My littlest one just turned two which provided a needed excuse to bake a birthday cake. I was in a bit of a baking rut, my KitchenAid needed to be sent in for a repair and I’ve been relying on a hand mixer which can surprisingly conquer most baking needs in the kitchen. I didn’t quite have the energy or time for an explosion cake for this celebration so went back to my tried and true Best Ever Banana Cake. My mom started baking this recipe years ago, she quadrupled the recipe and served it in individual squares for our wedding rehearsal dinner and I tried it in two rounds for the first time for my oldest daughter’s first birthday. This recipe truly never fails. What I love about it is that it is best made ahead of time and stored directly (yes, right in the baking pans) in the freezer. This means you can bake it a day ahead or even weeks ahead, just make sure to wrap it well. This time around, I swapped out the traditional cream cheese frosting for a chocolate one. My impetus to do so was merely wanting a brown cake (went all in on a tractor themed party for my son) and made an easy buttercream chocolate frosting to mimic dirt. You can bake this in a 9×13 pyrex or two 9 inch rounds, the rounds always feel a little more celebratory to me but the cake tastes just as a delicious served out of one pan and cut into squares. Note, the rounds take a little bit longer to bake.
Best Ever Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups ripe banans, mashed
- 2 tsps lemon juice
- 3 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsps baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/8 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsps vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk Chocolate Frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup natural, unsweetened dutch-cocoa powder
- 3 tbs heavy cream or milk
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tsps vanilla
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
- Grease and line with parchment paper two 9 inch round pans (or one 9×13 pan)
- In a small bowl, mixed mashed banana with lemon juice and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter with 2 1/8 cups granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time then stir in 2 tsps vanilla.
- Beat in the flour mixture alternatively with the buttermilk, careful not to over mix. Add the mashed banana and combine.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, start checking the cakes at 60 mins.
- When cakes are done, let cool enough to handle, wrap tightly with tin foil and place directly in the freezer. For Frosting:
- With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 1 full minute. Add 1/4 cup more confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder if frosting is too thin or another tbs of cream if frosting is too thick. Taste and beat in another pinch of salt if desired. Notes on Assembling Cake: I suggest waiting until the day you plan to serve the cake to take the cakes out of the freezer and frost. The cakes will be easier to frost if frozen. To frost the rounds, simply stack the cakes with a thin layer of frosting spread evenly between the two layers. Continue to frost the two layers with the remaining frosting.