The most requested cake for birthdays in his family, has always been my MIL's Banana Cake. Now, the last thing I want to do is to disparage my MIL's cooking or baking... She's actually a very accomplished home cook. But, as is the case with most things in life, there's always room for a little improvement.
Banana cake recipes are often adapted from or interchangeable with quick bread recipes and can sometimes be a bit on the dry side. It's nothing that a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream won't cure, but over the years I've made a few simple adjustments to the family recipe that I think have remedied that. According to my hubby, my efforts have not been in vain and he's proclaimed my version to be even better than his mother's. We don't have to tell her that, though...
Sweet Buttermilk Banana Cake
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1&1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 Cup Shortening
- 2 Lg Eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 Lg or 3 Med (very ripe) Bananas, mashed
- 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
Vanilla Simple Syrup
- 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- Pinch of Salt
Kicked Up Butter Cream
- 4 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
- 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
- Vanilla Simple Syrup
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Make the simple syrup: Put the 1/2 C Sugar and 1/2 C Water in a medium, heavy based sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over med-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until all of the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add in the 1 tsp of Vanilla and the pinch of salt. Swirl the pan to combine and set aside to cool. (you can put the whole pan in a large stainless steel mixing bowl full of ice to cool it more quickly. just don't leave it there too long, so that it doesn't get too thick.)
For the Cake: In a large mixing bowl, beat the shortening and granulated sugar together until it's light and fluffy. In a medium bowl, stir together the mashed bananas, beaten eggs, buttermilk and the vanilla. Set aside.
In another bowl, add the flour, baking soda and salt and stir it a bit with a whisk to aerate the mixture a little and break up any lumps.
To the large bowl with the creamed shortening and sugar, start adding in the flour mixture and the banana mixture, alternating each one and beating on medium speed until all are combined. The batter will be quite thick.
Pour the batter into a lightly greased bundt or tube pan and spread it out evenly. Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the thickest areas comes out clean. (if using a dark coated or non-stick pan, check at 30 minutes) Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
For the Frosting: In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter until it's a little fluffy and slowly start adding the confectioners sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time. After each addition of sugar, drizzle in a little of the remaining simple syrup and continue to beat until all is well combined and the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
Frost the completely cooled cake and then you can refrigerate it or leave it out, covered, at room temperature until ready to serve. If you do put it in the fridge, take it out about 15 or 20 minutes before serving. (You can use as much or as little frosting as you'd like. Hubby likes his with a lot! You could even make a glaze or dust it with powdered sugar if you prefer! - Yup. It's that moist.)
You can serve this sweet and tangy, super moist cake with sliced bananas and an ice cold glass of milk or with a cup of after dinner coffee or tea. However, while it certainly goes quite nicely along side, the ice cream is optional... ;~) Making this cake a day ahead is a good idea, if you have the time. It gets even more moist as it sits.
Don't forget that you can print this (or any) recipe using the "Print Friendly" button at the foot of each post. It's a great little feature that allows you to remove any pictures (or any text that isn't relevant to the recipe) before printing. That can save on ink and paper & in today's economy, who doesn't want to save a little cash when you can?!