Sweet Stuff: Bananappeal

January 2012

Last week, thanks to Cupcakegate, desserts in jars got a lot of press. It set the stage perfectly for the recent launch of BananappealCourtney Dougherty's Denver company that bakes banana cakes and cheesecakes into Mason jars. 

Why banana? "I think bananas are overlooked and I've always loved them," the pastry chef says. Indeed, she elevates the fruit beyond the tired breakfast staple: Pop the top on the banana–peanut butter cake and find a tender, flavorful crumb with a good inch of creamy peanut butter frosting topped with a half an organic milk chocolate peanut butter cup. Or spoon through curls of coconut on the banana–toasted coconut cake (pictured) or airy, salted caramel frosting on the banana–salted caramel confection.  

Launching Bananappeal took more than a year of baking, research, and test marketing but Dougherty is more than an entrepreneur. She has the professional pedigree: She worked at Eleven Madison Park (the gorgeous cookbook of which sits on my coffee table) and Charlie Trotter's before joining celeb chef Tyler Florence's empire for a time.

While not available at a storefront (yet), Bananappeal's sweets can be purchased online at Gilt Taste and Foodzie (and come March, via Williams-Sonoma's catalog). Dougherty also customizes the cakes for special events (brides, we're looking at you).

Elsewhere: All this banana talk making you hungry? Some of my favorite banana-based desserts can be found at District Meats (baby banana splits), Rooster & Moon (banana pudding), and Sushi Den (banana cream pie).

—Photo courtesy of Sarah Remington