Banana Cake

Here is the recipe for one of the oldest family traditions that I can remember for birthday’s. This yummy banana cake was used for many birthday’s for various people in our family over many years. I just made it for my mother’s birthday, and had made it in Feb. for my father’s birthday. I made this cake when my MIL and SIL came to visit us when we lived in MD and had just had our daughter a few months before. She loved it so much that she took the recipe back with her to the West and made it for her parents who made it a habit to continue to request this cake whenever there were banana’s that needed to be used up. I should point out that this is a high compliment to a cake since my MIL is a phenomenal cake baker. I am more of a pie person, but her cakes are out of this world. I hate having long periods of time in-between visiting her because we miss her so much, and I miss being able to sit down with a slice of one of her cakes. She whips them up like it takes no effort to produce a fantastic cake. What can I say, she is one of my idols. I love this recipe because it looks delightfully rustic and that is what I do. I can make food taste delicious; looking delicious is a completely different story. My MIL likes to make this recipe into cupcakes and just use the basic buttercream on top. If you are doing the full cake you should definitely make the creamy nut filling; it’s delightful! This past time that I made it I had already mashed up 4 very ripe, ready to be thrown out, bananas and put them in the freezer a few weeks before. Then I was ready to go with the cake without having to plan out when the bananas we had were going to be brown enough. I love keeping mashed bananas in the freezer for those need-a-bag-of-mashed-bananas occasions! Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Banana Cake

2 C. all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 C. lard

1 1/2 C. sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 C. bananas, mashed 

1/2 C. buttermilk

1/2 C. chopped pecans

1 C. flaked coconut

  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Sift together first 4 ingredients, while beating the lard in an electric mixer. 
  • Add sugar to the lard, followed by the 2 eggs, one at a time. Pour in vanilla and bananas. 
  • On a low speed add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. 
  • Mix in the pecans. 
  • Prepare the cake pans by buttering the bottom and sides, putting a circle of wax paper at the bottom of each pan, buttering the wax paper, finished by lightly flouring the whole inside of the pan. 
  • After filling the 2 cake pans (9″) sprinkle 1/2 C. coconut on top of the cake batter.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Put aluminum foil over the cakes if they are getting too dark before the center is fully cooked. 
  • Cool out of pans on a rack. When fully cooled assemble the cake by placing the bottom layer coconut side down on your platter, fill the inside just shy of the edge with the creamy nut filling. Place the other cake coconut side up on top, and frost with the buttercream frosting, leaving an open hole of frosting in the center of the cake to show off that beautifully browned coconut. 

Creamy Nut Filling

1/2 C. sugar

2 Tbs. all purpose flour

1/2 C. heavy cream

2 Tbs. butter

1/2 C. pecans, chopped

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

  • Whisk together sugar, flour, cream, and butter in a pot. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly so it doesn’t burn onto the pan. When the mixture is thickened and has turned yellow-ish in color remove from heat. Mix in the pecans, salt and vanilla and let cool. This will go in-between the 2 cake layers.

Basic Buttercream Frosting

1/2 C. butter

4 C. powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Whipping cream to consistency

  • Beat the butter until creamy. Add in vanilla. Alternate the powdered sugar with whipping cream so that it does not lump too much. Put salt in whenever you want to. Sea salt is a nice alternative to table salt in frosting because you get these wonderful bites of salt that enhance the flavor of the sweet frosting. 

Cake recipe and nut filling barely adapted from the Farm Journal. I use my Mother-in-Law’s basic buttercream for this cake, instead of the frosting the Farm Journal calls for. I am not a fan of eating raw eggs, even if it is just the whites.