Thursday, July 4, 2013

Banana Cake with Banana Frosting to Bake and Take!

Tuesday night, the very ripe bananas in my fruit bowl met their match ~ an unusual banana cake recipe that took full advantage of their deepening flavor. An over-ripe banana is a beautifully ugly thing! What some people might consider ready for the compost pile, I see as full of potential for a delicious dessert. These bananas shed their spotted and darkening peels to become the main ingredient in a welcome snack for my co-workers.

There are a number of examples of this cake recipe floating around cyber-space, all highly rated. It is baked at a low oven temperature (275 degrees Farenheit!) for about an hour and then the HOT cake is placed immediately in the freezer, which apparently ensures a very moist cake. I was skeptical but in the interest of following directions (not always my strong suit, but important in baking), followed along with the crazy scheme, and my co-workers confirmed: it was a great strategy. This cake was incredibly moist, with a solid texture and a beautiful crumb. While most recipes for banana cake pair it with cream cheese frosting, I wanted something different, something nostalgic that reminded me of my kids' "Grammy," Mary Lou Eddy's, banana frosting from a cake she made many years ago when her boys were young. Her son Rod remembers it as a yellow cake with banana frosting. I remember the banana/banana combo, but I have to call her to check for sure, because it's been many, many years since I was introduced to her amazing cake!  Anyway, without a recipe to go on when I was ready to bake, I improvised the frosting (guess-work but it worked out) and the result was a banana-on-banana cake that elicited a lot of oohs and aahs from my friends in the museum!

Bananas in the cake AND the frosting!

(loosely adapted from and other similar recipes on the WWWeb!)
Oven 275 degrees Farenheit - prepare 9x13 pan

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups butter (12 tablespoons) room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups ripe, mashed bananas
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk OR 1 1/2 cups milk soured with 2 tablespoons vinegar

In bowl of stand mixer, mix dry ingredients together.  At low speed, add butter, a bit at a time, and mix well until the mixture looks like crumbs or cornmeal and all the butter has been incorporated.

In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, mashed bananas, and buttermilk.

Slowly pour half the banana/milk mixture into mixing bowl with dry ingredients, and mix at low speed until it's all incorporated.  Add the rest of the banana/milk mixture and mix for 2 minutes.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for an hour OR until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and top of cake springs back when lightly pressed.  Some ovens require more time, so start checking at 55 minutes and every 5 minutes until the cake tests done. Remove from oven.

Place HOT cake in freezer (make sure to make room for it before the cake comes out of the oven.)  Keep cake in freezer for 45 minutes.

Banana Frosting:

1 ripe mashed banana, excess moisture removed by stirring the banana in a mesh strainer and using the solid pulp that doesn't drain away, which helps the frosting from being too thin  (I made this up!)
4 tablespoons soft butter
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat all ingredients together very well.  Frosting will be soft and creamy.  Pour over center of cake and spread to edges, making pretty swirls with spatula.

Happy 4th of July, my friends! Enjoy this photo from - it's so cute and captures the childlike wonder of this important holiday beautifully!

(Photo from:

1 comment:

  1. This looks delicious, Jeannie! I want to take my finger and run it across that frosting…looks divine!!! Happy 4th!!! xox