Two-Layer Caramel Frosted Banana Cake
Turns out that banana bread was the most searched for recipe on the Internet for 2014. No one seems to know why but we agree that it is a must-have basic for every baker’s repertoire and for banana lovers. This is a banana cake – a little richer, a little fancier, and still jam packed with moist banana texture and tropical flavor. Read about Baking with Bananas and also How to Ripen Bananas Instantly for more banana packed info. Don’t underestimate how many bananas you need; 3 average bananas will mash down into about 1 cup.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
- 1⅓ cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1⅔ cup fork mashed ultra-ripe bananas (about 5 bananas)
- ⅓ cup buttermilk, preferably low fat (non non-fat), at room temperature
- 1 cup lightly toasted pecans, cooled and chopped
- 1 batch Caramel Buttercream, ready to use
- ¼ cup Caramel Sauce, optional
- ½ cup toasted pecan halves, optional
- Position the rack in the center of your oven. Preheat to 325˚ F. Coat the insides of two 8-inch by 2-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line bottoms with parchment rounds, then spray parchment.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl to combine and aerate; set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar gradually and beat until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in vanilla.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing.
- Lightly whisk together the mashed banana and buttermilk. Add the flour mixture in four additions, alternating with the buttermilk/bananas. Begin and end with the flour mixture and beat briefly until smooth. Divide batter evenly in pans.
- Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick shows a few moist crumbs. The cake will have begun to come away from the sides of the pan. Cool on rack for 10 minutes. Unmold, peel off parchment, and place directly on rack to cool completely. The cakes are now ready to fill and frost. Alternatively, place layers on cardboard rounds and double wrap in plastic wrap; store at room temperature if assembling within 24 hours.
- Have your Caramel Buttercream smooth and ready to spread. Fill and frost the cake layers using the back of a spoon or an icing spatula to create casual swirls of frosting on the top and sides. Cake is ready to serve or store at room temperature under a cake dome for up to 2 days – this one is best when fresh. To decorate with the optional suggestions, simply cluster the nuts in the center of the cake and drizzle some warm and fluid (but not hot) caramel sauce over the cake right before serving.
- Note that the cake is made in two 8-inch pans. You could use 9-inch but the cake will lose height and some drama. It might also bake more quickly as the dense layers will be thinner.