When I was married many years ago my two grandmothers gave me copies of two of the most popular cookbooks of that time, McCall’s Cook Book and Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, both published in 1963. Many years later these are still two of my favorite books. The recipes are down to earth and not cluttered with hard to find ingredients that I have to drive all over town to buy. In these books my grandmothers and my mother found many of the recipes they prepared for everyday meals. Pages in both books have started to fall out and the most used pages are stained and have started to darken around the edges. Ha…that makes me sound ancient, doesn’t it? Considering the fact that these books are almost 50 years old I guess I am ancient.
This simple banana cake is one of the best I’ve ever tried. Everything goes into one mixing bowl and the cake is light, delicate, and tender with a wonderful banana flavor. My dad liked it frosted with whipped cream, sliced bananas and a sprinkle of finely chopped walnuts on the top, but this time a simple cream cheese frosting sounded better to me. As you can see, I was a little heavy handed with the frosting. My mom liked to frost just the tops of the layers so that’s the way I do it. Spread thinner the amount of frosting will frost the sides as well. The layers freeze nicely so you can stick one in the freezer for another day if a big cake is too much.
An easy trick to make sure your layers are the same size is to weigh the filled cake pans on a digital scale. It takes only a minute and the guessing is eliminated. I don’t know how I would get along without my little scale. I use it almost every day… a must have kitchen tool.
- 2-1/4 cups sifted cake flour
- 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- ½ cup shortening
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 or 3)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease well and flour two 8 inch layer cake pans or a 9x13 inch baking pan.
- Into the large bowl of an electric mixer sift flour with baking powder, soda, salt and sugar.
- Add shortening, bananas and vanilla. At low speed beat just until combined.
- At medium speed beat 2 minutes, occasionally scraping side of bowl with rubber scraper.
- Add eggs and buttermilk, beat 2 minutes longer.
- Pour batter into prepared pans and bake layers 30-35 minutes, oblong pan 40-45 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip.
- Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Fill with sweetened whipped cream and sliced bananas or with cream cheese frosting.
- CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
- Beat cream cheese with butter and vanilla until well combined. Gradually add powdered sugar until you reach the consistency and sweetness that suits your taste.
A NOTE ABOUT MY PANIC WHEN MY BLOG DISAPPEARED… One of the big problems involved in working with my blog is that I don’t know what to do when something bad happens. I don’t know how to troubleshoot and many of the help sites are written in a jargon I don’t understand. It is slowly getting better and I learn a lot when there is a malfunction. The best source of help has been my blogger friends who quickly respond to my SOS email. A huge thanks to everyone who sent me advice. You saved my sanity. If you are thinking of moving to self-hosted WordPress and are computer illiterate like I am just expect that there will be a steep learning curve, but you can do it. And you will be so glad you did.