyone.
Or better yet, let's have lunch.
But anyway, back to this cake. I never call anyone for help with this cake. It's just too good. I can't share it. Try it: You'll see why.
Frozen Banana tangent: My sister Monica visited me right after I had my daughter, Charlotte, about a year ago. Along with cleaning my house, doing my laundry, holding my newborn, and playing with my son (I distinctly remember being extra lazy while she was around), she peeled all my browning bananas and put them in freezer bags for me. And labeled them. It was just such a thoughtful gesture.
Many thanks to my Aunt Tammy who generously shared her recipe with me! (I am also eternally in her debt for this delicious Cowboy Caviar recipe. Yes, same Aunt Tammy.)
Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the bars:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium, see notes)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the bars:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 15” x 10” x 1” pan (jelly roll pan) with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In an electric mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add eggs and beat until incorporated. Beat in banana and vanilla until incorporated. Gradually add flour mixture and mix until uniformly combined.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
To make the frosting:
- In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
- Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat well. Spread evenly over cooled bars.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
- Arrange unpeeled bananas on prepared baking sheet. Bake until banana skins are completely black all over, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Cool. Scoop banana pulp from peel and mash.