Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

My sister makes the best banana bread ever - and for some reason I can't seem to remember the recipe. Ever. So every few years I call her for the recipe again, and then as time passes I subsequently get farther and farther away from what she told me to do. Eventually I give up and call her again. I don't have a clue why banana bread seems to be my weakness.

Every once in a while though, what I end up with actually tastes really good - it's not her banana bread, but it's worth eating. In this case I what I got was very cakey - and I realized that while I was light years away from Kelly's banana bread, I was certainly on track for something similar and equally luscious. So of course I slathered it with cream cheese frosting, and out of failure came triumph! Since I have an obsession with the whole great tall layer cake thing anyway - it was a winner all around.

This is what happens when a relatively healthy banana bread goes over to the Dark Side. Rich, moist delicious banana scented cake is filled with loads of cream cheese frosting and slices of banana...mmmm. Unlike banana bread, you can't even begin to pretend this is healthy. But it sure does taste great!

How to Make Vanilla Extract

Ingredients

You'll Need:

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium bananas – ripe, but still firm
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 2 cups toasted pecans, very finely chopped (optional), divided
  • 3 medium bananas, sliced thin, for the filling

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter and flour three 8 inch cake pans. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. In a large mixing cup, mash bananas. Add buttermilk and vanilla. Stir to combine.
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, combining well after each.
  6. Alternating wet and dry ingredients, add the flour mixture and the banana mixture in three stages to the butter and sugar,scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing well after each addition, and beginning and ending with the dry mixture. If using pecans, stir in one cup of chopped pecans - saving the other half for the frosting.
  7. Divide batter evenly between the three prepared pans.
  8. Bake cakes for about 20 minutes or just until golden and springy to the touch. A cake tester inserted into the center of each cake should come out clean. Allow cakes to cool in their pans for ten minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely before icing.
  9. Place one of the cake layers on a platter, and spread a thin layer of frosting over the top, leaving a thin border at the edge. Top frosting with half of the banana slices.
  10. Frost the BOTTOM of the next layer, and place it, frosting side down on top of the banana slices. You'll have the bananas then sandwiched between to layers of frosting. Repeat with the third layer. Frost the top of the third layer, then the sides of the cake. If you need to keep the layers in place, insert a wooden skewer into the center and through all the layers, then break it off even with the top of the cake. The final order will be cake, frosting, bananas, frosting, cake, frosting, bananas, frosting, cake, frosting.
  11. If using the chopped pecans for garnish, press them lightly into the frosting all around the sides. Store in the fridge until serving.

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