My momma is a pro at making cakes. I, on the other hand, have never been that good. My mom’s cakes always rise beautifully, are cooked perfectly and taste delicious. Granted, sometimes my mom gets a little help from Betty Crocker, but I know for a fact that the woman can make a mean chocolate cake from scratch.
My cakes, more often than not, are less than ideal. The edges get done before the middle, they’re gummy, or, my personal favorite, they get stuck in the pan. I still eat them (umm, hello? It’s cake.), and I’ve even figured out a way to make them passable for others.
See, I’ve figured out an easy fix for a cake that’s a bit sunken in the middle. A generous layer of frosting along the entire cake to make it level! It disguises the small crater and is an excellent excuse to use extra frosting. Not that I’ve ever needed an excuse for that.
Would leveling the top off to the sunken part work too? Probably. But there’s no extra frosting involved in that. Go ahead, judge away.
I did the exact same thing when I made this cake the first time. I used a springform pan for all the batter because I had yet to get 9-inch round cake pans. That one sure backfired. While the cake was delicious it was so sunken in the middle that there was easily an inch of height difference between the edge of the cake and the middle. That made for a lot of frosting. My recipe testers didn’t complain, but I knew I could do better.
And so this is better. This is a Browned Butter Banana Layer Cake. With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s by no means perfect, but it doesn’t need to be. A moist (hate.that.word.eww) cake that’s a bit caramelly from a healthy dose of browned butter. It’s the heft of a good piece of banana bread that’s then smeared with a tangy and warm cream cheese frosting. Game changer. Game over.
Browned Butter Banana Layer Cake
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, browned and cooled
2 cups dark brown sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 – 4)
1 recipe Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper, butter paper as well.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in vanilla. Add dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the sour cream, mixing thoroughly to combine. Gently stir in bananas.
Divide batter among pans and bake in preheated oven 30 – 35 minutes, or until cake just begins to pull away from the edge of the pan and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool cakes on wire rack for 30 minutes before turning out and allowing to cool completely.
To frost: Level the top of one cake with a serated knife and spread with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. Top with other cake layer. Coat entire cake in a light layer of frosting (this is what’s commonly known as a “crumb coat”), and put in fridge for 15 minutes to firm up. When cake has set, frost generously with remaining frosting.
Serve immediately or store cake lightly covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
1 8-oz. block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
large pinch salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 – 4 TBSP milk or heavy cream
Cream together butter and cream cheese until light. Add vanilla, powdered sugar, salt, and cinnamon and slowly begin to mix. Add in milk, one tablespoon at a time, until frosting is thick and creamy.
Leftover frosting can be stored in fridge for up to one week.
Wait…can I play this game again?