Whenever I find myself clothes shopping, I wind up aimed towards the clothing that everyone refers to as “Basics.” I will (and often have) purchased the same v-neck tee in every color because to me, nothing could be better than only having to decide what color I want to wear. I only have a handful of pairs of shoes and wear the same low-top black Converse sneakers pretty much every day. Some would say that makes me boring, but I think I’ve found the direct path to happiness through simplicity.
I am exactly the same way about the food I choose to eat. When confronted with a pastry case full of cupcakes, my first choice will always be vanilla. If a bakery has a terrible vanilla cupcake, which is essentially the base for any other flavor of cupcake, then I don’t even need to bother with any other flavor. I’m not saying that a Death By Chocolate layer cakes deliciousness would be lost on me, I can always appreciate a fancy cake, but you would most certainly receive as enthusiastic a thank you for that as you would if you were to present me with a single slice of warm pound cake and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I am a simple man with simple tastes.Yes, I know I totally just referred to myself as a man, but that phrase just rolls out better the way it is. You all know what I meant right?
This cream cheese frosting filled banana layer cake is simplicity in its purest form. The cake is moist, light, and places the banana flavor on a pedestal right in the front of your tongue. The cream cheese frosting is just sweetened enough to provide the perfect creamy and slightly tangy accompaniment to this tender cake.
Perfect Banana Cake
Adapted from Baking Bites
2 1/4 cups (270 g) cake flour (not self-raising)*
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup (265 g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk
1 1/4 cup (3 medium) bananas, mashed
Preheat your oven to 350° F and grease 2-6″ pans**.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes.)
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; Add the vanilla extract and milk.
Mix half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture before adding in the mashed banana. Mix in the remaining flour mixture just until combined.
Divide batter between the two pans and bake for 45-50 minutes. The cakes are done when the cakes spring back after a light press and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let the cakes sit in their pans until they are cool enough to handle before letting them cool completely on a wire rack.
* If you do not have cake flour, you can substitute 2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour.
** The original recipe yields 18 standard cupcakes and can be baked in a single 8″ or 9″ round pan.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Allrecipes
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3-4 Tbsp light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp honey*
Cream the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract together. The mixture will look slightly dry.
Add honey and continue to beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy. Take care not to over beat the frosting or it will become runny.
* You can substitute Agave nectar or any other liquid sweetener if you like.
** This recipe made just enough to fill and top this 6″ cake, if you plan on making a larger cake or want to completely frost you can simply double the recipe.
I always start my layer cakes by levelling the tops to ensure the cake won’t resemble a certain leaning tower. Then, it’s just a matter of spreading a layer of frosting on top of your first cake and placing the second layer on top of that. Finish off with a final schmear of the frosting and you’re done!
I hope this cake brings a little bit of peaceful simplicity into your life.