Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

 

banana-cake

I’ve never been a super huge fan of cake.  I think it’s because cake that comes from a boxed cake mix is dry and crumbly.  Several years ago I learned how to doctor up a cake mix and that made it so much better!  Then I learned how to make cake from scratch.  I’m still working on that because it can be difficult to get it just right.  This cake is nothing fancy, but it sure is delightful.  It all came about because this happens in my house way too often:

Nasty black bananas

Believe it or not, the picture really doesn’t do justice for exactly how black these bananas were when I used them.  I actually like bananas when they are slightly green.  You’d never, EVER catch me eating a banana with even the smallest of black spots.  And definitely never like this.  I also can’t stand the flavor or super ripe bananas in smoothies.  That being said, it’s sort of a cosmic joke that every time I buy them I carry them through the door and they instantly start turning black.  Almost before I can even set them on the counter.  I swear there have been times I’ve heard them laughing at me.

What do you do with black bananas?

Because of the unusually high occurrence, I’ve learned to be creative with black bananas.  I love banana bread (and have an amazing recipe that I will share one day but not right now).  I’ve also stumbled onto some great muffin recipes that call for overly ripe bananas.  I’ve used them for chunky monkey pancakes.  All of these things are delicious, but this CAKE takes the CAKE.  (See what I did there?)

I found the original recipe here.  But there were other recipes that I read too, so using my oh-so-powerful abilities to deduce what I liked about each recipe, I made some adjustments and came up with this cake.

Do you have a scale yet?

kitchen scale
This is the scale I use. I love it.

 I’ve talked about the importance of a kitchen scale before in this post here.  If you still don’t have one, I encourage you to read my reasons why I think it’s important and then get yourself one.  It will change your baking forever.  That’s it.  I will get off my soapbox now.  

The cake recipe will have both measurements and weights for the ingredients, and either will work just fine.

Some important directions before proceeding to the recipe

First of all, this recipe bakes at a very low temperature for a very long time.  If you’re wanting this cake for a specific event that is happening at a specific time, you will need to plan ahead.  Not only does it bake for a long time, but it also has to go in the freezer for about an hour when it’s done baking.  It probably still won’t be completely cool at that time, so it will need to finish cooling before you frost it.  Then you will want to put it in the fridge to chill once the frosting is on.  I kept the cake in the fridge because it just tasted better cold.  All that being said, this was about the easiest cake I’ve ever made.  Be sure to use a pan that can go directly from the oven to the freezer without breaking.  That’s important.  The amount of time it take to make this cake is a little long, but mostly it’s just time waiting, so it’s not labor intensive.

banana-cake

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

PRINT RECIPE

 

  • 12.25 ounces smashed bananas (1.5 cups–about 3 medium bananas)
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 12.75 ounces all-purpose flour (3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 ounces butter, softened (3/4 cup)
  • 14.2 ounces sugar (2 1/8 cup)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 12 ounces buttermilk (1 1/2 cup)

Start by preheating the oven to 275°.  That is right–275°. (I told you it baked low and long…) Prepare your 9×13 pan with spray or grease and flour it.

Mash your bananas and add the lemon juice, stir and set aside.  (The lemon juice will keep them from going brown while you’re working on the cake–helps it keep the lovely white color when it’s done too!)

Combine the flour, soda and salt and set aside.  If you don’t have buttermilk  you can make your own sour milk with regular milk and 1 Tbsp of vinegar.  If you’re making sour milk, start that now and let it sit for a few minutes.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy–about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating to combine, then add the vanilla.  Once it’s mixed well, add the flour and buttermilk, alternating and mixing well in about three batches.  Stir in the bananas–don’t beat them, just fold them in until well mixed.  Pour it in the pan.

Bake Time

I told you before, this cake bakes for a LONG TIME.  Start with 1 hour, 15 minutes.  Times will vary depending on your oven and altitude.  I found that I had to add minutes to the baking time because it wasn’t done.  When the time is up, insert a knife (not a toothpick) into the center.  If it comes out clean, the cake is done.  If not, add some time in five minute increments and keep baking until it’s done.

When the cake is done, immediately put it in the freezer for 1 hour.  I layered several towels and hot pads in the freezer to set the pan on.  Don’t cover it–just put it in there.  (Something to note here–if you are putting this is a stand-alone freezer that has ice in it, be aware the steam from the cooling cake may start to defrost it.  No one wants freezer ice dripping in their cake, so I wouldn’t recommend this method.)   When the hour is up, it should be completely cool.  If not, pull it out anyway and set it aside to finish cooling.  When it’s completely cool, it’s time to frost it!

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (I used the 1/3 less fat kind but you can use either.  I would NOT recommend fat free)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together until light and fluffy.  You may need to add a teaspoon of milk for consistency.  It will seem like a lot of frosting, but trust me and put the entire batch on the cake!  You’ll thank me later.  Once it’s frosted, put it in the fridge for the frosting to set up.  It’s probably best to keep the cake in the fridge for storing because it’s delicious when it’s cold.

So yummy!  Even if you’re not a banana lover, you’re going to love this cake!

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