Friday, December 27, 2013

Tim's Banana Birthday Cake

The picture my sister sent of the cake being sliced at the party.

My sister recently asked me to make a banana birthday cake for her boyfriend Tim's surprise party and I was happy to oblige. The whole family loves Tim.

I quickly got to researching banana cake recipes and found one that I liked from Bon App├ętit called Double Banana Cake that called for sour cream (always a good addition to a cake) and three cups of mashed bananas which I knew would add lots of flavor and moisture. 

I also liked that the recipe called for a layer of sliced bananas between the cake layers. 

The only changes I made to the recipe was the addition of one teaspoon of vanilla extract to the batter and making an entirely different frosting. 

The original recipe called for a buttercream made with what I consider a sickly sweet amount of powdered sugar - 4 whole cups! I knew my lightly sweetened Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing made with one cup of sugar and tinted with a drop of yellow food coloring would be a much better addition to the cake. 

And, I'm pretty sure I was right. I didn't get to taste the cake but my sister sent pictures of the cake being sliced at the party and the following text:

"It's delicious Heidi! Everyone loved the frosting."

Here's the recipe:

Tim's Banana Birthday Cake

Banana Cake:
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large eggs
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (about 6 large)
3/4 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans with sides that are 2-inches high. Also, line the bottoms with greased parchment paper.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs one at a time, mixing well after each additon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and soda.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl. 

Finally, add the mashed bananas and sour cream and mix until well-combined.  

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
A cake ready for the oven.

Be sure to let the cakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack.

Let the cakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes before inverting onto cooling racks. Let the cakes cool completely before assembling.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing:
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
a drop of yellow food coloring (optional)
2 ripe but not mush bananas, cut into 1/8 inch slices reserved for assembling the cake.

In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the milk and half of the sugar until simmering.
In the meantime, in a small bowl combine the cream, the other half of the sugar and cornstarch. Mix well with a whisk.

When the milk is simmering,  pour about half of it into the cream mixture and whisk well. Add it back to the milk in the saucepan and heat, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes very thick.

Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla. Put the mixture into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the mixture cool completely.

When the buttercream base is cool, transfer it to a mixer and whip until smooth, add the butter and the cream cheese, a tablespoon at a time and whip until light and fluffy. Tint with yellow coloring if desired.

To Assemble:
Ice just the top of the bottom layer.

Add sliced bananas.

Top with the second layer.

Ice the entire cake. Chill the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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