Updated: Nov 1, 2021
A dessert so ludicrous you'll go bananas over it!
September! What a fantastic month. It is the most common birthday month (mine included), officially marks the end of summer, and most importantly this September is the 1 year anniversary of Pinch of Patrick!
With so much to celebrate this month, I thought a cake recipe would be the perfect way to commemorate all that September has to offer. I am not big on sweets, so anytime I release a dessert recipe it has to pass a very high bar. I’ve had the idea for this cake for the last 3 years, but never got around to making it. This month felt like the perfect time to try it out. Something about the flavor combination of bananas, nuts, and coffee is mouth-wateringly tantalizing to me.
The cake itself is moist and lightly flavored with bananas, the frosting is decadent, but not overly sweet or rich and the walnuts add a beautiful crunch to top the whole thing off. My personal opinion is that two tiered cakes that look imperfect are the prettiest. All I ask is that you don't spend hours trying to smooth out the frosting perfectly - messy is better!
20 Min Prep
1 Hour 10 Min Cook
1 cup chopped walnuts
Optional: ½ banana cut into slices
4 ripe bananas
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 tablespoons softened butter
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup white sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 cups softened unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream
5 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
Optional: 1 tablespoon kahlua, coffee, or espresso
1.Toast your walnuts in an empty pan on medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes until golden. Stir constantly to avoid burning. Once toasted, take walnuts off the heat and set aside to cool.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line and grease 2 nine inch cake pans with parchment paper and either butter, oil, or non-stick spray.
2. In a large bowl, mash your bananas until almost smooth (it's okay if there are small lumps). Then add the buttermilk, vanilla, eggs, and softened butter. Whisk together until fully combined.
3. In a separate larger bowl, whisk or sift together your flour, salt, baking soda, white sugar, and brown sugar.
4. Pour your wet ingredients into your dry and mix to combine. Once homogenous, equally divide the batter into the 2 cake pans.
5. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until you can poke a toothpick in the center of the cake and it comes out without any wet batter. You can make the icing while the cakes are baking.
In a large mixing bowl beat together your softened butter and heavy cream. Once whipped, add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Once the first cup is well incorporated you can add the next cup. Lastly, add in your instant coffee powder and either kahlua, coffee, or espresso.
1. Once cooked, remove the cakes from the pans and let them fully cool down before icing.
2. When icing, I recommend using a ¼ of the icing in between the bottom and top layer. The rest of the icing should be used for the exterior of the cake. Top your finished cake with the toasted walnuts and banana slices.
Baking the Cakes: If you don't have 2 nine inch cake pans - because most people don’t - you can bake the batter in two batches. Cooking a single cake will take closer to 40 minutes.
Cooling the Cakes: When making a cake with 2 layers many recipes will tell you to cut the top off the bottom cake to make it as flat as possible to stack the second cake on top of it. I have found that if you remove the cake and rest it on its top, it will flatten and become stable when the cakes are stacked.
Buttercream Icing: Given the base of buttercream icing is butter, it tends to be pretty sensitive to changes in temperature. If it's too hot it will start to melt. If it's too cold it will be hard to spread on the cake. I made my frosting on a particularly warm day so it was a little too liquidy to work with. I popped it in the fridge to stiffen and it came out perfect. Just find the right balance for what works in your kitchen.
Sliced Banana Topping: Bananas have a tendency to oxidize and brown pretty quickly once cut. I recommend decorating the cake with bananas right before serving to combat the browning.
Parchment Paper Hack: This baking hack is a life saver when it comes to frosting. When you cut a circle out of the parchment paper for the cakes you can use what is left to help decorate your cake. Lay the parchment with the hole cut out on the cake tray and stack your cakes on top. When you ice your cake the parchment will prevent the icing from getting all over your tray. When you are done you can tear the parchment off and you're left with a beautiful icing free cake platter.