I've been amassing bananas lately and they've been ripening faster than I can eat them. Or else I deliberately don't eat them so I can have overripe bananas that I "have" to make into baked goods. I'm still on the hunt for a banana cake similar to my favorite from Icing on the Cake so I always optimistically try new recipes for it. So it should come as no surprise that, like a kid with a new toy, I went back to the same cookbook for my next banana cake experiment.
I'm not sure why she calls it a "gentle" banana cake and I should probably read the prologue before the recipe to find out. She does have some interesting names for some of the recipes. I like how this one turned out. It was cakey, had great banana flavor and was perfectly complemented by the cream cheese frosting. It's not quite as fluffy in texture as Icing on the Cake's banana cake but I feel like I'm getting darn close. It's also possible that I underbaked it just a trifle. If I had baked it a few minutes longer, it might've achieved a fluffier texture. I can't abide dry cakes so I'm paranoid about overbaking. Either way, this one was pretty good.
2 2/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon unsifted bleached cake flour
½ cup unsifted bleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ pound unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups coarsely mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large bananas)
2/3 cup plus 4 tablespoons buttermilk
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick or ¼ lb), cut into tablespoon-sized chunks
4 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar sifted with 1/8 teaspoon salt
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.
3. Cream the butter in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderate speed for 4 minutes. Add the sugar in 3 additions, beating for 1 minute after each portion is added. Beat in the whole eggs, one at a time. Blend in the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Blend in the mashed bananas. On low speed, alternately add the sifted mixture in 3 additions with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the sifted mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
4. Spoon and scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
5. Bake for 40 minutes or until risen, set and a wooden toothpick inserted about 2 inches from the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack.
6. Make the frosting: beat the cream cheese and butter in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderately low speed for 3 minutes or until very smooth but not lightened. Beat in half of the confectioners’ sugar-salt mixture and the vanilla extract. Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar-salt mixture in 2 additions, beating until incorporated. Beat on moderate speed for 1 minute, raise speed to high and beat for 2 minutes longer, or until quite creamy.