Nana Recipe Wednesday–Banana Mallow Cake

by Sarah on October 20, 2010

Nana, you look so photogenic in your wicker chair and lush greenery.  Where are you?  Someplace tropical, by the looks of it.  Thailand?  Hawaii?  Why are none of the photos labeled?  Why didn’t I actually listen when you probably tried to tell me the story of your vacation to Cambodia?  Ok, strike that last one–only because this is clearly the late 60’s and I don’t think middle aged doctor’s wives were traveling to Cambodia at that time.  Nana, did you ever end up going to Southeast Asia?  I bet you would’ve loved it.

Nana, you would’ve been proud of me today!  After a grueling day at the office, I shopped, came home, continued painting the house, then made a cake!  A truly modern woman, bringing home the bacon, painting, then frying it up in a pan.  Or something like that.  Oh god, that makes me think of that old Enjoli perfume commercial.  Anyone old enough to remember that one?  *crickets*  Damn.

I’ve nearly worked my way through a whole 5 gallon bucket, about a quart of which is now a permanent part of my overalls.

Ok!  Cake time!  This is another one of those retro numbers that embraces packaged convenience foods–namely a cake mix.  The recipe called for a “banana cake mix”, but I don’t think anyone makes those anymore.  I could’ve used a real banana in there, but I figured the fake stuff would probably taste more like a banana cake mix so I went with that.  Besides, all the bananas at my store were green and unripe.

The nice thing about this recipe is that you just dump it all in a bowl and stir it around.  Can’t get easier than that.

Spread it into a 9×13 Pyrex cake pan, greased and floured of course.

Then bake at 350* for 35 minutes.  My cake went 40 minutes, according to the directions and I think it got a bit overdone.  Just test it with a toothpick.

Let it cool completely.  This cake doesn’t need frosting, it’s plenty sweet with the mix and the marshmallow.  But a dusting of powdered sugar looks nice.  I like to use a juice strainer.  It’s small and easy to control.  Ignore the obvious age of my juice strainer, it’s actually Nana’s old one and probably older than me, which, judging from my remembrance of ancient perfume commercials is quite old.

Just shake it over the cake, however much you want.  I just want enough to make things look festive.

Mmm.  Banana Cake!  I’m gonna be honest, I can’t taste the marshmallow.

In fact, I think I’d probably rather have Nana’s stellar Banana Bread.  But gosh, this IS easy if you get yourself in a bind and need to make a quick dessert for your PTA meeting or a potluck or something.  And it is tasty.  Just not banana bread tasty.

So what do you think Nana?  Are you proud of me, or what?

Oh yes.  I think so.


Nana’s Banana Mallow Cake

1 package banana cake mix, if available ~OR~

1 package yellow cake mix plus 1 tsp banana flavoring if banana cake mix unavailable

1 cup marshmallow creme

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 cup chopped pecans

1-1/2 cups water

2 eggs


Preheat oven to 350*.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.   Spread batter into a greased and floured 9×13 cake pan.

Bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean.

Let cool completely and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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