Thursday, December 1, 2011

Triple Layer Banana Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream

I grew up eating a delicious banana cake, homemade by my mom.  It was a classic dessert for her to make, which she did often, and she often took it with her as a contribution whenever our family was invited over to someone's home for dinner.  It was always a hit.

As an adult, looking back, I realize I have two complaints about her banana cake.

First, she always made it in a metal 9x13 cake pan.

I have decided that I am not fond of metal cake pans for serving cake from.  Not fond at all.

Second, she always iced her banana cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting.

As you might already know, I am not fond of chocolate.  Not fond at all.

So, I decided to put on my big girl boots and attempt a classic banana cake for the first time in my adult life.  No metal rectangular cake pan and no chocolate.

And while I was at it, I decided to make my cake a triple-layer one.

I might have a bit of a competitive streak in me.  Maybe.

I told my mom ahead of time that I was making this cake.  She suggested I top it with chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Her salivating tastebuds felt rejection, possibly for the first time when it came to banana cake.

It simply couldn't be helped.

When all was said and done, this cake was light, moist, sweetly banana-y (that's a word, right?!), and the frosting on it was killer!

For the best results, you will want to bake this a couple days before you serve it.  The banana flavor deepens for a couple days after it is baked, resulting is a cake that is pretty perfect.

Oh, and another thing?  Embrace the frosting technique.  While a bit odd and a bit unfamiliar (at least to me), this frosting rocks the peels right off those bananas!  Know what I mean?

Triple Layer Banana Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting
Source: How to Cook Like Your Grandmother, via Pinterest

For the cake batter:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 egg yolks
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3 crushed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg whites, beaten

Combine the sugar and butter and beat on low speed until completely combined.

Add the egg yolks and beat on high speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients — flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt — and whisk thoroughly. You’ll want the baking soda to be well distributed throughout the flour before adding to the wet ingredients.

Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients (milk), beating each time until it is just incorporated. Start and end with dry.

Now mash the bananas and add them to the batter.

Add the vanilla and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl with a whisk, whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, but not so much you dry them out.

Carefully fold the egg whites into the batter, trying not to deflate them too much.

Pour the batter into three greased and floured round pans.

Bake at 350° for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.

Remove the cakes from the pans and let them cool to room temperature, then frost with the brown sugar buttercream frosting.

To frost, place one cake on serving plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting on top and place with second cake. (You can be a bit generous on the amount of frosting in between layers--I ended up having frosting left over when I was all done).  Repeat frosting, and place third cake on top. Spread a thin crumb layer over the top and sides of cake. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Spread remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of cake, making small decorative peaks on the top if desired.

Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting

1 cup milk
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ cup brown sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt (if you use unsalted butter)

Stir the milk and flour together and mix over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until it thickens. It changes suddenly, so don't walk away. Set aside to cool.

Combine the sugar, butter and vanilla in a mixer;  beat on medium speed for 5-10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and you don’t taste the graininess of it any more.

Add the milk mixture to the butter mixture and beat until smooth. Keep at room temperature until ready to frost on cooled cakes.

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