Growing up, we visited my Grandma Niederhauser every Sunday after church. Grandma always had a dessert prepared to serve, and her Banana Roll was my favorite. Grandma’s Banana Roll consisted of a light sponge cake spread with a clear filling with whole bananas down the middle. When it was rolled up, each slice had a piece of banana in the center.
Grandma taught me to be very picky about bananas; she cut every little bruise or spot out before laying the bananas down the center of the roll. For this cake, she used bananas that were almost on the green side – never bananas that were extra ripe or speckled with black; those were reserved for banana bread.
I’ve streamlined this recipe to make it easier, using modern appliances. Grandma always beat her eggs over a bowl of hot water; I’ve found that if the eggs are slightly warm (I put them in a bowl of hot tap water before cracking them into the bowl), that step isn’t necessary and I can let my stand mixture do the work. I also microwave the filling rather than cooking it on the stovetop to save me the trouble of stirring over a hot stove waiting for the mixture to boil.
Since bananas are available year round, this is a dessert to make anytime. The basic cake has no added fat such as butter, shortening, or oil, so it is naturally lower in calories than other cakes. In fact, a slice of this light cake has only 172 calories. The only danger to a dieter is the temptation to eat several pieces.
Grandma Niederhauser's Banana Roll
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon or vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 beaten egg
1 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
2 to 3 bananas- enough to go down the length of the cake
Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Line a 15 “ x 10” jellyroll pan with parchment or grease and flour well and line with waxed paper; grease the waxed paper.
- Cake: Warm the eggs for a few minutes in a bowl of hot tap water, crack them into a mixer bowl, and beat them on high speed until very thick and lemon colored.
- Gradually add the sugar, beating until it is dissolved and the mixture is thick; stir extract and water.
- Mix the flour with the salt and baking powder; fold into the egg mixture.
- Pour the batter onto the prepared pan, spreading evenly to the edges; bake in the preheated oven for 10-13 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Dip a non-terry dishtowel in hot water and wring out well; lay the towel flat on the counter.
- Loosen the edges of the hot cake and invert onto the cloth.
- Using the towel, roll the cake up starting with the long side, place on a cooling rack, and let cool.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in the beaten egg and the water.
- Microwave for 2 minutes, stir, and microwave until boiling, 1-2 more minutes; whisk in the butter. Assembly: Unroll the cooled cake; spread with the filling.
- Line up the whole bananas down one edge and roll up, starting at the end with the bananas.
- Dust with powdered sugar.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill well.
- To serve, slice into 1" slices.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 172 Calories from Fat 29
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 17% Protein 8% Carb. 75%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 3 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 91 mg
Sodium 107 mg
Total Carbohydrate 32 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 4 g
Vitamin A 4% Vitamin C 3% Calcium 0% Iron 3%