Monday, June 27, 2011

Banana Cake

                                          adapted from Our Best Bites and Martha Stewart
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 very ripe, large bananas, mashed (about 1 1/3 cups)
3/4 c buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup chopped pecans (optional.... again, we opt out of nuts at our house! :)  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans and set aside.  In a medium bowl , whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together bananas, buttermilk and vanilla.  

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and brown sugar;  mix on medium-high until pale and fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Mix in eggs.  Reduce speed to medium;  mix in flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with banana mixture.  Stir in pecans if desired.  

Pour batter into the cake pans and bake for 26-28 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool on wire rack for 30 minutes and then carefully invert cake pans to remove cake and let cool completely.  

Frost the top of first cake generously with cream cheese frosting and then place second layer on top.  Carefully frost top and sides of cake.  Store in refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
(From the New Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook 12th Edition)

1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened (I use Neufchatel cheese) 
1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
2 tsp vanilla
5 3/4 to 6 1/4 c sifted powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well.  Gradually beat in additional powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.  This frosts the tops and sides of two 9 inch layers.  Halve the recipe to frost a 9x13 cake.  Cover and store frosted cake in refrigerator.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:

Prepare frosting as above, except beat 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder into the cream cheese mixture and reduce powdered sugar to 5 1/4 to 5 3/4 cups.  Makes about 3 2/3 cups of frosting.