Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting




Rich, moist and delicious, this double layer Banana Cake with fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting is one of my favourite desserts, a beautiful culinary creation that envelops luscious layers of cake with an indulgent creamy frosting. A sweet symbol of celebration, you don't need a special occasion to make this simply divine dessert. Layered with cream cheese frosting and slices of fresh banana, this recipe is what happens when banana bread goes to the dark side. It's also an excellent way to use up over ripe bananas — the browner they are, the better. The same recipe can be used to make banana bread and muffins, but the delicate cream cheese frosting and layers of fresh sliced bananas, make this dessert irresistible.


Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 1 split-layer cake

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas

1 whole banana, cut into thin slices
5 tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese

3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9" round cake pan and set aside. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, and beat to incorporate.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined. Add bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla; mix to combine. Stir in nuts, and pour into the cake pan.

Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool. Using a long knife, slice the cake in half though the middle, making 2 layers. Remove one half and set aside.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese until smooth; then add the sugar and vanilla, and mix until light and fluffy. To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a serving platter and spread with cream cheese frosting. Arrange one layer of banana slices over top, then cover with the second layer, and frost the top and sides of the cake. Garnish the sides or top with chopped nuts; slice and serve.