Years ago when I was on a roll with the cake baking business I made all of my cakes from a box. Boo, hiss! The Mr. told me over and again to find a couple of good scratch recipes and work with them. Man how I hated to hear that. Partly because I knew he was right and partly because I wanted to stay in my cake mix comfort zone, and the other part is my stubborn streak. This is from the files of “living with me is not petunia patch”. If you’ve read My CNN Experience that will make sense. Yvonne has been a loyal client for years. She always orders banana cakes, whether the cake was for her or someone else, it had to be banana. Now that I’m comfortably working with scratch recipes I’m searching for a really good banana cake one. I have learned to read any reviews posted about a recipe. This one had rave reviews all the way around. Even though there were several other recipes vying for my attention. The reviews for this one won me over.
Banana cakes tend to be dense and heavy and because Yvonne has ordered a 14” cake I want a cake that won’t weigh a ton. I wanted to add some banana liqueur for part of the flavoring. Well the only banana liqueur I seen was $19.98 a bottle. That was way too much to pay for only 1 tsp. Yeah, yeah I know it would last me until the cows come home, but dang that’s too much. I like to buy liqueurs in the shot size bottles and that wasn’t an option. I will be on the lookout for them in the future.
Just want to let you know that I didn’t put the cake in the freezer as the recipe suggests. The Mr. has done work on freezers and refrigerators and I’ve learned that putting hot things into a freezer isn’t’ a good thing. And since this was a practice cake for the 14” one I have to do this weekend I knew that no way would a 14” cake fit into my freezer.
After I frosted the cake and applied a simple top and bottom border it looked very plain. It needed a little something-something to jazz it up a bit. Hold on to your pot holders foodie friends! When I didn’t get the banana liqueur I bought a bottle of apricot brandy and some bananas that weren’t the ripest in the bunch. Woo-hoo time to kick this baby up a notch! I took a break to surf the net and find out how to do what I wanted to do without burning down the house. A little flambé if you please. Whoosh!! Oh my the flames were pretty. Gabbi stood at a distance and I did the happy dance. The flames died out in about 3 minutes. I returned the mixture to the fire, which I turned down low and let it cook down for about 5 minutes. It was thick and syrupy and I was totally geeked. The frosted cake was chilling in the fridge waiting for it’s close-up. Such a pretty cake; topped with liquor drenched bananas browned in butter and sugar.
I couldn’t wait to get the photo shoot out of the way to taste it. The Mr. was as excited as I about how pretty the cake was. With the pictures out of the way it was tasting time. Yep it’s good. Next time I’ll cut back on the liquor, it was a bit strong, not that I can’t hang mind you. There is so much dessert in my house, would you come and get some? Please and thank you.
Best Ever Banana Cake – adapted from Food.com
1 ½ cups bananas, mashed, ripe, about 4 medium
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cups flour, sifted
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup butter, at room temp
2 1/8 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups buttermilk
½ butter, softened
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 Bananas, slightly underripe and sliced
2 TBS butter
2 TBS brown sugar
¾ cup apricot brandy
Preheat oven to 275°. Grease and flour 2- 9“ cake pans. In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, cream ¾ cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in banana mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake very moist. For the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1 tsp vanilla. Add icing sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth. Spread on cooled cake. For the flaming bananas, melt butter in skillet over medium high heat. Place bananas in single layer and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Brown on one side, then flip them and brown the other. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour brandy into a measuring cup. Never pour directly from the bottle into the hot skillet. Pour brandy into skillet and light with a long match. After the flames die down return skillet to low heat and let bananas simmer for approx five minutes. Try not to stir or move them around too much, they’re very vulnerable at this point and may break up. Spoon bananas and syrup over chilled cake and let the yumminess begin!