But I love making cakes, which is why I made a banana cake for my friend Jason, despite carefully avoiding the tropical fruit for over two decades. How does the saying go? Make cake not hate. Oh, that’s not a saying? Well it is now!
Bananas have always been my off-limits, never going to like them, keep those smelly phone impostors away from me food. Please don’t mistake me for a picky eater. Any other food prepared even moderately well I will try, most likely enjoy, and eat far too much of. Bananas are the exception to the rule that I eat everything by the stomach full.
Jason is the perfect friend for a food blogger. He’s always requesting that I make him sweets, which is wonderful because 1) I make desserts that I would never have thought to make on my own, and 2) I have someone to give said sweets to so I don’t eat it all myself while rewatching season 4 of Mad Men.
Eventually, my worst fear became reality. Jason asked for a banana cake. I’d never bought bananas before, let alone bake with them*. But I am a professional, and I wasn’t going to let the bananas win!
Normally when I post a recipe, I tinker with measurements, ingredients, and methods, until I get a result I’m excited to share. This banana pudding cake was more about overcoming an irrational fear than proving my pastry prowess, so I looked to one of my favorite food bloggers, Christin at Spicy Southern Kitchen, to do the heavy lifting for me.
Like any good chef, I did try the cake… a lot. Although I haven’t converted to the banana loving side of life, this cake is moist and tender. The filling is the sophisticated older sister of the vanilla pudding cup you had as a kid. And the frosting, oh the frosting. I could definitely eat it by the stomach-full. It’s fluffy and spreadable, which makes it a dream to decorate with. Plus it’s sweet like whipped cream, but not stomachache inducing like most buttercreams.
I have to admit this cake is delightful, and if I liked bananas I would upgrade that delightful to an incredible. To quote Jason, whose opinion is far more valuable here, “This cake is the BEST!!!”. What better superlative is there than best?
So it’s a happy ending for everyone. You learned about the talented Christin at Spicy Southern Kitchen, Jason got “the best” cake, and I overcame my irrational hatred of bananas. I guess bananas aren’t so bad after all.
*Personal Admission #29: I did, however, use the dashboard of my mom’s car to bang open a banana on a road trip. Her snack, not mine. It was going as well as using a car dashboard to open a peeled fruit could, until a bit of banana mush got on my hand. It was game over and lots of hand sanitizer after that.
- 3 cups flour
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups mashed banana, about 4 bananas
- 1/2 box (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 box Nilla wafers
- 2 bananas, sliced thin
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 container (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, softened
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 8” cake pans* with nonstick spray. Coat lightly with flour. Tap out excess flour.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- Slowly pour in oil, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Scrape down bowl once homogenous and smooth.
- Add mashed bananas.
- Divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the layer comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes. Flip out to cool completely.
- Combine pudding mix and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until smooth.
- Slowly add cream and beat until thick.
- Level both cooled layers of cake. Cover the bottom layer with Nilla wafers. Spread filling evenly over wafers. Top with sliced bananas. Place the second layer of cake on top, pan side up.
- Beat butter until smooth.
- Gradually add powdered sugar on low speed. Beat until smooth.
- Add whipped topping. Mix until homogenous.
- Spread over stacked cake, and decorate to your heart’s content.
- *The original recipe calls for three 9” pans. I don’t have that many of that particular size pan, so I made two large 8” layers. If you decide to make this a three layer cake, double the filling.