Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sweet Buttermilk Banana Cake

We had a birthday in our house over the weekend! Hubby celebrated his um, well let's just skip the numbers, shall we? We'll just say that AARP has already started gunning for him. 😲

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, if you know me, you're already aware that I have to put my own little twist on things. 😉

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 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 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℉

Make the simple syrup: Put the 1C Sugar and 1C Water in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. 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 the teaspoon 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 or it will get too thick.)

Update: March 2019 - If you happen to be a fan of the iconic dessert Bananas Foster, you'll adore the little change I made this year to the recipe. Just replace half of the water with dark rum (white rum will also do) and half the granulated sugar with light brown sugar and you'll end up with just a little something, well... extra special. Oh - and don't worry about the kiddos. The little bit of alcohol that's in the rum evaporates (or "cooks off") during the syrup making process.

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°F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the thickest areas comes out clean. (if using a dark coated or non-stick pan, check at 35 to 40 minutes) Remove from the oven and set the cake aside to cool.

Before you turn the cake out and while it's still slightly warm, slowly spoon 1/2 of the simple syrup over the entire top of the cake and allow it to cool a bit more before inverting it onto a plate or cake round. (roughly 15 - 20 minutes at room temp) Reserve the other half of the syrup for the frosting. If you choose not to frost the cake, the syrup will keep quite nicely in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting it. I put it in the fridge for about 20 minutes, if I'm in a hurry.

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 it's all well combined and the frosting is creamy and free of lumps.

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 minutes before serving. You can use as much or as little frosting as you'd like. Hubby likes his cake with a lot! (You could even make a glaze or dust it with powdered sugar if you want to! - Yes, my friends... It's that moist.)

You can serve this sweet, 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 alongside for a birthday, 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. (tightly covered)

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  1. That sure looks like a nice banana cake. I won't tel your MIL, ha ha! I will have to keep this recipe and give it a try sometime. I love banana bread and never had had it in cake form.

  2. This looks yummy! Would love to have you come and link-up to the Creative Corner Hop. It opens on Monday to new links and stays open all week long.

    Cherished Handmade Treasures

  3. Your cake looks fantastic. Banana cake and frosting, so good! Happy Birthday to your husband.

  4. That looks so good! I love how thick the frosting is. Thanks, now I want banana cake! :)

  5. We love anything bananas in our house. I have pinned this to my dessert board. Thanks so much for sharing at Toot Your Horn Tuesday :)

  6. I want banana cake also, looks delish. I printed off your recipe. Thank you

    You live in a beautiful place, we come to Lake George every year for Americaid. Always a fun week andi

  7. Yummy! Stopping by from The Creative Corner Hop. Your newest GFC follower.


  8. That looks fantastic! and thank you so much for the recipe, I'm going to have to try it to...bloggers have the best recipes :o) Have a great day! hugs Jennifer

  9. I've been such a bad blogging buddy, missing so many things in these hectic weeks ... :( LOVE the new header! Love all the recipes - my favorite foods - brisket, cake, potatoes!!! I've missed you, gotta catch up on all this amazing cooking you've been doing! MWAH!

  10. Hi Mary,
    This cake is heavenly, I can't wait to make it. It looks so moist and full of flavor, just delicious! Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  11. This looks super yummy! I just pinned it for future reference. Thanks for sharing at Terrific Tuesdays.

  12. this looks wonderfully yummy! I have 5 million frozen bananas in my freezer that needs to be made into something other than banana bread. This is it!

  13. Oh my goodness this cake sounds fabulous! I am going to have to make this soon.


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