Let Them Eat: Nilla Wafer-Banana Cake


While working at Cook's Country, the book team was testing recipes for Cook's Country Best Lost Suppers: Old-Fashioned, Home-Cooked Recipes Too Good to Forget. I got wind of a Nilla Wafer cake being made somewhere. I pounced like a lion on a sickly and unsuspecting wildebeest. Nilla Wafers in cake form? The idea was revolutionary! Even though the concept was foreign and novel to me, I believe Nilla Wafer cake has been experienced and enjoyed by many.

Nilla Wafer cake is made without flour, relying on the finely ground crumbs of the golden Nabisco cookie (though some recipes call for generic vanilla wafers), flaked coconut, chopped nuts, and eggs for structure. Some recipes add chocolate chips, but I think that's stepping into kitchen sink bar territory. Wonderful as the cake is, I like to make recipes my own, lift up the hind leg, if you will, so I took inspiration from the original and baked something a little different.

To Gomez there is Morticia. To Bert there is Ernie. To Brad there is Angelina. And to Nillas there are bananas. And, so, without further ado, I present to you Nilla Wafer-Banana Cake. Forget Brangelina. This "Banilla" cake has more high-voltage star-wattage than any Us Weekly cover duo.

This is a mash-up of recipes. I'd shelved a banana cake recipe that had a few accidents along the way, but when I remembered the Nilla Wafer cake, I decided to dust it off and give it another go with the new secret ingredient. This recipe does contain flour, as well as mashed up bananas that are cooked until reduced and concentrated for a stronger backbone of flavor. Of course, there are Nilla wafer crumbs for that signature vanillin flavor, and brown sugar and buttermilk are also ingredients. It's moist, rich, complex and coated with brown sugar cream cheese icing. It's sensational. Wish I had a piece of it left.