Saturday, July 10, 2010

Moist & Creamy Banana Cake ala Sara Lee

When I was growing up, one of my favorite desserts was Sara Lee's banana cake.  I could eat the whole thing myself!  I've always loved cooking and baking and actually took a stint away from my profession (finance) to attend culinary school.  I worked for over a year as a pastry chef for an Italian restaurant in Ventura, CA.  It was a fun diversion, but alas, I decided to go back to high tech and finance...These days to fuel my creative side, I stamp and bake for fun.

I had some leftover cream cheese frosting in the fridge and bananas ripening on the counter, so I made banana cake for our Stamp 'n Chat on Thursday.  Here's the recipe which I think could give Sara Lee a run for her money.  I made my cake in a 9x13" pan and it took about 45 minutes to bake.  Insert a toothpick in the cake and if it comes out dry, the cake is done.

Moist and Creamy Banana Cake

1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 c sugar
3 large eggs
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1/2 c chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter two 8" cake pans and lightly dust with flour.

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, mashed bananas, and vanilla and mix.  In a separate bowl, blend the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately to the banana mixture.  Beat until smooth.  Add nuts if desired.

Bake 30 minutes or until cakes test done.  This is a dense and heavy cake.  Make sure it is thoroughly baked before removing from the oven.  Remove from the oven and allow it to cool on a baking rack before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 stick butter at room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla

Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Scrape the sides of the bowl often.  Add the 3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth.  Add the vanilla.  Chill in the refrigerator to set.

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