Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
This 2-layer banana cake is soft and moist with all the flavour of your favourite banana bread but with a lighter, cakey texture! Filled and topped with smooth and creamy, tangy-and-sweet cream cheese frosting, this easy and quick-to-make layered sponge cake is a real delight!
You may, or may not have noticed, but I'm pretty obsessed with banana when it comes to baking. Possibly because we always buy way more than we can possibly consume in my house so I'm always inundated with beautifully spotted bananas that I can use as a base for last-minute baking inspiration when I have the sudden urge, as I often do, to just bake an unplanned "something".
I love to bake all of my banana recipes, but quite honestly this is probably my favourite and my go-to recipe to use up my spotty bananas. It's so easy - I pretty much always have the ingredients in my cupboard - it looks impressive and most importantly it tastes fantastic! I've paired my cake with a basic and easy cream cheese frosting, but you can get creative with other frosting recipes too!
What You'll Need:
Spotty, Ripened Bananas - This cake uses 340g of ripened banana, thats a good 4 small bananas or 3 medium bananas for optimum bannary flavour! The spottier the banana, the better the flavour, so peal those speckled parcels of goodness that everyone's avoiding eating and mash'em up for this lovely cake!
Oil & Butter - We also use half butter and half flavourless oil in this recipe. Why? Well, I'm a big oil-based cake advocate. Oil creates a moister, lighter and taller crumb and also enables a cake to stay moist and soft for a longer period of time than all-butter cakes. But you cant beat the beautifully rich flavour of good old-fashioned butter or the lightness created by creaming the butter and sugar together, so this cake provides the best of both worlds.
Sugar - Caster (fine granulated) sugar is used in this recipe for sweetness and added moisture. You can also use golden caster sugar if you have some in your cupboard which will add a deeper, almost buttery flavour.
Eggs - 6 UK medium (large USA) eggs are used in this recipe to provide structure, help lift the batter, and provide richness in the cake.
Vanilla Extract - For added flavour. You can also add a tsp of cinnamon to the flour mixture for a warmer flavour!
Self-Raising Flour - In keeping with the simplicity of this cake, we use self-raising flour which already contains baking powder and salt. I like to use self raising flour with a lower protein content for my cakes, which helps produce a more tender crumb. Anywhere between 8-9.5% protein is best, but it's not the end of the world if you can only find 10-10.5%.
Baking Powder - Although we're already using self-raising, I like to add a tsp more baking powder to the batter to help give that extra lift to the sponge. Skipping this can lead to a slightly denser cake because there is so much moisture in the batter owing to the amount of banana used.
Two 7 Inch Cake Pans - If you do not have 7 inch cake pans, you can also use 8 inch pans, although your layers wont be quite so thick.
Use Baking Parchment - After greasing my pans with butter, I like to line both the bottom and sides of my baking pans with parchment. This will not only help the cake be released more smoothly, but as the cake has such a high sugar content from both the banana and added sugar, the parchment will also help avoid crusting or caramelisation on the sides of the cake.
Cake Pan Sizes - If using 8" tins instead of the 7", start testing your cakes' doneness about 45 minutes into baking, as your layers will be slightly thinner and will likely bake a little quicker.
Weigh your Batter - For equally-sized layers, use a weigh scale when pouring your batter into your pans, to ensure both pans of batter weigh the same before baking.
Storage - If you are not frosting your cake immediately, the layers can be wrapped tightly in clingfilm and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days. Avoid storing in the fridge unless the room temperature is very hot and humid. Layers can also be tightly wrapped and frozen.
Cream Cheese Frosting - Use block cream cheese rather than spreadable for a stiffer frosting. You can also add a couple of tsp of cornstarch to thicken the frosting if you want something more stiff and pipe-able. If you would like to fully cover your cake in the cream cheese frosting, double the measurements for the recipe. Note: Hot and humid weather conditions can cause the frosting to become unstable - as was the case when trying to take these photos in 35C heat!
Try out these recipes to help use up your spotty bananas!
Best Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Bake: 50-60 minutes
Serves: 10 medium slices
170g Unsalted softened butter
340g Caster sugar
6 medium eggs (Large in USA)
125g Flavourless oil
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
340g Self raising flour
1 tsp Baking powder
340g Over-ripe banana
Squeeze of lemon juice
85g softened butter
170g block cream cheese
375g icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
Nuts to decorate (optional)
Preheat oven to 160C (140C Fan) and grease and line 2 x 7 inch cake tins, covering the bottom and sides
Mash your banana in a small bowl and mix with a squeeze of lemon juice to stop browning
Make Batter: In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder and set aside. In a larger bowl, using an electric whisk or stand mixer, cream together softened butter and sugar on high speed for 2-3 minutes until pale and fluffy. On medium speed, add eggs one at a time, beating each egg into the batter until just incorporated before adding the next. Add the oil and vanilla and beat slowly until just combined. On a low speed, or using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour in three stages, until just incorporated. Do not over mix here; it's okay to still have some streaks of flour as these will be fully incorporated when adding the banana! Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the mashed banana until evenly distributed amongst the batter.
Bake: Pour the batter evenly between the 2 tins and run a knife or skewer through the batter to disperse any large air bubbles. Tap the tins lightly on the counter to bring any small bubbles to the surface. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the sides of the cake start to pull away from the edges of the tin and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from tins and allow to finish cooling completely to room temperature
Frosting: Beat together cream cheese and softened butter on high speed until fully incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and beat on a low speed until thick, smooth and creamy. Fill and frost your cake to your liking and use pecans/walnuts to decorate.