Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Banana Layer Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

Picture from Food and Wine website (which is acting screwy right now, so I'm copying the recipe here instead of linking to it.)

It was Kevin's birthday on Monday, so today I baked him a cake. I would have had it ready by Monday except the bananas weren't ripe until yesterday, and then I forgot all my butter was in the freezer, and I would have been awake until 3am baking this thing, which I am too old (but not as old as Kevin, ha ha!) to do...

The cake part? Absolutely delicious. The frosting? Blech. Seriously, do yourself a favor and make this cake, but use cream cheese frosting instead. The sweetness of the bananas and the cake (I might actually cut down the sugar to half a cup the next time I make this) really need the tang that only cream cheese can provide. We ended up scraping off the top layer of frosting and eating our slices with a side of peanut butter, which was heavenly.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (1 1/2 large), plus 2 large bananas, thinly sliced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
3 large egg whites


1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line it with parchment paper; butter the parchment paper. Dust the pan all over with flour, tapping out any excess. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Add the mashed bananas and beat the mixture until smooth. Add half of the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until the batter is moistened. Beat in half of the buttermilk, then add the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining buttermilk.
3. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until firm peaks form. Beat one-fourth of the egg whites into the batter at low speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the rest of the whites until no streaks remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, until the top is golden and springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; the top will be very slightly cracked. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.
4. Using a large serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into 3 layers. Place the top layer, cut side up on a cake plate and spread with frosting. Arrange half of the bananas in a single layer on the frosting. Top with the middle cake layer. Cover the layer with more frosting and top with the remaining bananas. Cover with the bottom cake layer, cut side down, and frost the top. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before serving. (We skipped that part!)

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