Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (or Ugly Cake)

March 26, 2008


As promised, the desserts will continue to dance across this page. But. After Monday’s and Tuesday’s back-to-back success stories (the oreos and cheesecake bars), this was probably bound to happen. Today, I bring you a banana layer cake with cream cheese frosting, with chopped pecans tucked between the layers. Sounds good, right? Well, I’ll admit it was pretty tasty. But, man, was it u.g.l.y. As in, it had no alibi.





(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)



That said, it wasn’t the cake’s fault. It had more to do with the fact that I made this cake without my usual home field (er, home kitchen) advantage. I made this cake for my mom’s birthday last Sunday, while I was visiting her in Minnesota. My mom and I had conferred about equipment ahead of time and I decided to pack one of my own cake pans and use one of her cake pans, even after she warned me hers was a not in the best shape. (She was right.) And then there was the issue of my mom’s oven, which apparently has a bit of a cold streak (as in, it is at least 25 degrees cooler than it says it is).

Between the mismatched pans, one of which was on its very last leg (as in, I promptly threw it in the garbage post-bake), and the wonky oven temperature, I came out with one perfectly domed, uniform golden cake and one that was at least a 1/2 inch higher on one side than the other (not to mention lumpy, par-baked in places and altogether sad).


But since I made this cake on birthday eve, I had no choice but to make do. So, I sliced the one perfect cake in half and tried to slice-and-dice the other cake to match the other two. Note the word choice there: I tried. The cake was decidedly lopsided. And then there was the matter of the frosting. I used a Nigella Lawson recipe that was a dreamy, fluffy cloud last time I used it, only to turn into a slack mess this time. No matter how thick I slathered on the frosting, it looked slightly transparent and uneven. So, it was an ugly birthday cake. After some “artful” presentation and a hearty round of “happy birthday to you” no one seemed to remember the cake’s original sad state.

If this cake was delicious enough to overcome it’s very unfortunate veneer, I have got to give it another try. On my home turf.

Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Gourmet’s Caramel Walnut Upside-Down Banana Cake

For the Cake:

1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 cup mashed very ripe bananas (4 to 6 large)
6 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoon dark rum
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Sift first 4 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then mashed bananas, sour cream, rum, and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients in 2 additions just until combined. Spoon batter into two 9- or 10-inch pans.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto a rack to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

Here is the cream cheese frosting recipe I used. Given the disaster that it was, I might suggest this one or this one instead. While you’re at it, those recipes both contain good frosting techniques as well, so you can follow those. I tucked chopped pecans (toasted) between the layers, but walnuts or hazelnuts would be lovely too.


11 Responses to “Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (or Ugly Cake)”

  1. Karina Says:

    Awww, there’s nothing sadder than an ugly birthday cake. But at least it tasted good (really, has banana cake ever tasted bad? I thought not)!

  2. Ali Says:

    You should just use the excuse, my dog ate it… OH WAIT, she did!!! Anyway- in my eyes, cakes are not meant to be looked at they’re meant to be devoured and it was delicious!

  3. a. grace Says:

    i wouldn’t turn it away. in fact, i’d probably ask for/demand seconds.

  4. There’s nothing ugly, here. I can tell.

  5. brilynn Says:

    It’s got bananas and cream cheese frosting, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, I’m going to eat it!

  6. Tartelette Says:

    This is a great combo! The cake looks wonderful!

  7. Kevin Says:

    That banana cake looks really good! I really enjoy baking with bananas.

  8. Mommy T Says:

    This cake was sooooo good. I made it about a month ago minus the rum.For the frosting I used one sytick of unsalted butter at room temperature, 2- 8oz pkgs of cream cheese and 3 cups os confectioners sugar (sifted). Talk about heavenly. I added about a cup of walnuts to the cake mixture also once the cake was frosted, I garnished the sides with walnuts that I chopped. I will keep this recipe it is great, it tastes just like the banana cake i love at a diner in Bridgeville, DE. It is wonderful!!!

  9. Mommy T Says:

    I forgot to add that in between the layers I sliced bananas and put them on top with walnuts. I also forgot the tsp of vanilla I used for the frosting. Enjoy!!! I can’t stop saying how good this cake is. It’s my new favorite, I am making this as Father’s Day gifts for the fathers I know! 🙂

  10. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink Says:

    Mommy T: Thanks so much for reporting back!

  11. taint Says:

    hi i need some help. next week Feb 8th is my birthday and i was told to pick anything and they will make it for me. I stumbled across this recipe but that lead me to the idea of something else….

    Do you know of a recipe or something that has bananas and oreos in it? I love both and thats what I want for my birthday. please email me back with whatever help u can give me. thx


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