Ohhh my, my, my. I’ve really done it this time. I made something dangerously delicious. Like, sugar-coma-inducing, gain-10 lbs.-just-by-looking-at-it, I-need-an-intervention-because-I-can’t-stop-thinking-about-how-it’s-just-sitting-there-all-lonesome-in-the-kitchen delicious. I swear, it wasn’t my fault. It was my roommate’s fault. Every roommate gets a cake for their birthday. It’s a rule. This roommate wanted a banana cake, so I happily obliged. This wasn’t just any banana cake though. This was THE banana cake–everything you (and by you, I mean I…) could ever want in a cake and more. Moist, dense cake, pockets of caramely surprises, luscious chocolate frosting filling, just-sweet-enough cream cheese frosting on the outside, and most importantly, a proper cake-to-frosting ratio. This last bit, my friends, is key. I’m going to develop an exact formula for this ratio, and it will probably get me a Nobel Cake Prize. I know, that doesn’t exist…yet. I even piped a chocolate happy birthday message on top. Beat that.
This cake required a lot of thought. I wanted it to be super banana-y, but I didn’t want banana bread. It had to exhibit the qualities of a cake. I wanted chocolate to be incorporated, but not too much. The caramel was an after thought, but proved to be a very, very good choice. The cream cheese frosting had to be smooth and creamy and not too sugary, but also not too tart. If I do say so myself, I hit all of the nails right on the head.
I’m starting to feel embarrassed by all of this shameless bragging, so I’ll just give you the recipe and some nice pictures now.
Banana Split Cake
1/2 C. butter, softened
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 C. flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 C. milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3-4 very ripe bananas
Pockets of Caramel-y Surprises:
caramel dessert topping (the store bought stuff in the jar)
3 tbsp. butter, softened
3 tbsp. chocolate chips, melted
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 C. powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp. milk
1/2 stick butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1/4 C. chocolate chips for piping (optional)
flour with the salt and baking powder. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the butter mixture. In a blender, puree the crap out of some ripe-beyond-consumption bananas and add in the vanilla and baking soda. I ended up with just over 1 1/2 cups of banana puree. More couldn’t hurt though. Add this to the batter. Pour evenly into the two pans, and bake for 25-30 minutes, so they’re golden brown but not over cooked. No one likes dry cake. Let those cool a bit, take off the sides of the spring form, and let cool completely on wire racks.
Now you have to mutilate your poor little cakes. Take some kind of stabbing implement (I used a butter knife, but a chopstick would do nicely as well) and poke a bunch of holes in both cakes, like they’re voodoo dolls of your enemies. Heat up the caramel topping in the microwave for about 20 seconds, until it’s easy to drizzle. Pour a few hefty spoonfulls of caramel onto the cakes, making sure it fills all those holes.
Chocolate time. Beat your butter so it’s all creamy. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, about 30 seconds at a time, so they’re nice and glossy. Mix that in with the butter. At this point, you would also add the cocoa powder. I added it after the powdered sugar though, because I felt like it just wasn’t chocolatey enough. Regardless of the order, beat in the cocoa and sugar. Last, add a splash of milk–just enough for it to go from chocolate butter crumble to frosting. It doesn’t take much. Spread this generously over one of the cake layers. I used almost all of it. I was going to save the rest for the piping on top, but I accidentally ate it instead. Top with your second cake layer. If you wanted, you could really stop at this point. But who are we kidding? You clearly need way more frosting to get the ratio right.
Beat together the cream cheese and butter so it’s fluffy and smooth. Add the powdered sugar, splitting it into three additions so you don’t end up with a sugar storm. Beat this for a few minutes so it fluffs up a bit and is super velvety. Spread it all over the cake. Don’t cut any corners. Go big or go home. It’ll be pretty gloopy, so put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
After it chills and sets up, you can decorate if you want. Since I forgot to reserve chocolate frosting, I got crafty. I put about 1/4 cup of chocolate chips into a resealable sandwich bag. Make sure all of them go into one corner of it. Microwave for 30 second increments, smooshing it around with your hands in between to get it evenly melted, but being careful to keep it isolated to one corner of the bag. Now snip off a tiny corner, and pipe away. Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Happy Bat Mitzvah…shoot, do we really need an excuse to eat cake? How about Happy Bake A Cake Because You Felt Like It Day?
Chill again so the chocolate hardens up, but I definitely recommend letting it come down to room temperature before eating. It’s way better. And with that being said, let them eat cake!
This song is almost about banana cake…