Hello and welcome! Just a couple days away from 2021; can you believe it?! I have been gravitating toward sweet recipes on Wednesdays because I like the idea of a little midweek sweet treat. This week is no exception. I have mentioned it here before, but Alex and I rarely eat sweets. However, I have been wanting to practice baking, because I am not very good at it! So today we have a Spiced Banana Cake with a Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. This cake has a very mellow sweetness and a light banana flavor. It kind of reminds me of a fancier way to have banana bread.
I have slightly adapted this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I added a couple more spices: nutmeg and allspice, to be exact. As I mentioned, this cake is not that sweet. So if you’re looking for a super sweet banana cake, this isn’t the recipe for you. But the brown butter cream cheese frosting adds a nutty, tangy, buttery sweetness without the whole cake becoming cloyingly sweet.
Like Banana Bread, you want to use ripe bananas. I would even say, that you should use very ripe bananas. My bananas basically had black peels, and had been in the freezer for about 3 weeks. When I defrosted them, I only had to squeeze them out of the skins; I barely had to mash them.
Spiced Banana Cake
To begin, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two 9″ cake tins and set aside. Mash the bananas and set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices and set aside. Using a handheld mixer, or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and the sugars until smooth. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom as needed.
Add the eggs and the vanilla and beat on medium-high until smooth. Add the mashed bananas and beat until combined. Switch the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three increments; alternating with the buttermilk each time. Mix to combine after each addition. Be careful not to over mix the batter. It’s ok if there are some lumps.
Divide between the two prepared tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. I definitely over baked my cakes. I went 30 minutes, but I should have only baked mine for about 23-25 minutes. Every oven is different, so I recommend starting with 20-23 minutes. Check for doneness by tapping the top center of the cakes, if they are set in the center, go ahead and poke with the cake tester and go from there; baking for only a few minutes at time before testing doneness again.
I don’t bake much and I am still getting the hang of my oven, but next time, I would bake these cakes on the upper middle shelf rather than the middle shelf…the tops are golden but the bottoms are a little dark. Let the cakes cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack. Since the cream cheese frosting is pretty soft, I’d let the cakes cool for at least 4 hours.
Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
Start with browning the butter. Cut the 1/2 cup butter into chunks and melt over medium heat. Stir it occasionally and once the milk solids begin to brown and the butter takes on a golden color, remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl. Let this solidify in the fridge (about 90 minutes).
Begin by beating the brown butter on high, in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held mixer, until creamy and light. Add the cream cheese and beat on high until smooth and creamy. Next, add the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and beat on low until the sugar is just incorporated. Then switch the mixer to high and beat until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
Place one cake, top side down on your cake plate and cover the flat side with a thick layer of frosting. Then place the second cake, top side down on top of the frosting. Then, use the remaining frosting to cover the top and the sides of the cake.
Spread the frosting outward from the center toward the sides. Let the frosting fall over the sides and use the offset spatula to spread the frosting around the cake sides.
Cover the top with chopped pecans or walnuts. We like fat chunks of pecan, but feel free to chop the nuts into whatever size you like. Let the cake chill in the fridge for at least half an hour before slicing.
While I did over-bake this cake, it is still really good. The bananas and the buttermilk ensure a moist cake. I think mine just lacked a more open crumb that would have been preserved had I not over-baked it.
Thank you all for joining me, as I continue my baking journey! Let me know if you give this Spiced Banana Cake a try and how it goes for you. I am also curious to know who of you prefer baking over cooking; or if you do much baking at all… Drop me a line in the comments, or on Instagram, facebook or Pinterest. If you want another treat that’s not too sweet, try my Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins. Thanks again everyone! Take care and be well, xo Kelly
Spiced Banana Cake
Warmed with allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg, this Banana Cake is moist, tender with a light banana flavor. Topped with brown butter cream cheese frosting – it's a step beyond banana bread.
- 3 large Very Ripe Bananas (1 and 1/2 cups mashed)
- 3 cups All-Purpose Flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 1 tsp. Ground Allspice
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar
- 3 large Eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1.5 cups Buttermilk, at room temperature
- Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
- 12 oz. Full-Fat Block Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 cups Confectioners’ Sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup if needed
- 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- Chopped Pecans
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two 9" cake pans, set aside.
Mash the bananas. Use the ripest bananas you can, the blacker the skin, the better. Set mashed bananas aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.
Add both sugars and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together.
Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
Add the eggs and the vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in the mashed bananas.
Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed.
With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients incrementally, alternating with the buttermilk, mixing each addition until just incorporated.
Do not over-mix. The batter will be slightly thick and a little lumpy.
Spread batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours.
The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
Slice the butter up into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.)
Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring occasionally. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning– you’ll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan and it will have a nutty aroma.
Once browned, remove from heat, and immediately pour into a heat-proof bowl. Refrigerate until solid.
In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy.
Add 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes.
If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar (I add it).
Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting.
Top with second cake layer and spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides.
Garnish with chopped pecans.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.