For the Love of Kitsch – Brown Sugar Bourbon Banana Cake


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Sentimentality is the name of my game.

Got a tacky Christmas sweater that your grandma gave you that you’re trying to get rid of? I’ll take it here!

Weird tea sets that your aunt tried shoving onto you because her garage is full of them? Mine, please!

Yes, I did hoard Beanie Babies at one point. No, you can’t have my Goosebumps books. Don’t judge me when I tell you I collect tea cups.

I love kitschy things. I adore that warm, fuzzy, enveloping feeling that old, borderline tacky memorabilia provides you with.

I recently visited a thrift store last weekend just to browse and ended up with things I definitely did not need. I got glaring, pointed looks from my patient thrift store companion as I picked up more books to take home with me (I have so many new books and all of them half-started and none of them finished).

One of the books I picked up was this absolutely wonderful, heart-warming, nostalgia-inducing Christmas book.


It is filled with recipes, hosting tips, and decorating suggestions and all illustrated in the most gag reflex-activating, cutesy images ever. I love it.

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Did you know that my birthday is December 24th?

Yes. Yes, I am a Christmas baby. I’m not one of those people who groan about how they miss out on having a special day all to themselves. I don’t protest if I get presents that are both for Christmas and my birthday.

I am a maniac.

I love Christmas so much. This book is me. Well, the me I would be if I had so much disposable income that I could spend it just cooking and decorating my halls with cinnamon pine cones and twinkling lights.

To further add to the kitsch and nostalgia – I made this disgustingly wonderful cake in a vintage shape to drink spiced tea with and flip through this adorable book. All the while, I’m wishing it was Christmas already so I can seem less psychotic for carrying this book around and reading it obsessively when I have a spare moment.

This cake will make you want to curl up in a fleece blanket and play Dean Martin while you devour six slices in one sitting. The brown sugar deepens the flavor of the bananas and the subtle crunch of the  sugar and walnuts, doused in browned butter and bourbon in the center makes me want to stomp my feet in excitement.

Thinking about Christmas…in June. That’s not weird, right?

Am I scaring you? Are you wondering – “are you 80 years old?: Do you own 50 cats?” Not yet, my friends. Plus, they wouldn’t be all cats. I need 50 dogs too.

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Brown Sugar Bourbon Banana Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of softened unsalted butter (1 stick) plus 5 tablespoons
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar plus 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • about 4 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 3 tblsp of bourbon
  • 1 cup plain yogurt  or 1 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Prepare your brown sugar and cinnamon filling: In a small bowl, mix the 1/2 cup of brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts and 1 tblsp of bourbon together. In a medium skillet, melt the 5 tblsp of butter and let it cook until it get a toasted, brown color. Take the butter off the heat and mix into the sugar mixture. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl, set aside.
  4. With an electric mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. (I did all of this by hand, so if you don’t have a mixer, that’s fine)  Beat in the vanilla and two tblsp of bourbon, then add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each egg goes in. With a spatula, mix in the bananas. Finally, fold in half the dry ingredients (the batter will get a weird cottage cheese look to it, do not worry!), all the yogurt and then the rest of the flour mixture. Scrape half the batter into the pan, spoon the brown sugar and butter mixture into the center of the batter all the way around. Scrape the rest of the batter on top, covering the brown sugar mixture. Rap the pan on the counter to get rid of air bubbles in the batter.
  5. Bake for 1 hour , or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before transferring. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if your happy heart desires!



All the lovely photos were taken by Nick W.

5 thoughts on “For the Love of Kitsch – Brown Sugar Bourbon Banana Cake

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