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A Banana Pudding For Lord Byron

Jane Roberts from United States

it seemed like days, but consider the payoff
Cooks in
1 hour
Country of origin
United States

I first met Byron on an elevator – going up, of course. I was rushing on and he was dashing off, and when the doors sprang open, our eyes collided into each other. It was a startling and totally unexpected exchange. His eyes lit up like Christmas, and that was the beginning. Our first date turned out to be on my birthday. He didn’t know it until, three hours into our lunch – it somehow came up, and I was embarrassed to even admit it. “Your birthday!”, he exclaimed. “Why didn’t you tell me,” at which point he bolted from his chair, dropped dramatically on one knee and thrust his arms out wide to serenade me. With anyone else, I would have been mortified. But, remember, this was Byron. Byron was not only a musician, but a remarkable showman at heart who was destined for fame, and has, after many days, found it. But not before I made the banana pudding for him.

Although I grew up in the Southern United States, I was from the state which many Georgians don’t even realize is In the South. In Virginia, we serve spoonbread and tomato pudding– and yes, one day I would make them for Byron, who was from Georgia, and had never heard of them. But the way Byron’s face beamed when he told me about banana pudding was like he was seeing white lights from heaven, and maybe angels were about to descend. So, even though my Mama, a dessert hero in Virginia, had never so much as mentioned banana pudding to me, I hoped to make the consummate banana pudding for Byron. After a lengthy prayer vigil and seeking divine intervention, I called Byron over. I dared to take his Southern cult favorite to another level.

Instead of store bought vanilla wafers common to the traditional recipe, I baked a fresh banana poundcake, sliced it thin, and layered it with luscious homemade pudding, whipped cream, and the amplest, ripest bananas I could find. Byron, would cue the drum roll here. I’m sorry you couldn’t be there when he tasted it. But if you want some, you’re welcome to the recipe.


  • Banana Poundcake
  • 1 and 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, (or if you have a flour mill, you can mill soft white wheat)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt, unless your butter is salted
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 stick buttter, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar, less 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar or light brown sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 and a half soft bananas, mashed until creamy
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
  • 1 half teaspoon almond extract
  • Half cup sour cream
  • Vanilla Custard
  • 3 Cups Whole Milk, preferably organic
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Powder, optional, but really makes this sing
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Teaspoons Good Quality Vanilla Extract
  • Bananas, 4-6 Ripe bananas, depending on size
  • Fresh Whipped Cream


  • For the cake, In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt, vanilla powder, and baking soda until completely blended.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until creamy.
  • Add in eggs one at a time, blending just enough to mix, but do not overbeat.
  • Mix in mashed bananas, then vanilla, and almond.
  • Add flour mixture alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. Don’t overmix.
  • Pour batter into 4 mini loaf pans (5 1/2″X 3″X 2 1/2″), which have been greased and floured.
  • Bake in preheated 325 degree oven until cake has pulled away from the sides of pans, and is done in the center, about 35 – 40 minutes.
  • While cake is baking, prepare your vanilla custard.
  • For custard: While you heat milk over medium low in a deep pot, in a large heat proof bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, then cornstarch then salt, and then vanilla powder.
  • Whisk until creamy, smooth, and silky.
  • Once you see the milk steaming for about a few minutes, pour a cup of hot milk into a measuring cup and while whisking the yolk mixture, pour in a slow steady stream of the hot milk.
  • Whisk fast.
  • Then add the subsequent cups of milk, one at a time, still whisking.
  • Then pour the entire batch back into the saucepan and over medium low, patiently keep whisking for about 10 -15 minutes until the custard thickens.
  • Turn off heat, and mix in butter, then vanilla. You may strain your custard, cover, and sit in the freezer.
  • When your cake is done, cool pans on a baking rack until cake is warm and can be easily handled.
  • You will use two of the small loaves, and have two loaves leftover to freeze, eat, or gift.
  • Slice loaves into ultra thin slices, maybe an eighth inch
  • Layer cake on bottom of your dish. Prick all over with a fork.
  • Add a layer of thinly sliced bananas to cover.
  • Pour on a layer of pudding to coat bananas generously. Keep layering until you have used up all your two baby loaves of cake. T
  • Top with whipped cream.
  • Refrigerate for atleast 5 hours or overnight.


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