This sweet banana bread cake, known in Brazil as Bolo de Farinha de Rosca com Banana, is insanely good! A unique treat made with breadcrumbs, this recipe tastes like banana French toast and bread pudding had a cake baby, almost like a Brazilian Torta di Pane! And yes, there are three parts to this—the fluffy cake, the crunchy topping and the gooey caramel—but I promise they’re all pretty simple to make! Not to mention, totally worth it!
Why I love this Banana Bread Cake recipe
Banana desserts are the best in my book. I love that bananas are a fruit you can eat all year long, which means this is a cake you can enjoy all year, too!
This banana bread cake, known as bolo de farinha de rosca com banana in Brazil, is perfect for brunch, or an afternoon coffee time pick-me-up. You can also enjoy it as dessert— to make it even more decadent, warm it up and throw a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, and yessss! You’ll be in heaven!
And while it seems like a lot is going on when it comes to making this bread cake with the three different parts, it really isn’t too bad. You start with the topping, which is just combining a few ingredients, then you mix the cake, and while the cake bakes, you make the caramel (or skip the caramel part altogether, and use store-bought caramel!)
It also helps that the ingredients list features a lot of the same items. We’re talking the basic things we usually have at home, like sugar, cinnamon, eggs, milk, oil and of course, ripe bananas. And, instead of flour, we use breadcrumbs, which we call farinha de rosca in Portuguese, hence the name of the cake! I make my own breadcrumbs (farinha de rosca) at home from old bread, but store-bought breadcrumbs and a few pieces of old bread for the topping work wonderfully, too.
A Brazilian Torta di Pane, then…?
I guess so… Because it’s made of old bread/breadcrumbs, we can say this bread cake is sort of a Brazilian torta di pani, which is a classic Swiss and Italian cake also made out of bread. The difference is torta di pane is made with bread that’s soaked, and this Brazilian bread cake is made with breadcrumbs.
Other classic Brazilian desserts to try: Brigadeiro Recipe – Brazilian Fudge Balls | Pavê de Chocolate – No Bake Chocolate Biscuit Cake Recipe | Beijinho de Coco – Brazilian Coconut Balls with Condensed Milk
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What you need to make your Brazilian Banana Bread Cake
How to make this Bolo de Farinha de Rosca com Banana
The advantage of making your breadcrumbs (farinha de rosca) is that you can control the consistency.
For this cake, I keep some chunky parts to use in the topping to add a sweet crunchy texture to an otherwise very moist, soft cake.
The best way to do this is to sift the breadcrumbs—use the very fine ones to make the cake and the chunkier parts to make the crunchy topping… If not, just use day old bread, or toast fresh bread (about a cup’s worth) and you’re good to go. The “dryer” the bread, the more it’ll hold its crunchy texture on top. And if it gets soggy, no problem—it’ll taste just like French toast!
Start with the crunchy topping
We start by making the topping so the breadcrumbs can absorb the moisture we’re about to impart in them. To do that, we just whisk the milk, the vanilla and egg together, then mix in the sugar and the cinnamon and add the chunky breadcrumbs to soak.
This crunchy topping is optional, but it adds great texture to the cake. If you’re not feeling like the extra work, skip this section and jump right into cake, and you’re good to go!
Then, make the bread cake
Start by preheating your oven, so that by the time you’re done mixing the cake, the oven is nice, hot and ready to bake.
After that, spray or grease your pan before you get your batter ready. This way, your cake batter won’t sit a few extra minutes with active baking powder, waiting for you to get the pan set up.
Then, just mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl – all but the sugar!
After that, measure the bananas. I don’t puree or smash them because I’m too lazy, but also, they’re soft from being ripe, so I squeeze them into a measuring cup, as shown below.
Then blend the banana, sugar, and other wet ingredients in a blender.
Once your batter is nice and smooth, pour it into the prepared baking pan, then add the breadcrumb topping. The best way to do that is with a slotted spoon so you can drain the excess liquid from the crumb topping.
Arrange some banana slices in there, too, and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sugar.
Then, bake until a cake tester/toothpick inserted to the middle comes out lightly crumbly to clean.
While the bread cake bakes, make the caramel sauce
Or not!! Feel free to just use store bought-caramel if you want, and call it a day!
The best ways to enjoy this Banana Bread Cake
Honestly, this Bolo de Farinha de Rosca com Banana is excellent on its own, but if you’re feeling super decadent, there are a few other ways you can enjoy it:
- Swap the caramel for some dulce de leche (thank me later!)
- Top it with vanilla ice cream
- Or with homemade whipped cream, or both!
Frequently Asked Questions
Banana bread is a baked good that celebrates the goodness of banana and is baked in a bread pan. A banana cake, like this one, has a topping of some sort, like the homemade caramel, and is baked in a cake pan or a pie dish.
This cake is wonderfully moist, thanks to the addition of oil, milk and ripe bananas.
Other Brazilian Cakes You’ll Love:
If you’re in the market for something different than this Brazilian Torta di Pane, you need to check out the following…
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For the Crumb Topping:
- 1/2 cup of whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 cup of coarse breadcrumbs
- 1/2 of a large banana, sliced
For the Cake:
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1.5 cups of ripe bananas about 3-4 bananas
- 2.5 cups of fine breadcrumbs/farinha de rosca
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
For the Caramel Sauce:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of cream
First, Make the Topping:
- In a small bowl, whisk the milk, the vanilla and the egg together to combine.
- Then, mix in the sugar and the cinnamon, and whisk until homogenous.
- Finally, add in the breadcrumbs to soak in the mixture, and set aside. Reserve the banana slices for the final assembly, and move on to make the cake.
Make the Bread Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- Grease a 10 inch pie plate, or cake pan with butter, or cooking spray – set aside.
- In a medium bowl, add in the breadcrumbs, the cinnamon, the baking powder and the pinch of salt – whisk to combine and set aside.
- Next, add the bananas, the milk, the sugar, and the oil to a blender, and pulse to combine. Then, add in the eggs and the vanilla, and pulse a few more times.
- Pour the liquid mixture over the bowl with the breadcrumbs mixture and gently fold using a silicone spatula until fully incorporated. Don't forget to scrape the sides of the bowl, too.
- Pour the batter into the greased pan, then using a slotted spoon to drain excess liquid, scoop the crumb topping and place it on top of the batter.
- Arrange the banana slices on top, and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sugar.
- Bake until a cake tester/toothpick inserted to the middle comes out lightly crumbly to clean (about 30 mins).
- While the bread cake bakes, make the caramel sauce.
Make the Caramel Sauce:
- Add the sugar and the water to a small saucepan over medium to high heat. Bring it to a simmer, and let it simmer until it turns into a light gold color. Be sure to watch the pan at all times to avoid burning the sugar, and never, ever, ever stir it.
- When the sugar is light gold color, turn off the heat, and immediately after, carefully pour in the butter, the vanilla, the cinnamon and the cream. Stir to combine and set aside.
- When the cake is done baking, remove it from the oven and place the pan over a cooling rack.
- Drizzle the caramel sauce over the bread cake while it's still hot.