Today is my husband's birthday! He loves bananas (almost as much as our French Bulldog Pipi) and chocolate. I combined the two for his birthday cake.
Sandwiched between the cake layers are slices of fresh banana and an icing made with cream cheese. (NOTE: I made half of the cream cheese icing recipe shown below. It was just enough to frost two of the three cake layers.) We will be enjoying this cake later tonight with family and good friends!
FRESH BANANA LAYER CAKE
(adapted from a recipe in Gourmet Magazine)
• 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour; sift before measuring it
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 large)
• 1/4 cup plain yogurt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softed
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs
• fresh banana slices for finishing
1. Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Butter and flour three 8-inch round cake pans that have been lined with waxed paper, knocking out excess flour.
2. Into a bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl whisk together mashed banana, yogurt and vanilla. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy and beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in flour and banana mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture and stirring after each addition until just combined. (Do not overmix.)
3. Divide batter evenly among pans, smoothing tops, and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans halfway through baking, about 18 minutes total, or until layers are springy to the touch and a tester comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on racks 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks to cool completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook
(NOTE: You will only need half of this recipe to ice the top of two cake layers)
• 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 3 cups confectioners' sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Cream together cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl.
2. Slowly sift in confectioners' sugar and continue beating until fully incorporated. Mixture should be free of lumps.
3. Stir in vanilla.
CHOCOLATE BUTTER FROSTING
adapted from Woman's Home Companion Cook Book
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 pound Confectioners' sugar
• 2/3 cup cocoa
• salt, few grains
• a small bowl of HOT water
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1. Sift Confectioners' sugar and cocoa together. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter; add the sugar and cocoa mixture gradually to the butter, until well blended. If you are having trouble getting the butter and sugar-cocoa mixture to combine add 3 - 4 tablespoons of hot water; then add the salt.
2. Add enough additional hot water, while constantly mixing, until you have a good spreading consistency and then beat until fluffy; add the vanilla.
3. Frost the top and sides of cake.
Makes one three-layer cake