Divine Banana Layer Cake

  • Serves: Makes three 9- x 2- inch rounds, 1/2 sheet cake (13 x 18-inches) or 24 cupcakes
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Variation: Divine Chocolate Banana Layer Cake

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This fragrant, flavorful and moist banana cake can't be beat. I have developed a how-to guide for you on How to Select and Mash Bananas for cakes such as these for optimal results. For best results, bake the cake one day in advance and let it rest in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic, to develop its flavors.

I happen to love bananas and chocolate, bananas with cream cheese or bananas with caramel, and I highly recommend filling and frosting the cake with one of the following recipes: White Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Frosting and Filling; Chocolate Fudge Buttercream Ganache; Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting; or, Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream! You could decorate the finished cake with chocolate curls right before serving.

3 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

3 cups ripe mashed bananas

1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla

1. Position the oven racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray three 9- x 2-inch, preferably light colored, heavy NOT nonstick pans with nonstick cooking oil. (If you use dark, nonstick baking pans or ovenproof, Pyrex glass pans, be sure to reduce the oven heat by 25 degrees F, but the recipe will not bake as well in these types of pans; it will result in crusty, dark edges.)
SARAH SAYS: Optionally, you can line each greased baking pan with a greased piece of parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl sift together the measured flour, baking soda and salt. Stir all the ingredients together. Set aside.

3. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, on low until softened. (If the butter is cold, it will warm quickly from the beaters - taking about 60 seconds).

4. Add the sugar in a steady stream at the side of the bowl.
Increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute until the butter is lighter in color and aerated.

5. Stop the mixer and scrape the side and bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula.

6. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time and beat for 20 seconds after each addition.
After the eggs have been added, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the mixture for 2 minutes. (If the eggs are cold, the batter will curdle slightly. It's ok. It will come together as the batter warms from the beaters. ) Set the kitchen timer to help you keep track of the time. The mixture will become fluffy and aerated.

7. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat on low until thoroughly combined

8. Add the flour mixture in two batches at the side of the bowl, with the mixer on low, scraping between each addition

9. Add bananas and beat on low until just combined. Do NOT overmix.

10. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

11. Bake the cakes for 50 - 60 minutes. If you insert a toothpick in the middle and remove, it should have a few moist crumbs attached, but not batter.

12. Take the cakes immediately from the oven to a wire cake rack and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Then unmold onto wire cake racks (set your timer to keep track of the time) - the cake is fragile when warm and will crack easily if you unmold it before the time is up.

13. Allow cake layers to cool completely before assembling.

1/2 sheet cake (13 x 18-inches); bake 45 minutes
24 cupcakes; bake 20 to 25 minutes

Store unfrosted layers, well wrapped, in refrigerator. Layers can be stored in the freezer for up to five days. Thaw in refrigerator.
Store filled and frosted cake according to the type used.

Replace 3 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour WITH:

2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour; spoon into dry measuring cup and level to top
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably natural; spoon into dry measuring cup and level to top
NOTE: I prefer to use Natural cocoa powder, but you can use Dutch-processed or alkalized

Step #2: In a large bowl sift together the measured flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

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